Meet CJ: Swim Teacher Extraordinaire!

CJ O’Reilly practicing swim skills with their child, 6-month-old Cerulean

I grew up in Colorado and Florida and started teaching martial arts to younger students in middle school before becoming a Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor Level II during highschool and college at Broomfield City and County pools where I taught swimming to all ages from parent-tot to adults, and coached kids swim team. Most of my lessons were with children between the ages of 5 and 10. After school, I moved to China and taught English, Montessori and swimming lessons in Inner Mongolia and Beijing for about five years before moving to Asheville, where I began community organizing and teaching improvisational partner dance forms.

As a lifelong teacher, I understand (just like with similar to learning to dance or speak a second language) the biggest key to learning to swim is willingness and comfort.

Creating a safe container for leaning into our bravery and offering the support and scaffolding needed to push our edges is key to learning new skills. I loves the creative process of meeting students where they’re at in their learning journey!

What’s with my logo?

My logo is inspired by the movie Ponyo on the Cliffs, a Studio Ghibli anime re-telling in a magical new way the fairytale of the Little Mermaid.

Ponyo is a magical and strong willed little mermaid with a whole bundle of spunk who meets Sōsuke and well… I won’t spoil the movie! Anyhow, my logo seeks to embody the joy and empowerment that Ponyo and Sōsuke bring to life in and on the water and that I want to help bring to kids (or anyone!) learning to swim!

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