Hello! Toda here. It’s time to introduce you to another familiar face at FLOW Aquatics: Lauren Nakamura!
Lauren knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher. Today, she is doing just that—as both an instructor here at the swim school, and she also works part-time at Sage International School, helping out on field trips and other activities.
Lauren recently stepped into more of a management role here at FLOW and has quickly become an invaluable asset to our team. She is not only an amazing think-outside-the-box coach, we also consider her our resident craft expert. We can always count on her to put a unique, handmade twist on the holidays or special events. Earlier this year, she brainstormed a Valentine’s day guessing game for the kids along with gift bags filled with goldfish, and made scuba eggs for Easter (pictured below). Aren’t they cute?!
Read on to learn more about Lauren.
What is your background in swimming? And what was the swim culture like when you were a child and/or where you grew up?
I was born and raised in Southern California. I grew up around pools and the ocean so learning to swim was not an option for me or my brother. I started learning how to swim when I was a child and as I got older I joined a club swim team and then swam for my high school.
How did you feel about the water when you were a child?
I loved the water!
What did you learn from your experience with the Junior Olympics swim team? How did it help you to be a better swim instructor?
Being on a swim team has helped me understand my competitive side. When I was younger, I used to take swim lessons just for fun until one day my swim coach talked to me about joining a swim team. The next year I did, and loved it. I then started to swim competitively year round. In swim team I was able to refine my strokes further and get to see a different side of swimming other than just swim lessons. And I was actually pretty good at it.
What do you love most about teaching? swimming? teaching swimming?
I love teaching because you can see children grow and develop into better and more confident swimmers. When I have a child who is scared of the water and I eventually get them to trust me and love the water, it is something that I had a part in. Teaching is a challenge, but that is what I love about it. No child is ever the same!
What is your number one recommended swim safety tip?
Just because you put a flotation device on your child, that doesn’t mean you can take your eyes off of them when you are at a pool. Things can still happen.
Tell us more about your experience teaching, whether swim classes or elsewhere.
I started teaching swim lessons in 2005 at my local YMCA. I taught everything from baby classes to adult classes and private lessons for three years. Then I went to teach at another facility for four more years before I ended up at FLOW.
You’ve been teaching at FLOW Aquatics for three years (since 2012). How have you see things change at the swim school over the years?
[During my time here, we] moved from two locations to one new location. We have also recently revamped the diaper dolphin program and the swim school program.
If you could take a swim vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands, etc. Anyplace that has the ocean and beaches to relax. Who wouldn’t want to go to these places!?! Thinking about this makes me miss home, too. I miss going to the beach whenever I wanted to and running in the sand every morning.
When you’re not teaching or working at FLOW, what do you like to do to unwind?
Besides pouring myself a glass of wine (well, let’s be honest—maybe it’s more like a few glasses), I like to go hiking—which is probably about the most outdoorsy as I get, work on 1000-piece puzzles, catch up on some shows, and bake every once in a while.