I began my swimming career at the age of 5 taking lessons at my local pool club. I progressed from competing on their swim team to coaching the team for 4 years while I was in high school. I also competed on my high school swimming and diving team for 4 years.
I received my Surf Lifesaving and Water Safety Instructor certification in 1989 and I began teaching lessons and coaching the swim team. I continued to teach swimming lessons and aquarobics throughout college and graduate school. I graduated from Marist College with a Bachelors of Science in Biology. I received my Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from Mercy College where I realized how well OT complemented my aquatic practice. I was practicing as an Occupational Therapist with children with special needs at P.S. 24 since January of 2000.
I finally settled at the Whitehall in 1999 where I have built my dream aquatics program from the ground up. It has truly been a pleasure seeing my "kids" progress from the beginner class all the way up to the swim team. It has also been an exciting challenge to work with children and adults with varying abilities thrive in the aquatic environment.
My experience working with adults in the aquarobics class, aquatherapy and in the teaching environment has also been extremely rewarding. As I always say, "swimming is 75% psychology and 25% skill." Helping people to overcome their fears and learn to love the water while being safe is my mission. Thank you very much for your interest in our program and I hope to swim with you soon!
Hi, My name is Jenny. I swam on a variety of teams from the age of 5 till I was 20 and loved all of my experiences!!
I have a B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation and worked at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains for 4 years with adolescents to geriatrics that had brain injuries, strokes, breathing difficulties or orthopedic impairments. As a Recreation Therapist my focus was on enjoying recreation, and helping individuals understand what they were able to do, and adapting as needed for the fullest participation.
I have my M.S. in Occupational Therapy. I currently work in 2 NYC schools. As an Occupational Therapist, I focus on daily living skills of children from pre-k until 8th grade. I work on fine motor skills, motor skills, visual skills, sensory skills, and basic living skills needed for school functioning and survival in the community.
My love for swimming, my experience in recreation, and my understanding of children's needs to learn new and difficult skills is what has brought me to Aquabilities.
I look forward to teaching many children and adults how to swim and be safe in the pool environment.
I learned to swim at about the age of 14 and I studied to become a lifeguard soon after. At the age of 16, I worked at Tibbets Brook Park for 4 years as a lifeguard. In my 3rd year I was running the Swim for Kids program at that location. I began to swim competitively in my last 2 years of high school at Lincoln High School in Yonkers.
I began working at the Whitehall in 2000, first as a lifeguard and then with Jennifer in the swim program. I received my WSI certification 6 years ago.
I first learned how to swim based on my fathers interesting swimming strategies at age five, he confidently plopped me into the pool in our backyard and coached me from the sidelines. Since then I have always loved being in the water. Around age nine I participated on my private pool swim team.
Since that time I became a lifeguard and first started giving swim instruction at Fieldston Outdoors. I also work with a few special needs children for many years. I am currently a student at City College studying psychology, which aids in my understanding for the different emotions kids are feeling when first entering the water.
Hi, I'm Nirit and I am assisting with the administrative aspects of Aquabilities with Jennifer. I was born and lived in Israel until 2011 when I relocated to NY with my husband and 2 beautiful daughters. Israeli summers are long and hot and we spent most of our free time either in the pool or by the Mediterranean sea. Both of my girls love the water and started swimming at the age of 3 months!
Back in Israel, I managed and consulted QA groups in the high tech industry. Here in the U.S., I'm happy to be by my daughters and help the families of Aquabilities with Jennifer with scheduling, enrollment, technical support and any other questions you may have.
My name is Carmen Viciedo and I starting swimming at the age of 7. My parents enrolled me in a similar program as the Aquabilities program. Every summer during my childhood I attended a swimming club in which I learned to become a stronger swimming through games, exercises and friendly competitions.
I have a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from New York University, a Masters Degree in Education from Mercy College. During my college years, I continued to pursue swimming by taking classes offered at my college and swam recreationally whenever possible.
I am currently working as a New York State Certified Elementary Bilingual/Special Education Teacher in a public school. I have six years experience working within my field and have had the pleasure of meeting and working with many amazing children. I met Jennifer at the school I work for and she told me about the great work she does with Aquabilities. She invited me to join her great team at Whitehall at the beginning of 2010.
My enthusiasm for swimming and experience and love of working with children has brought me to work here. I look forward to the growth and wonderful experiences I will have at Aquabilities.
Hi! I am Cathy. I love to swim and credit my swimming abilities to the best instructor I ever had: my dad! He taught me to swim at a very young age, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity of teaching children to swim - most importantly, I hope that I can help them enjoy their time and newfound skills in the water. My family and I spent every summer at the local pool by our home where I enjoyed taking part in the swim matches and games. I am happy to be working with children and their families.
While at The Mary Louis Academy High School, I joined the Varsity Swim Team as a sophomore and was proud to be part of an amazing team that became Brooklyn/Queens Champions for three years in a row. I am ecstatic about joining the Aquabilities Team of instructors. I look forward to building wonderful relationships with the children and adult participants.
I graduated Fordham University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies. I had a wonderful career as a fundraiser for great non-profit organizations, including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I was very fortunate to meet many child patients and to learn their stories and strength. While I am currently in Marketing Research, I am still involved in philanthropic work and giving. Finally, I am bilingual (speak Spanish fluently) and hope that this skill can also serve the community I will be working with now and in the future.
I started swimming on the Whitehall Dolphins swim team with Coach Jennifer when I was 8 years old. I took my talent to Fordham Prep, helping the Aqua Rams win 3 City Championships.
I am now studying Economics at New York University where I am also a member of the swim team. I am able to bring my fresh college swim team experience to Aquabilities, introducing new drills and techniques to the Whitehall Dolphins as well as to the future Dolphins who are learning how to swim.
Hi! I have been a part of Jennifer's swim program since I was of the age of 5. I was taught to swim by Jennifer and Jean Paul and moved on to the swim team where I furthered my knowledge and enjoyment of swimming. I am now assisting with the swimming lessons and the swim team.
I am currently a student at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy. I love to act and I am currently taking part in plays at the Riverdale Y. I use my love for entertaining and enthusiasm to help the children feel more comfortable in the water while they learn how to swim.
I have loved the water for as far back as I can remember. I started as an infant in my grandparents’ pool. I took formal swim lessons and eventually swam for our local swim team. I was a lifeguard and water safety instructor for the Fairfield, CT beaches and our local YMCA. I also coached the eight and under swim team for the Fairfield YMCA and Trumbull Pisces.
I studied Psychology at Southern Connecticut State University (BA). I then went on to graduate school at Sacred Heart University and received an MA in Elementary Education. I taught third and fourth grade for 9 years before my husband and I moved to New York in 2007. I had my first son in 2008 and my second son in 2009. I plan to return to the classroom when my children are older.
I am very excited to be a part of the Aquabilities team. It is my belief that all people should be safe and comfortable in the water. I love teaching and look forward to working with this great team and my amazing students!
Hi, my name is Ian Darlington and I have been working with Aquabilites since 2012. I was a fearless swimmer when I first started swimming at six years old, jumping in to 6 feet of water without a care in the world . I later picked up tips and was taught properly by the lifeguards at my local boys club.
When I turned 18, I became certified as a lifeguard by the American Red Cross. Since then I've been guarding and teaching at NYC gyms and private pools, where I had been promoted to head lifeguard and assistant aquatics director. I acquired my WSI certification while working with a summer camp for youth where I also became their Water Front Director. At this camp in upstate New York, we brought inner city kids and taught them how to swim, over come fears of the water and progressed them to higher levels of skill and enjoyment.
Hi, my name is David Zhang. I have been swimming at the Whitehall ever since I was 5 years old! Before taking lessons with Jennifer, I was afraid of the water. I overcame my fears and quickly moved through swim lessons and eventually onto the swim team for the past 9 years. This is where I learned all the strokes and techniques in order to become the proficient swimmer I am today!.
I am currently a student at Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy and I continue improving my own swimming skills by competing on the APEX Swim Team located at Lehman College. As an assistant instructor and swim team coach with Aquabilities, I enjoy coaching the swimmers and relating my personal challenges and successes as a swimmer.
I was born in Israel and raised on a kibbutz (agricultural shared community), where I began going to the pool almost daily in summers since I was one year old, and never stopped. I participated in swimming contests as a high-school student. After my military service I served as a lifeguard and swimming instructor in a summer camp in Pennsylvania. I graduated from my swimming instructor studies at the Wingate Institute (Israel's national center for physical education and sports) and aquatic therapist studies at Beit Issie-Shapiro (the country's leader in services for children and adults with developmental disabilities).
In the last six years I worked as a swimming instructor in a variety of pools and fitness centers across Israel, delivering swimming classes to babies 3 months and up to teenagers. I gave private lessons to adults from their 30s to their 70s teaching them to swim, dealing with phobias and improving their swimming technique. I also gave therapeutic sessions for adults (up to the age of 92!) referred by their health care provider for a variety of emotional, orthopaedic and neurological conditions (i.e. CVA, fibromyalgia and disc rupture). I also have experience working with children diagnosed with ADHD, sensory processing problems, shoulder weakness and general insecurity.
I am also a certified Watsu (Water Shiatsu) therapist - a relaxation technique which involves stretching and massage in water and is highly relaxing. Give it a try! I love the water, and I look forward to meeting you there, be it to learn to swim, improve your technique, face your fears, treat your conditions or enjoy a relaxing treatment!
Hi! I am Jeff Krieger, Founder & Director of the S.O.A. P. (Strategies for Overcoming Aquatic Phobias) Program and am very happy to be joining Jennifer and her very dedicated professional aquatic staff. I have a Masters Degree in Counseling have spent the last 30 years working with individuals of all ages, fitness levels and life experience, who as result of their fear or lack of skills and positive experience surrounding water, are unable to enjoy the wide range of physical, emotional and recreational benefits that result from participating in an aquatic lifestyle.
This highly unique and successful program combines an increased awareness of the who, what and whys of aquatic fears and phobias using counseling, behavior modification, relaxation and desensitization skills, along with aqua phobic specific water adjustment skills. The S.O.A.P. Program has been recognized as one of the most innovative programs in the field by many aquatic and mental health professionals and organizations. It has also received a great deal of recognition in the national media as well. In my off time, I am spreading the word around the country presenting this program to other aquatic and mental health professionals so that everyone can enjoy the many benefits that the water has to offer!
In addition to my aquatic background which includes work as a Special Needs Swim Instructor, Life Guard, Aquatic Director, Certified Pool Operator, Swim Team Coach and NYS Swim and Dive Official, I have also worked as a School Guidance Counselor and Camp Director. I look forward to working with you soon!