While swimming is second nature to many who live on the East End, not everyone has the opportunity to learn (especially those who live in cities). Enter Sylvie Goldner. After several of her classmates admitted that they didn’t know to swim, she created First Strokes, a non-profit dedicated to providing free swim lessons to high school students. We recently chatted with Silvie about starting First Strokes, the benefits of swimming, and if she prefers beaches or pools.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background? For how long have you been swimming?
I was born in New York City and have lived there for my entire life. I have always loved the water; I learned to swim when I was three years old and have been a competitive swimmer for the past six years.
What inspired you to start “First Strokes”?
I attend Bard High School Early College, a public high school on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. Last March, a few of my classmates who knew I was a competitive swimmer shared with me that they had never learned to swim. I was shocked that my sport and passion, which has brought me so much joy, was not available to all kids my age. I knew I had to help, as swim lessons are expensive and many people do not have access to pools, making it difficult to learn this important life and safety skill. So I created First Strokes to teach high school students who never had the opportunity to learn to swim for free.
First Strokes is for older kids, but we’ve heard you’re offering a program for younger swimmers in the Hamptons this summer. What can kids expect to learn during the program?
This summer, I am available to teach private swim lessons to children of all ages. But we are also looking to find pool space so we can continue to offer free swim lessons through First Strokes on Long Island! And we will expand our First Strokes program to include younger children.
What are some of the benefits of learning to swim and swimming in general?
There are numerous benefits of learning how to swim: it is a lifesaving skill, a great way to maintain healthy fitness, and it is a fun activity that can be done with friends! There is nothing better than jumping into a pool on a hot summer day and playing games.
Pool, lake, or ocean?
All of our lessons are taught in the pool, but the skills learned through the program can be used in any body of water! I personally love to swim in the ocean!
Interested in private swim lessons for your little ones this summer? E-mail Bubblesandbeyondhamptons@gmail.com for more information.