KimSwim: Passion for the Pool

By: Jon Cronin

For swimming instruction experience, comfort and closeness to home, look no further than KimSwim in Denville.

Kim Hazelton, the owner and operator of KimSwim Pool Academy for almost 30 years, brings her and her teams’ decades of swim instruction to the table.   

KimSwim, located on 424 Route 46 West in Denville, has everything a swimmer of any age and any skill level may need.  

They have tons of beginner classes to choose from. They also offer Red Cross lifeguard certification training, SCUBA dive instruction and Pilates classes in the pool.  Parents can sign up for the parent/child classes, which are available for six-months-old to three and a half-year-old children.

“Saturday morning classes for kids fill up the fastest,” said Hazelton.

“The parents and kids classes are so much fun! Those are my favorite,” she added.

She noted that parents share her excitement when they get into the pool with their kids and start singing songs like Humpty Dumpty, Ring Around the Rosy and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  

“I get all the dads singing with me too! It’s so cute! I get to play with everybody’s babies. I love it,” exclaimed Hazelton.  

She encourages people not to be daunted when their young child is frightened by the water.  She recalled a two-year-old in 2003 that would cry whenever he got wet at the pool.

“He’s now 17, has been working for me for almost two years and loves working here,” she said, “I think he still has the record for crying the most.”  

“We’re not afraid of the kids that cry and yell,” Hazelton added.  

She had a more recent student who cried all the time, but as most kids do, she got used to the water. “It’s such a pleasure to see her so happy.  She wants to go swimming every day. That’s why I love my job,” she said. The little girl also had a birthday party at the pool, another service that KimSwim provides.   

Hazelton said she has a current six-year-old student with a hip problem who comes three times a week.  “He has trouble walking, but in the pool he’s fine. The best thing for him is to swim. In the pool he doesn’t have a disability anymore.  He beats the older kids in the pool.”

“If you’re coachable and you have good technique, you’ll take off fast,” she said.  

Although the children’s classes fill up the fastest, “The Adult classes are quite busy too,” Hazelton noted.  She encourages anyone with knee injuries to come walk in the heat in the pool, which stays a warm 90 degrees to keep students comfortable during the cooler months.  

The KimSwim Pool Academy also offers SCUBA training taught by Lakeland SCUBA in the 14 foot deep end of the pool, which then continues for certification at the Dutch Springs Quarry in Bethlehem, PA.  

Hazelton is happy that the SCUBA divers participate every year at Dive for Diabetes to raise money for diabetes research.  At the event, people throw money in the pool, divers collect the money, and raise back up to the surface.

They also had the divers stay under water for 24 hours as part of the Drown Out Cancer event.  They raised $7,600 and donated it to the American Cancer Society in Hanover.

Before she turned her career to swim instruction, Hazelton signed up her daughter at four for swim lessons at Doris Jermansky’s Pool School and signed herself up for adult classes.

Hazelton already had a long history of swimming experience and when the instructor saw her in the pool, she asked, “Do you need a job?”  

She took the offer.  “I didn’t swim for many years, but I knew I could do it well,” she said.  

Hazelton stayed on for a few years and when Jermansky decided to retire, Hazelton took over the business and changed the name.  Some of the original instructors are still there.

Her daughter taught at KimSwim for a while and now that she has left for college, her son has taken over.  

“I’m there every day,” Hazelton said, “If I’m not there, Cherlyn Buffa, a teacher who has been there for 28 years will be.”   Her team teaches 10 classes every afternoon and 20 classes a day on the weekend.

Hazelton’s loves her job and her passion for swimming goes all the way back to when she was on the swim team at Wayne Hills High School.  

After taking over swimming instruction, she moved to Denville 24 years ago.  

“We have five lakes in Denville so everybody has to learn how to swim,” Hazelton said.  

In the past 30 years, she has taken that statement to heart.  Not only did she teach at her academy, but 16 years ago she began volunteering as an instructor at Cooks Pond community youth swim team, the Denville Dolphin’s.  Even though she no longer volunteers there, she love that it exists and still donates money to the team and aids in organizing the team’s activities.

“We take anyone from any town that doesn’t have a swim team,” she said of the Denville Dolphins.  

Today, she is celebrating her 11th season as the Morristown Beard Middle School swim team coach.    There are about 20 students on the team. “Coaching swimming is so fun.  I love it,” said Hazelton.

She said she loves seeing her students improve and become more confident swimmers.  

“It’s the best thing for you,” she added, “I always feel like I’m in good shape. Swimming is like the fountain of youth.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agrees with her.  The CDC encourages people to get at least two and a half hours of aerobic activity per week and believe that swimming could be the best exercise for those with arthritis or joint problems.

The CDC reported on its website, “Swimmers have about half the risk of death compared with inactive people. People report enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land. They can also exercise longer in water than on land without increased effort or joint or muscle pain.”


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