My name is Andrea Oswald, a certified Infant Aquatics Specialist (IAS), and the owner and instructor of Float On in Sioux Falls, SD. Before becoming certified myself, I was just another "parent" sitting at the side of the pool watching kids of all ages go through the swim program. I do not have kids myself, but have spent the last 10+ years being a nanny for a few families, which is precisely how I was introduced to the Infant Aquatics Survival program.
I grew up outside of a small town in Nebraska, where I spent my summers in the water, whether it was at the pool or in some nearby pond or river. Being a very energetic child, I was involved in every kind of activity growing up from sports, to dance & gymnastics, to 4-H. I went on to play collegiate volleyball at Augustana College (now University) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and double majored in Psychology and Exercise Science with a focus on Child Development. The summer following graduation, I nannied for two families before working in a children's hospital. I preferred the personal relationship aspect of nannying and chose to make a career out of it, which inevitably led me to discover Infant Aquatics.
I moved to Colorado in 2010 and continued nannying full time for the next 6 years. The children I took care of were all students of Infant Aquatics in the Colorado area. My first introduction to the program was through Jolyn Anderson in Denver, where I took two toddler boys. I was amazed when I saw that it wasn't just another run of the mill "splash and play" swim program as I had expected, but instead an innovative and effective program that had dramatic results in mere weeks. I witnessed many different ages taking part in the program, including infants, and I was fascinated! A couple years later, I took two little girls to Swim Float Swim in Longmont. The moment I stepped into the facility, I just knew that these two places had to be related. I spoke with the owner, Judy Heumann who told me that she had trained Jolyn. That is when I knew that this program was bigger and better than I had anticipated! I hadn't really put much thought into becoming an instructor myself at this point, but it was definitely something I could see myself doing in the future.
During my nanny career I traveled a lot, and realized I wanted to take time off to see the world. My significant other and I decided to quit our jobs and travel around the world full time, which was a life changing experience! Before taking off on this adventure, I was encouraged to look into becoming an Infant Aquatics Instructor by friends and former employers. They knew that I enjoyed working with children and that I wanted to be independent in my next venture. After speaking with Judy, and a few other instructors that she has trained, I researched and realized that this decision was a no-brainer. I wasn’t sure where we were going to end up when returning from our travels, and I wanted to be able to control my future schedule. This gave me the privilege of being able to choose both. I knew before I left on my trip that Infant Aquatics was going to be my next move.
I returned from my year abroad, excited about my next endeavor. I knew a bit of what to expect because of my previous exposure to the program, but I still had no idea how incredibly intense and extensive the training would be! The first day with Judy was immediate hands on, more intimidating than expected but already a wealth of information and knowledge. I was lucky enough to have a few other fantastic trainees by my side during the program, and they were incredibly supportive and fun. I couldn’t have been luckier than to have Karen Packer from Memphis, TN, Jayne Ackerman from Columbus, OH, and Colleen Goldsmith from Denver, CO in the pool with me. It was helpful to be able to listen their questions and troubleshoot ideas with them. Judy’s knowledge is invaluable, and I feel honored that I was able to learn from her expertise. I look forward to being a member of this program, and am excited to contribute to saving lives here in the South Dakota area.