Documented Survival Stories

Submitted From Parents

This section includes letters from parents reporting real-life aquatic survival success stories experienced by their children whose Infant Aquatics survival swimming lessons proved to be the difference between triumph and tragedy.

Carey Pardee documented survival swim story

From: Carey Pardee

Dear Judy,

We live in Lafayette and our property is quite large, beautifully landscaped with a gorgeous water feature the kids love to splash around in during the summer. The pond, surrounded by rocks, drops to a depth of 4.5 feet.

May 18th 2007 - a warm sunny day. I was home with my two young daughters doing yard work. Saxon, my 16 month old, had just completed her 5th week of lessons with Cynthia, but had yet to practice swimming in clothes. She and Stori, my 4 year old, were playing on a large trampoline located next to the pond, while I was gardening. My back was turned pulling weeds in an adjacent garden when I heard Stori call for me. She said "mommy, mommy, Saxon needs you" I turned around to see Stori, standing by the water, but Saxon was nowhere in sight. My mouth went dry, and my heart sank as I envisioned Saxon facedown at the bottom of the pond. I remember running about eight "Incredible Hulk" steps with no feeling in my legs. The pond came into view, and there was Saxon, not submerged on the bottom, but floating on her back on the surface of the water She was wearing overalls with a long sleeve shirt underneath. Her breathing was very relaxed, considering the water temperature was 58 degrees. I felt calm as I made my way to where she was floating. I was so relieved; I cheered her, as I laid down at the edge of the water. I continued to tell her what a great swimmer she was as I gentlyplaced my hands under her head, re-enforcing her confidence in the floating technique she had been learning during her swim lessons. I was surprisingly very composed, and helped her float over to the side and then encouraged her to flip over and grab the edge, where I grasped her little hands and pulled her wet body out. During the entire episode, she never cried, never even made a peep. I let her run around the sunny yard in her wet clothes and diaper for a few minutes while I regained the strength in my legs to actually take her inside to get fresh clothes and digest what had just happened. According to Stori, "Saxon fell in the water face first and rolled over to float." It was pretty amazing!

Water safety has always been one of my greatest priorities, and all three of my kids have taken lessons at Infant Aquatics in Boulder I have always felt that educating children to be safe and respectful around water is paramount, because you never know when something like this might happen. Thank you over and over and over again Infant Aquatic Survival Team!

Nicole Friel documented survival swim story

From: Nicole Friel

Estes Park

Dear Judy,

May 25, 2012

It was about 7:00 at night, and we had stopped at Lake Estes to play for a few minutes before meeting friends for dinner. The outside temperature was around 50 degrees, so my young son was wearing a long sleeved hooded shirt, down vest, underwear and heavy pants, as well as wool socks and tennis shoes. We were playing near the edge of the lake when Archer lost his balance, fell, and tumbled down a 3 foot embankment into the lake. My heart sank when I heard the splash, as I honestly did not expect him to roll all the way to the water. As I made it to the edge of the embankment and caught the first glimpse of my soggy toddler, he bellowed out "Mama!" There was my two year old, floating motionless on his back like a perfect starfish, just as he had practiced during each of his lessons at Swim•Float•Swim!

I was surprised at how cold the water was when I waded in to retrieve him. Within 5 minutes I had plucked Archer out of the lake, stripped off all his clothes, and wrapped him in my coat when he began asking to go play again. Falling into the lake was such a nonevent for him that, despite his abrupt tumble and swim, he displayed no emotional upset. Amazing! My biggest concern then was simply that we would have to go home for dry clothes before going to dinner.

I love it that Archer is crazy about being in the water and going to swim lessons. And I love it that people who see him swim constantly make remarks about his confidence in the water. But mostly I love that, despite not having practiced swimming in clothes for several months, my son was able to use his survival swim skills while fully clothed in a cold mountain lake. I am beyond grateful for all the expert instruction we have received from you and your staff!

Amy Brittan documented survival swim story

From: Amy Brittan

Dear Judy,

My husband and I are avid sailors, and our children have spent lots of time on boats. Our family went on a two month sailing cruise and island hopped our boat from Antiqua down to Trinidad in the Caribbean. Charlie, age 5 and Camille, age 2, loved living on their floating home. Although they both began swimming with you as babies, we insisted that they wear life jackets whenever they were on deck and sent them below in rough seas and for sail changes.

When we reached Trinidad, my husband and I were very busy "putting the boat to bed" -- preparing it for hurricane storage out of the water. The marina where we worked had a wonderful pool but the water in the marina was deep, black, oily and rank -- teeming with tennis ball jelly fish. Every day we scrubbed the boat in the morning and swam in the pool in the afternoon. To get to the pool, we walked on a series of wide concrete docks built 5 feet above the water. Perhaps due to the familiarity of our routine, I began to be less vigilant and allowed my children to walk along the docks without holding my hands, which were loaded down with pool toys.

On one of these typical days, Camille (age 2) turned to tell me something, slipped off the edge of the dock and fell 5 feet into the oily water. Instantly, she disappeared beneath the water's black surface. I was paralyzed with fear, unable to move. At that instant, I was consumed by thoughts of my daughter being stung by the multitude of jelly fish. It seemed like hours before she popped up to the surface, safely floating on her back, breathing normally. Before I could react to the accident, a man working on a neighboring boat did a perfect swan dive into the ocean (over the concrete dock), swam over to Camille, picked her up and handed me my shaken but very much alive little girl.

Camille likes to tell us how she went straight to the bottom and how the jelly fish told her that they wouldn't sting. She still loves swimming in the ocean.

We enrolled both of our children in your program to prevent a tragedy from occurring. I believe that Infant Aquatics and your excellent teaching saved my daughter's life. We're looking forward to seeing you for a short refresher before our next cruise.

Amy Leet McKee documented survival swim story

From: Amy Leet McKee

Novembery 15, 2016

A few months ago my 2 year old son was found floating in our pool. It happened in a matter of seconds. I thought he was with my mom and she thought he was with me. Little did we both know, he had made his way to our pool area unsupervised. I heard a scream and jumped up to see my mom standing over him screaming, "Keegan is in the pool!" We immediately grabbed him and looked at one another thanking God almighty that he was taught survival swim by Tiny Bubbles Aquatic Academy just a couple months prior.

The swim-float-swim method saved my son's life, because he was floating upright. All the more reason to continue with refresher courses to ensure his future pool safety. So as of this Monday, Keegan is back at it with Tiny Bubbles to strengthen his swimming skills, because drowning knows no season. Thank you Tiny Bubbles for having such an awesome program that has taught all three of my children survival swim.

Angela Moss documented survival swim story

From: Angela Moss

February 7, 2003
A Letter of Gratitude

Dear Judy,

Through your instruction of Infant Aquatics techniques my son learned a precious skill, the ability to save himself from drowning. At the age of 26 months my son, Aidan, learned to swim-float-swim under the watchful eye of mom and teachers. Recently this valuable skill was put to the ultimate test when no one was watching.

My 2 year-old son, 5 month old daughter, and I went to a nearby water park to swim with friends. My son, Aidan, loved playing with his older friend. I was with them as they left the wading pool and started towards the family spa/ hot tub. I told Aidan to wait while I briefly turned my head to look for a spot to put my daughter down. It was only a few seconds from the time I lost sight of my son until I heard a gurgling scream come from the hot tub. I knew it was Aidan, and I knew from the nature of his cry that he was on his back in a float. We found Aidan face up in a star position, one leg kicking against the current in the middle of the family hot tub. Water was splashing over his face adding the gurgle sound to his cry. The tub was 3-4 feet deep, too deep for Aidan to stand. The sight of him in this float terrified and relieved me at the same time. I was terrified because I knew this position meant he had been totally submerged in the water. I was relieved because he turned to a floating position as he was taught to do in Infant Aquatics lessons. While in this position he was able to breathe and scream for help. I knew from his lessons with you that he could maintain the float for an extended period of time. I quickly but calmly removed my shaken, healthy son from the water. Within five minutes Aidan was asking to play in the wading pool again.

Although a lifeguard, at least 2 other swimmers, and I were only a few feet from Aidan, no one saw him go under the water. It pains me to think what would have happened had Aidan not been able to breathe in air and scream for help. As a mother, I want to keep him from getting in these harmful situations by keeping a close eye on him, but it is very difficult if not impossible to watch him all the time. Judy, I thank you and Infant Aquatics for teaching Aidan to swim-float-swim and, ultimately, for teaching him to survive.

Ashlee and Jeff Register documented survival swim story

From: Ashlee and Jeff Register

January 5, 2015

I just wanted to take a moment to write you a note of never-ending gratitude. Our daughters, Lily and Harper, both took swim lessons with you last February-April. We put Harper in a refresher course last fall because we were moving into a home with a pool. The pool has a pool fence around it and there are multiple doors out to the patio. On nice days like today, we leave the doors open and let the girls wander back and forth from the patio to play.

Tonight my husband went to pick Lily up from school. I stayed behind with Harper and Greyson, their little brother. While I was feeding him, Harper walked out onto the patio. I kept my eyes on her until she walked out of view. Typically not a big deal, as we'd wait a few moments and either go check on her or wait for her to walk back into view. Since I was feeding Greyson, I didn't get up to check on her after a minute or so. And then I heard a huge splash. I immediately put the baby down and ran outside to find Harper in the pool. Thankfully, she was floating as she was holding onto the pool blanket, crying, but still... FLOATING. And CRYING, which meant that she was alive and breathing. In what seemed like forever to get the pool gate open and for me to get to her in the deep end, she just cried and floated. I got her out, wrapped her up and congratulated her on floating, fighting back the tears. I didn't want her to be afraid and I didn't want her to see me cry. I quickly said a prayer over and over again, thanking God for Tiny Bubbles and the skills that you've taught my daughters. We will continue to tell others about you and will continue to thank you for the invaluable lessons bestowed upon our family.

I think that Harper was able to squeeze between the space where the pool fence meets the screen enclosure. She hadn't ever attempted it before, but now we know it's possible. I just can't stop thanking you enough.

With love and never-ending gratitude,
Ashlee and Jeff Register
Lily and Harper, Tiny Bubbles Graduates
Greyson, future Tiny Bubbles Graduate

From: Christy Knight


I just wanted to thank you for the marvelous program you run. I have been very impressed with the teaching methods you use, your willingness to work around crazy schedules and most of all with your talented instructors. I especially appreciate the great lessons my girls have had from Lance the last 2 times. The one today probably saved my 2 year old Annie's life.

Annie is a very head strong and stubborn little girl ( I believe your analogy was to a horse that needed to be broken...). I was very impressed last week and again today with how Lance recognized not only her stubbornness but also her ability and strengths and used these traits to benefit her in her lessons. Instead of spending the lesson fighting with her he challenged her and kept her doing new things she had not done before. She was curious and worked harder than she ever has before. Today in the lesson he kept submerging her in the pool from different angles and having her find the edge of the pool. When she got disoriented and frustrated he calmly reassured her and made her continue to work rather than returning to her comfort zone at the pool steps as some of the other instructors have done, at Annie's insistence. I recognized the progress she was making in her lessons today and thanked Lance. I had no idea that she would need these skills just a few hours later.

Our street is currently in the process of getting a new water main installed. The city came last week and connected each of the homes to the new line, and where there were problems left big holes with orange cones around them. Our water meter is in the lower end of our driveway and was left uncovered in a 5 foot deep hole. The crazy storms on Saturday have completely filled the hole with water, to the point that it just looks like a fun big puddle to splash in. Tonight my girls went outside with my husband while he washed the cars in the driveway. While he had the power washer going Annie either fell or jumped in. Thanks to the great lesson and practice she got from Lance today she was able to orient herself in the murky water and find the edge of the hole, holding on and treading water until my husband turned off the power washer and heard her screams. I don't know that the outcome would have been the same a week or two ago.

A truly heartfelt thanks again to you and your wonderful staff, and my deepest gratitude to Lance for his timely lesson today. We appreciate your program and all your hard work.


From: Heidi Coleman

Sandy, Utah

Grandma's Pool in the Autumn

My 2 year old daughter Sarah was playing around the pool at her grandma's house. She fell backwards into the pool's deep end. Her 13 year old uncle was panic-stricken. He didn't know whether to run for help or try to jump in and save Sarah himself. While he yelled for me and decided what to do, Sarah flipped herself over, swam over to the side and pulled herself out. She was standing on the deck by the time I got to her. She was just fine, and she couldn't understand what all the commotion was about. I was absolutely amazed.

From: Kathy Sadler

Salt Lake City


We always make it a practice to close the pool cover immediately after we are finished swimming to protect our small twins. But one day last summer, when the twins were just 2 years old, I failed to close the cover and instead began working in the garden. A few minutes later, I heard one of the twins crying wildly. I looked over to see that he had fallen in the pool but had pulled himself out. Before having lessons in (your) program he would not have known what to do, and I could not have helped him because I never even heard him fall in...there was not even a splash. Because of the lessons, he knew to right himself in the water, open his eyes to find the side of the pool, swim to it and pull himself out. It scared us both to death, but I was thrilled that he had developed the skills to save himself in an emergency.

Laura Tidstrom documented survival swim story

From: Laura Tidstrom

Dear Judy,

The week before school started I took my daughter Logan and her friend to Gateway Park to play putt putt. My three year old son Griffin came along, outfitted for the occasion in his Spiderman tennis shoes, shorts and polo shirt. My focus was on the girls, and I never knew that Griffin was trying to retrieve his ball from the big pond with the pink elephant that squirts water out of its trunk.

Suddenly I turned and spotted the top of Griffin's head in the brown pond. The rest of him was totally submerged. I stood frozen for an instant as he popped up, rolled onto his back, then calmly flipped onto his tummy and climbed out of the pond. I ran over to him asking "Griffin, are you all right?" He grinned, gave me "the look" and nonchalantly replied, "Oh mom, Coach Judy taught me to always get on my back whenever I need air." So that's my success story for Infant Aquatics for Griffin, putting his swimming to the test at Gateway Park!

From: Sheri Duffy

Orem, Utah


In the still of the night at the end of the dock, a group of children gathered on a boat floating in dark water, to listen to ghost stories. My 4 year old son, A.J., wanted to join them. He approached the boat, not wearing a life jacket as were the other children who were already in the boat. A.J. stepped from the dock to join the other children, but missed the step and fell unnoticed into the dark water. He went down down down, eventually touching his toes on the bottom. All he could think of to do was make the "airplane arms" he had learned during his swimming lessons. By the time he surfaced he was too tired to swim, so he just "rested on the water" until his cries for help were heard by his cousin. His cousin successfully pushed A.J. toward the dock until he could reach a handhold and pull himself out.

When I learned what had happened at the lake, all I could feel was relief that A.J. possessed the skills necessary to survive in the water. Thank you for giving A.J. this gift of life.

From: Siobahn Webster

Erie, Colorado

Dear Judy,

I have always been too nervous to take my daughters (ages 3 and 2) to the pool by myself because they are both so close in age and could not swim. But since they had both just completed the 6 week program at Swim Float Swim, I thought I could manage. So off we went to the pool. Everything was going great. The girls were listening wonderfully. They wanted to go down the slide. I had one child sit on the side of the pool while I waited at the bottom for the other child to come down the slide. This system worked great. They had gone down the slide at least 8 times during our visit.

Then, my 2 year old told me she wanted to go down the slide again. I had my 3 year old sit on the side of the pool while her sister went up the slide. I went to the bottom to catch her as I had every other time. Well, at the bottom of the slide you can't see the steps up to the slide. You can walk behind the slide to the other side of the pool which you can't see from the bottom of the slide either. I waited at the bottom of the slide for Emily, but she never came down. After a minute I started to worry so I moved to where I could see the bottom of the steps, but she wasn't there. I quickly backed my 3 year old away from the pool and told her not to move while I looked for her sister. I jumped back into the pool and started searching for Emily. I was in a panic but kept very calm. My eyes scanned the surface of the water and then I saw her on the other end of the pool FLOATING on her back!

You see instead of going up the slide like she told me she was going to do, she went behind the slide and jumped into the pool. Luckily she had been trained at Swim Float Swim and must have turned right to her back, because she was floating calmly waiting for me to come get her. I quickly rushed over and picked her up, praising her for doing such a great job floating. Later we talked about not jumping in a pool without Mommy, but for the moment all I did was remind her what a wonderful floater she was.

I am forever grateful to Swim Float Swim. I'm convinced that the skills she learned during her lessons truly saved her life that day.