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Ana Karina CĂĄrdenas

is no ordinary swimming instructor, originally from Mexico, she moved to Thibodaux, LA after quitting her job to become a survival-swimming instructor. About 4 years ago Ana watched a video of a little boy who accidentally fell into a pool, came up and then floated on his back waiting for someone to come and rescue him. She was immediately astonished by this video and began searching for instructors in Mexico who taught this technique. After two years of unsuccessful searching, Ana decided to quit her job and to become a survival swimming instructor. Continued on next page

by Harley Cortez water photos provided by ana karina cĂ rdenas

March 2011 | Local Vue 57

“My job is very rewarding. I’m thankful I can teach children survival skills,” the teacher says. Her intense training by Infant Aquatic included the completion of 220 hours of academic studies in psychology, physiology and swimming theories from various instructors, 135 hours of in-water training and assisted more than 15 children to master their swim, float, swim technique. Infant Aquatics instructors teach babies as young as 6 months old to stay calm in case they fall in the water fully clothed. Depending on their age they learn different techniques. Infants 6 to 12 months learn to roll onto their backs, float and to wait for help. Toddlers 12 to 24 months learn to swim short distances, roll on their backs if they become tired or need air and to wait for help. Kids 2 years and older swim for a while, roll on their back to breathe and rest, then flip over and start swimming again. E.N.A.I. Swimming & Survival Skills Lessons is part of the Infant Aquatics Ana teaches. E.N.A.I. is an acronym in Spanish that translates to: Swimming and Self Rescue School for Infants. Ana explains that she doesn’t just teach babies as young as 6 months old to swim, she helps them to develop survival swimming skills that can save their lives. Taught at private homes in Thibodaux, the primary concerns of the lessons are safety first, fun second. At the beginning of lessons, children become familiar with the water and are taught how to grab the wall, call for help in case of an emergency and learn how to float. The most essential skill that Infant Aquatics teaches is the skill of flipping over from a face down position in the water to a back floating position in the water. Infants and toddlers cannot lift their heads to take a breath; so learning how to float on their backs can save their lives. According to Ana one thing that makes E.N.A.I. special from other swim schools is

58 Local Vue Point of Vue Magazine | March 2011

photo by Aimee Dugas

Lessons for E.N.A.I. will be taught in English and Spanish and will begin this April. For more information contact Ana Karina Cárdenas at or on Facebook by searching E.N.A.I. Swim.

the benefit of having results in such a short period of time. She explains that other schools do not show results until the second or third year. Kids sign up and are basically blowing bubbles during one month and then holding onto a floating device the second month, taking a long time for them to let go and start swimming on their own. “With E.N.A.I., kids start swimming on their own during the first or second week,” the instructor says. She goes on to explain that children master the swim, float, swim technique by the fourth to sixth week approximately and children who learn how to swim from E.N.A.I. can see results in just a few weeks. In Ana’s program, children take four lessons a week, Monday through Thursday for 10 minutes each. Lessons are one instructor per child, which allows kids to learn the technique in approximately five to six weeks. Parents are allowed to go into the water on the first day to put the child at ease with the water and with the instructor, while still having fun. After a bond between the instructor and the child is formed, the child goes in the water alone. After the child has completed his lessons, parents are invited in the water again to understand what the child has learned. Lessons can be intense and exhausting, “Support from parents both during lessons and at home are very important,” says Ana. “Positive reinforcement at home, especially during the first week, makes a difference.” Every child learns at his or her own pace, but on average they learn in 20 to 24 lessons. Ana has found that one-on-one, frequent, short lessons give better results than long, group lessons that are taught fewer times a week. “It is amazing to see a child floating by themselves, I feel like I’ve really helped to accomplish something important in their lives,” the instructor says with a smile. pov

ENAI SWIM in POV Magazine March 2011  

Point of Vue, a recognized magazine in the Houma-Thibodaux area, features a story on ENAI SWIM.

ENAI SWIM in POV Magazine March 2011  

Point of Vue, a recognized magazine in the Houma-Thibodaux area, features a story on ENAI SWIM.