Carolanne Caron discovered her love of swimming very early on – at the tender age of one. As far as her mother was concerned, there was never a question (or a choice) that she and her brothers would learn to swim. When she asked her mother why, Carolanne found out that mom didn’t know how to swim and could not help her and her brothers if they got into trouble in the water.
Over the next several years, Carolanne went through each swim level and set goals to get to the next deeper level of the pool until she finally completed lessons and was trained in water safety. She became a lifeguard, at the age of 15, at the local pool where she learned to swim and spent many happy summers there. The pool was an escape and a safe place for Carolanne so she thought being a lifeguard would give her the opportunity to continue her love of being in the water and help others feel safe in the water. She quickly learned how hard being a lifeguard actually was because soon after being certified, Carolanne had to make her first rescue.
Here’s what happened in her own words:
“It was a normal swimming day: not too busy, beautifully sunny outside, and everyone was having fun. All of a sudden, while scanning the water, I noticed a swimmer in the middle of the deep end who was struggling and not able to make forward movement. At that time, I was sitting in the tall lifeguard chair, the one spot I dreaded due to the height of the station. Well, “blow the whistle and jump in” was the training voice that took over and so I jumped into the water. As I swam to the little boy, I saw the look of fear and panic on his face. Once I made the rescue, I could see the look of relief on his face and feel his body relax. That was the day I decided my life’s purpose was to help people be safer around the water.”
Fast forward to high school where most of Carolanne’s friends were boys who were on the swim team. Wanting to be around her friends, she decided to sign up to manage the high school men’s swim team in addition to swimming and diving for the women’s team. That was so much fun, and Carolanne could really tell that her great mentor and swim coach was making a difference in his swimmers lives. So, by the time she met with her guidance counselor and was asked “What do you want to do after high school?” she said being a swim coach was the right choice for her. After the counselor stopped laughing, Carolanne was told to pick a real career. Well, the next best choice for her was to become an accountant since she was organized, liked working with numbers, and was doing well in her accounting class; but Carolanne secretly harbored the dream of someday being a swim coach.
After college graduation, several successful accounting positions, and several not-so-successful businesses, Carolanne eventually decided to pursue her dream career of becoming a swim coach. After obtaining several certifications in the industry and doing a lot of research, she finally opened Winning Swimming.
At first Carolanne, finally known as Coach Caron, spent a lot of time speaking to local preschools and childcare facilities to help children learn to be safer around the water but she became frustrated that the message wasn’t sinking in - literally! So, Coach Caron wrote Water Safety with Swimmy which teaches 10 important rules everyone should follow when they are around the water in a rhyme that could be sung to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. These rules were now fun for children to learn and were more memorable. In fact, several parents have told Coach Caron that their children won’t let their friends get in the pool if they’re not following “Swimmy’s” rules. Coach Caron went on to create a coloring book, Swimmy’s Water Safety Coloring Book, and a Water Safety Activity Kit to reach children with different learning styles.
Coach Caron collaborates with other people and organizations who are promoting water safety to try to get industry standard water safety rules taught across the world in addition to teaching in her own community. She also has many more ideas for Swimmy books which may be introduced in the future.
Her mission is clear and simple: to do all she can to ensure that children and adults are as safe as possible when they’re near the water. There are far too many drownings due to poor training and information, and the good news is that so much heartache can be avoided while people follow Swimmy’s rules and “soak up” the joys of swimming!
Water Safety with Swimmy is a fun book, written by Coach Caron, about Swimmy and his 5 friends and teaches 10 very important Water Safety Rules as well as giving a summary of the rules at the end. Please read this book with your children and discuss the rules each time you visit a pool, lake, ocean, or have any swimming experience. For older children, the book can be memorized by singing the rhyme to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.
Our own Coach Caron appeared as a special guest on Gate City Chronicles! She spoke about her books “Water Safety with Swimmy” and “Swimmy’s Water Safety Coloring Book” as well as how to be safer around the water. Watch the August 2016 interview here.
Water Safety with Swimmy