My name is Maria Consuelo Valenzuela, everybody calls me “Chelo” which is the nickname for Consuelo. I was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. When I was a toddler my parents enrolled me and my sister in swimming lessons every summer, it was non-negotiable!
I’ve always enjoyed being in the water, there was no concept of vacation in my head that didn’t include a swimming pool. To this day, I enjoy swimming very much and even participate in triathlons.
During my teenage years, we had a pool built in our backyard and my sister and I started teaching regular swimming lessons every summer during college. We had a lot of fun, and it was a great summer job to have.
In 2009 my daughter Fernanda was born and, knowing there was a pool at my parent’s house, I understood the risks involved. I did some research on swimming lessons and found out about Ana Karina Cardenas who was teaching the Infant Aquatics’ method in Monterrey through her school ENAI. I did not hesitate for a second and signed my daughter up. Fernanda started lessons at 16-months, and by that time I was 6 months pregnant with my son, Angel.
I fell in love with the method and couldn’t grasp the idea that other parents didn’t share my belief that this should be the ONLY way for kids to learn how to swim.
I started asking Ana many questions about her training. One thing led to another, and it all ended with me quitting my corporate job in December 2011. By the following February I was trained and ready to teach at ENAI. Fast-forward eight years and I’m still going strong. I’ve completed additional training with the amazing Bev Steinfink and received my Infant Aquatics certification in 2019.
This career has brought me so much satisfaction. I enjoy being around the kids and watching them learn new skills, receiving love and appreciation from the parents. But knowing that my job can make a difference, and potentially save someone’s life, is the biggest reward of all.
In January 2019 Gabriela Garza and I became partners and bought ENAI from Ana. We are excited to start this new chapter and ready to share this wonderful method with as many families as we can.