YMCA welcomes new aquatics, wellness director

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Young Isabella Lisa grabs a big gulp of air as a submerged instructor Kathryn Stephenson works with her in the Y pool.

Teaching a skill simply gives Kathryn Stephenson a thrill. In this case, it’s putting young Isabella Lisa through some new moves in the YMCA of South Florida (Marco Y) pool and being genuinely excited about each breakthrough.

And, throughout her career, doing the same for hundreds of people both young and old.

“I’ve always wanted to share the love of swimming,” says Stephenson, who is the new aquatics and wellness director at the Y. “My favorite thing is when a child or an adult masters a new skill. It puts a smile on my face.”

Stephenson brings many years’ experience to the YMCA of South Florida (Marco Y).

Stephenson brings with her two decades of exactly the same experience at an Atlantic Coast Athletic Club in Virginia.

“I gave swim lessons, coached, did lifeguard and CPR training,” says Stephenson, who was naturally a water baby herself as a young child.

“We lived in Connecticut at the time (off Long Island Sound), and at 18 months my mother couldn’t keep me out of the water,” she says. “Later, I went one summer from basically a non-swimmer to a proficient swimmer, joining the swim team from 7 through 18.”

The natural progression was eventually to train and coach others.

Teaching an adult to swim for the first time is especially rewarding for Stephenson.

“It’s a life-changing skill for them,” she says.

Stephenson linked with the Y earlier this year after moving south with her husband Lynn. He is a vocational rehab tech with the State.

She initially responded to the “wellness” position but learned about the aquatics possibility after talking with CEO Cindy Love-Abounader. End result: she assumed both positions.

Stephenson reciprocates the vote of confidence by saying by saying how driven and motivated the Y staffers are.

“They’re a great group of people,” she says. “At the Y, there’s something for every single person. And the members love what’s happening, so how can you not be happy.”

People interested in all types of lessons on offer should connect with her at aquatics@marcoy.org for more information.

And, for more on the Y’s wide variety of programs and activities for adults and children, visit marcoymca.org or call 394-YMCA (9622). Follow on Twitter at ymcamarco; on Facebook @marcoymca, and Instagram at ymcamarco.

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