BSAC Shout-out to Kelly Cheney, right, the center’s newly hired Stroke School Academy swim coach, pictured with BSAC Aquatics Director Theresa Hickie. Beginner swimmers start with freestyle and backstroke, the long-axis strokes essential for water safety.

They’re the easiest strokes at a young age to learn,Cheney said. Next up, the butterfly and breaststroke. “They’re more difficult,” Cheney added, “because of the muscle strength necessary and the coordination it entails.”

The third focus is on starts and turns. Mastering all four strokes from a young age forward is a key focus for Coach Rich Rogers, BSAC’s director of competitive aquatics and the Blue Wave Swimming team, who said it gives an advantage to children who decide later in childhood to swim in high school, college and beyond. “It’s good to be a well-rounded swimmer,” said Cheney, whose two sons swim at BSAC and who herself swam in high school and college and as a lifeguard and swim instructor.

“If you want to look at swimming as a lifelong sport, breaststroke is a stroke older adults use to swim laps because you get to breath at every stroke and it can be done at a slower, less competitive rate.”

The butterfly is great for cardio and muscle-strength training. Welcome aboard, Kelly!