The swim whisperer

Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club swim lesson coordinator Kristen Neth speaks to children in a steady, easy-going tone, making swim lessons a relaxing experience. (photo courtesy of Kristin Neth)

The swim whisperer

The ability to swim is both a joy and an important life skill, but learning to swim can be pretty intimidating for children. Fortunately, Scripps Ranch has a very good learn-to-swim program in its midst at the Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club (SRSRC), and it’s available to club members as well as non-members.

One of the stars of this program is Kristin Neth, the SRSRC swim lesson coordinator and assistant aquatic director. Observing Neth teaching children to swim is a calming experience for the parents because she makes it a relaxing experience for their kids. Neth speaks to the youngsters in a steady, easy-going tone, asking about their interests beyond the pool — kid things. The children respond in a trusting way.

“My philosophy is to teach them to fall in love with the water — and not to be forced … but to actually teach them to love the water, be comfortable in the water, relaxed in the water and then from there, to just grow and learn to swim,” Neth explained. “I definitely build trust and then I slowly introduce comfort, ease, relaxation and then we just keep repeating and just slowly introducing them into swimming.”

Neth said that after a while, her small students realize they can swim. “I tell people all the time, ‘You just come once a week, just keep coming and they will swim,'” she said.

Neth grew up in a life filled with swimming. She was raised in Ojai. She was a competitive swimmer most of her young life and into college, she said. She competed on the team at San Francisco State University. After college graduation, she got married and moved to San Diego where she has lived for about 24 years. She resides in Scripps Ranch and is the mother of two daughters.

Neth was a member of the SRSRC Masters Swim program — a swim team for adults — and eventually became involved teaching swim lessons at the club.

“I really enjoy it and I love teaching kids to swim,” she said “It’s something that I’m very thankful for in my life that I learned and applied myself to. I really enjoy watching kids day in and day out just love swimming.”

(photo courtesy of Kristin Neth)

The SRSRC has an abundance of swim lessons available, starting with the Parent-Tot class for children 6-months-old to 3 years of age. This class involves parents getting into the pool with their kids. “We teach them how to hold their baby (in the water), introduce your baby to the water, maybe float on their back, blow bubbles, hold their breath — just the basics for babies 6-months and up,” Neth explained.

The club has group swim lessons for kids at several levels, all nicknamed for sea creatures: Flounders (ages 2-3); Grunion I and II (ages 3-5), Shrimp I and II (ages 4-6); Seahorse (ages 6-12); Seals (ages 6-12); Stingrays (ages 6-12); Dolphin and Swordfish (ages 6-12).

There is also a non-competitive swim group called the Squids. Participants on this team learn to swim well, get exercise, learn endurance, learn to dive, do flip turns and all the strokes. It teaches them the basics that a swimmer on a competitive swim team would need, but the classes leave enough time for the youngsters to pursue other activities outside of swimming. It’s a good activity in itself, letting participants learn skills and discipline while enjoying the sport of swimming. This group has two teams — Squid I and Squid II — and each meets three days every week for one-hour sessions. The Squid program runs year-long.

The group swim lessons are mostly seasonal, running in spring, summer and fall. About 10 instructors are employed by the club for lessons during the summer and about six instructors teach lessons in the fall and spring, according to Neth.

The SRSRC also offers private, one-on-one swim lessons with an instructor, as well as semi-private lessons in which a child can learn swimming with a friend or sibling.

Swim lessons are taught at the SRSRC Trails club, 10216 Scripps Trail. The after-school program at the Trails location offers some swim lessons as well. In addition, the SRSRC offers summer swim lessons for kids in its preschool program at the Aviary location, 9875 Aviary Drive.

For more information, click on the “Swim” button at or email Neth at

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