(Published June 28, 2022)
Clara W. has been a swimmer for so long, she can’t remember when she started. “My parents always had me in the water,” she said. “And I grew up swimming here [at the J]. I like the atmosphere, it’s very calming.” So when Clara’s sister started working at the JCC a few years ago, it was only natural for Clara to follow in her footsteps at the Eskenazi Water Park when she became old enough, first as a Slide Attendant and then a lifeguard and swim instructor.
“Teaching kids to swim is very important,” Clara said. “Seeing kids do basic skills, it’s great because they’ll grow up and learn more about how to swim. It’s a good life skill to have.” It’s no wonder that Clara’s favorite swim stroke to teach is freestyle – once someone has that down, they can expand to others. And not only is building someone’s water safety skillset gratifying, but so is the knowledge that thanks to her American Red Cross lifeguard training, Clara has the capability to save someone’s life.
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Even when she’s not on duty, Clara loves to swim, particularly freestyle and breaststroke. It should be no surprise, then, that her sports hero is Michael Phelps. But she admires him for more than just his swimming ability. “He’s also a good person in general,” she said.
When she’s not swimming or working, Clara is a typical teenager: She loves to hang out with her friends, bake (though ironically no-bake cookies are her favorite) and listen to music, especially Billie Eilish, Childish Gambino and Frank Ocean.
Say hi to Clara next time you see her at the water park!