Learn-To-Swim cancelled, replaced by SwimAmerica

Maggie Baumstark, co-news editor

After 57 years of service, Glenbrook South Learn-to-Swim has been discontinued and replaced with a new swim lesson program, SwimAmerica, due to the retirement of Co-Director Jody Nolan according to Athletic Director Steve Rockrohr.

Learn-to-Swim, founded in 1962 by former South swim coach Bill Stetson, taught local children ages 4 to 14 the basics of swimming in a tight-knit community atmosphere, Rockrohr said. Learn-to-Swim was eventually taken over by Stetson’s daughter, Jody Nolan, who co-directed the program alongside Jodi Compton. The program was discontinued this year after Nolan decided to step away, Rockrohr said.

“[Stetson] ran the program for a long time and eventually his daughter, Jody Nolan, took it over,” Rockrohr said. “They were Glenview community people…and ran [the program] for a long time. It was a really great program”

Junior Katie Durow, a guard for Learn-to-Swim, believes that the program was an integral part of the community both inside and outside of South. Senior Julianne Crawford, also a guard for Learn-to-Swim, holds the same sentiment and noted the importance of the relationships between parents, swimmers and guards present in the Learn-to-Swim community.

“There are a lot of us at Glenbrook South who have found a family in this activity,” Durow said. “It [was] really fun and we [got] to spend a lot of time with each other.”

The program has been replaced by a nationwide, privatized program called SwimAmerica, according to Rockrohr. While SwimAmerica offers the same services that Learn-to-Swim did, Rockrohr said that there are some key differences between the programs, the most prominent being that the student guards for SwimAmerica are paid workers, not volunteers. He also noted the difference in community, Learn-to-Swim was much more Glenview-centric than SwimAmerica.

“Some people like SwimAmerica better, a lot of people like Learn-to-Swim better,” Rockrohr said. “They’re both doing the same thing; they’re just doing it differently.”

Both Durow and Crawford are uncertain about SwimAmerica due to the lesser community-centric connections it will bring compared to Learn-to-Swim. Durow shared her concerns about the strict commitment that comes with being a paid worker compared to the flexibility of being a volunteer. Although there is a difference in the atmosphere created by SwimAmerica, Crawford is optimistic that it will achieve the same objectives Learn-to-Swim set out to accomplish.

“I don’t know if SwimAmerica will have the same impact, especially because [the student guards] had such a close relationship with [the directors],” Crawford said. “I think it will definitely be a lot different, but I also think that it will accomplish the same initial goals that Learn-to-Swim had.”