Jim Gorman, club manager at Ladera Oaks, where he also runs the swim school, has been knee deep in water all his life. Like many kids who grew up on the Peninsula in the 50s and 60s, he learned to swim a Clyde Devine’s in San Carlos and competed in swimming, water polo, and diving at Woodside High School.
“I’m in the water about 25 hours a week teaching,” he said. “It’s mostly one-on-one instruction, and I like to do that in the water. That way you can support and move a person’s body. You can demonstrate with them what they’re supposed to do.”
Jim teaches a mix of children and adults. “Some adults never learned to swim as kids,” he said. “Usually that’s because they had some kind of traumatic event or never learned how to keep water out of their mouths. Other adults I teach are looking to improve their stroke.”
We asked him if there were any particular success stories from his decades of instruction. “There’s no single thing,” he replied. “It’s more about the hundreds of people who were afraid and got over their fear when they learned to float. And then they went on to love the water.
“And then there’s the hundreds of kids who went on to swim in college — some on scholarships. They passed on their love of the water to their kids.”
Jim continued to compete in Master’s events through the 80s and still finds the water the best place to be: “The water is an easier place to be than land. A lot of land problems don’t make it into the water.”
Note: Ladera Oaks is holding its annual open house this Sunday, June 8 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. The community is invited to come for a swim and tour the tennis and fitness facilities.
Photo by Scott R. Kline