Students Jackson Bryant, 8, McHardy Bryant, 10, Matt Nesbit, 11 and Grace Nesbit, 8, have some fun with their swim coach Dee Adams after a recent lesson. Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

Vaughn resident Dee Adams has been teaching people to swim since she was 10 or 11 years old.

When she was growing up, her father was in charge of the swiming program at a pool in the county park in Enumclaw and Adams and her sister, Peg, spent their summers in the pool.

This summer, Adams, who owns Bay View Swim School, is giving swimming lessons to Key Peninsula children ages 4 through early teens.

Some of the youngsters have no experience in the water, some know just a few strokes and some are working on perfecting their techniques and building endurance, she said.

Janice Bryant of Longbranch enrolled her two sons in Adams’ classes earlier this summer.

“They’ve gone from being what we wouldn’t call ‘great’ swimmers to knowing all their strokes,” Bryant said. “Dee is Red Cross certified and she’s just a delight. She talks to each child individually and also as a group. The kids just seem to grow and revel. She’s full of laughs and she tolerates everything, but she still challenges them. They come home tired, but happy. She’s a precious gem for us out here on the Peninsula.”

Jane and Win Rumsey agreed. They were observing a class that included their two grandchildren, Matt and Grace Nesbit.

“The kids are having a great time learning all the different strokes,” Jane Rumsey said. “Dee gives detailed instructions as to how it should be done in a friendly way and the kids have a good time. They also have free time afterwards to play games, which everybody is eager to participate in. I’d certainly recommend this class.”

Ten-year-old McHardy Bryant had words of praise from a student’s perspective. “I came here to get better at swimming so we could go to different places and we could have more fun swimming in our pond. Our teacher has given us skills and confidence and she’s made it much easier to know how to swim. She really does great teaching. She’s a wonderful person to be with, and she’s friendly and very smart.”

Adams and her husband and children moved to Vaughn in 1988. They bought a house with a swimming pool, and while she worked as a counselor at Key Peninsula Middle School, she started teaching swimming in the summer as a way to get a little more income.

“My sister lived on Fox Island and she had a pool, and she started giving lessons on Fox Island and I started giving lessons in Vaughn.

“She and I helped our dad with the swim program at the county pool in Enumclaw and we also lifeguarded there, and we also helped dad with his swim program at home.”

Adams took a break from swimming for several years when she got a job in South Kitsap that required her to work during the summer.

She started teaching again when she retired in 2009.

Teaching swimming is Adams’ way of giving back to the community, and keeping busy, she said.

“And there’s also a philosophical reason: We live in a beautiful area with lots of water –– and people are in the water and on the water all the time, and I think it’s important for their kids to be safe around the water. They enjoy being in the water and so do I,” she said.

Adams thrives on “the satisfaction of seeing that feeling of accomplishment –– when you know that the kids are excited. They’ve broken through some sort of a barrier –– something they were afraid to do and now they’ve gone beyond that and learned something new –– and they’re having fun in the water,” she said.

Adams limits her class size to just four students in the pool at a time. She’ll offer another two-week session this month before school starts.

For information, contact Dee Adams at 884-9167.

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