I have 2 girls that have been in Ms Carolyn’s swim program. Sara started when she was 3 and Cari when she was less than a year old. What a wonderful program! My oldest daughter started swim team when she was 7 and has been the high point winner in Williamson County her first year and the high point runner up for Western Tennessee. Her technique is flawless and she is beautiful to watch. She truly looks like an Olympian. All those years that I had to live at Ms Carolyn’s pool has paid off. My youngest daughter has started swim team. She is only 5 but her technique is amazing when looking at children a few years older than her.
I was one of the lucky parents because my children never hated to be in the water and they didn’t cry when we pulled into the driveway. I know it is hard to have your children cry but I can assure you that Ms Carolyn and her staff are phenomenal in the way they handle all the children. Many times they use tough love. Lots of hugs and kisses, and some stern looks when they feel it is needed. My youngest was stubborn and I could see that she wasn’t going to let Ms Carolyn “win”. It took an entire summer to get Cari to roll over to her back. I guess they both “won” but it took the entire summer.
ALL of the children I have watched graduate from the program are beautiful swimmers. They are poetry in water. Not only do the children learn how to swim but they also learn about unconditional love and compassion. Ms Carolyn and her staff are the best. I wouldn’t entrust my children to anyone else. We love you Ms Carolyn!
Eli, Sara and Cari Staats
My wife and I have been taking our children to Ms Carolyn’s swim class for several years now. We have had two kids graduate with flying colors, and we are planning on continuing in her class until our toddler graduates in a few years. Amy and I have six children, and we have the whole span of personalities.
Our second son has a strong, stubborn will, and when he was younger, he made it his practice to refuse to even put his head under water. Now, however, after a couple of summer sessions with Ms Carolyn and her wonderful teaching staff, he has the most beautiful swimming strokes of any of our children. Our oldest child now holds a pool record at Sequoia in the breast stroke, and our second child placed fourth runner up overall in the city swim meet last year.
Being an excellent swimmer is a terrific confidence builder in a child, and my wife and I certainly owe a lot to Ms Carolyn and her staff for the wonderful job they have done with our children. The results speak for themselves in our family.
Don Brothers, M.D.
As parents of four, we are well acquainted with the program at Sweetman’s Swimming, and highly recommend it. We began with the Sweetmans several years ago when we lived in Nashville. Our older daughter was three-and-a-half, and our older son was two. Alexandra and James had spent a lot of time in the water, but neither could actually swim. James was born with a severe seizure disorder and a host of neurological problems which resulted in developmental delays. At the time, he was unable to sit up or hold a bottle. He had been in aggressive therapy since infancy to combat these issues. The Sweetmans were not intimidated by James’ special needs, and made no assumptions about what he could or could not do. They gave him the help and attention he needed.
We knew James needed a lot of help, but we thought things would be easy with Alexandra. We were convinced we were really giving our healthy, vivacious, almost-four-year-old a “head start” with swimming lessons at such an early age. We were so wrong! James clearly loved being in the water and working with the Sweetmans, but Alexandra was terrified! She cried, begged and pleaded with us to let her quit her lessons. However, we knew the Sweetmans’ no-nonsense approach worked, and were completely committed to completing the program. We will never forget that summer; it was just awful! Our normally rational, well-behaved daughter had daily public emotional meltdowns that were (for us) embarrassing and infuriating. On the “good days”, she stalled, cried and tried to talk her way out of learning to swim and jump off the diving board. We finished the week’s worth of lessons for both children, and signed them up for two more sessions that summer.
This was not an overnight success story. James’ neurological challenges and extremely low muscle tone made it difficult for him to do anything, but he was learning! Alexandra’s stubbornness and near-phobia made the whole thing miserable for us all; the next year, she started begging shortly after Christmas to please, please, PLEASE not make her go to swimming in the summer. She really liked the Sweetmans, but she hated her swimming lessons. She finally resigned herself to the fact that we would make her go until she graduated from the program, no matter how long it took. Eventually, she learned to swim- not dog paddle or goof around in the water-but actually swim well. Then she began to learn all the strokes – the proper way.
During all this, we had our third child, Ava, whose first lessons began at 16 months. We had learned the hard way that the younger children are when they begin lessons, the better. Yes, she cried the first summer. The next year she cried, too, but for different reasons – she couldn’t wait to take her turn in the pool! She is almost three and absolutely loves to go to swimming lessons. Our fourth child William was born in June 2004, and he will have his first lessons this summer. We will continue with their lessons until they complete the program. The Sweetmans do not allow children to “graduate” from their program until certain strict criteria are met. The families who commit themselves know this, so a graduation certificate from the Sweetmans really means something to those who earn it.
Regarding our family, James has made tremendous developmental progress and is comfortable in the water. He has not (yet) learned to walk, but he is thrilled when he goes off the diving board! Alexandra is a confident swimmer and has graduated from the program, and is extremely proud of herself for doing so. We believe children gain confidence from legitimate achievement born of effort and persistence, even when, maybe especially, if they have to struggle. For Alexandra, graduation from this program has meant more than just learning how to be a strong swimmer, even though that in itself would have been enough. She is confident, and has learned principles of success that will help her throughout her life. We will never be able to adequately express our gratitude for what they have done for our children.
There are other programs where the children are allowed to play in the water, wear flotation devices, or avoid getting their heads wet if they don’t feel like it. These programs will NOT teach our children how to save their own lives if they fall into a pool or out of a boat. Sweetman’s Swimming WILL.
Amelia and Randy Bozeman, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Within my first month of practice as a Pediatrician I had the somber experience of going to the visitation of a little girl who drowned in a family friend’s pool. It was so sad and was a harsh reminder of how precious our children are. I am so pleased that my 3 children, ages 4 (X2!) and 1 are working with Ms Carolyn and the Bubbles ‘n Roll crew. I believe so much in her program of equipping the children, even at a VERY young age, to handle themselves in the water and learn how to at least get to the side of the pool or come to the surface and rest. This lack of panic and thrashing, if they ever fell in, could be the very thing that keeps them safe and alive!
We always have to keep a close eye on our kids around water, but knowing that they are working on swimming skills and learning to be safe without water wings or floaties is such a comfort to our family. On top of respect for and skill in the water, Bubbles ‘n Roll also teaches our children the important lessons of taking turns, listening to teachers, respect, and working with others. I look forward to seeing what my kids will learn this summer and encourage you to do the same!
Sara Patterson, M.D. Goodlettsville Pediatrics, Bubbles ‘n Roll Mom
Ms. Carolyn is one of my heroes. She taught me things about “tough love” and how it works and I continue to use it on a 15 year old. I had a relatively easy time with Drew because he started so young but I heard all she said to others and it sunk in. I learned quickly that I am the parent and his turn will come to be the boss. Many of the things he hears me say even today come from things I heard Carolyn say. There is not a better program anywhere. I recommend this program a lot but only to those who I know it will benefit and who can accept Carolyn’s “tough love.” Drew started at 8 months, when I was there watching a relative. Ms. Carolyn took him away from me and put him in the water. Any mother’s first reaction would be “what are you doing with my baby?” He did great and she gave him a few lessons that summer. He took through the winters and summers and was ready to graduate by 5 but Ms.Carolyn wanted him back for one more year; she did not feel a 5 year old could really understand the water safety issues
Over the years I encountered numerous parents of older children asking me if my pediatrician knew I was doing this and other stupid questions due to him being so young. Even starting that young, and attending frequently, he hit a stage around 2 – 2/12 when he was not always happy to be there. Carolyn had prepared me that this would probably happen. While always cautious, I still felt like he could take care of himself at least for a short period of time if he fell in the water. I can remember times when he was about 3 and we were in FL and he ran and jumped in the pool and one lady started screaming and a man jumped in after him and I just sat there and said “he is fine, he knows how to swim.” He proceeded to swim over to the side of the pool. At 3 the strokes were not the prettiest but he could swim. People were amazed. He never in his life has had water wings or any type of life preserver in a swimming pool. To this day he absolutely adores Ms Carolyn and Mr. Gareth and his other teachers.
The most important thing he learned, and to this day remembers as he is nearing that age, is that you don’t ever go swimming alone no matter how good of a swimmer you are. He remembers her speech she gives at graduation about boating and drinking and that she doesn’t want to ever hear of one of her swimmers drowning. She makes a very positive impression.
Bubbles and Roll is exactly what we were looking for in a swim class. We grew up in Florida and learned to swim before we walked. So, when we had our first child, we looked for classes that would teach the same. We tried a few and were so frustrated with their lack of instruction. So, we searched high and low until we found Ms. Carolyn’s class 8 years ago. Now, all 3 of our children can swim, learned at incredibly early ages and we were thrilled! The best part was having complete strangers watch in amazement as our young children swam, jumped off diving boards and we (the parents) were confidently sitting by the pool enjoying the fruits of Ms. Carolyn’s labor. Thank you Ms. Carolyn!
Nate and Nancy Schott
I have 2 children. I was pregnant with the 2nd child when my first child enrolled in Ms. Carolyn’s class. He was determined to do things his way! Her persistence (and the rest of the staff) paid off! They were firm with him when he needed them to be firm, and when he made progress they let him know he had done a good job.
One day at a pool party…(he was 4) he about got run over by some big kids on a raft and he very calmly swam under it! That was his big turning point. He credited the program for keeping him from drowning and then he worked really hard in class and before we knew it he had graduated!
The second child started at a very young age and Ms. Carolyn gave me some tips for how to get her used to the water while bathing her. She came through the program much faster and more easily (ok, they may not agree with that!) because she started at a much younger age. So… I highly recommend and I do recommend the Bubbles and Roll program. If you trust Ms. Carolyn and the rest of the staff… don’t question their method. They have a very regimented progression of drills for the young swimmer and it works! Now my kids enjoy swimming in the ocean! It is because of this program!