Rob and Kathy McKay have devoted their adult careers to developing the most stimulating, child friendly, educationally sound and developmentally appropriate swim school possible. The very tangible result of their mission is the nationally acclaimed Serenity Swim™ at Lifestyle Swim School™ in Boca Raton, the couple’s award-winning video series, Diaper Dolphins™, their book Learn to Swim™ (DK Publishing), their website www.babyswimming.com and their contribution to The Experts Guide to the Baby Years (Clarkson Potter).
Rob and Kathy’s national credentials include:
- Paragon Award Honoree, “Outstanding Contribution to Aquatic Safety”, International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
- Inaugural Recipient, “Virginia Hunt Newman Award”, for Kind Infant Swim Instruction, (ISHOF)
- Named to “Top 100 Leaders in Aquatics”, “Who’s Who in Aquatics”
- 3 time Delegate, National Aquatic Summit (Washington, D.C.)
- Charter member, United States Swim School Association (USSSA), and World Aquatic Baby and Children (WABC)
- Founding Member of the original Palm Beach County Drowning Prevention Coalition
- Frequent national speaker, authority, spokesperson
The WABC’s guidelines for teaching infants represent the highest standards of safe teaching practices for the psychological and physical well-being of tiny swimmers. Rob is a charter member of that organization and served as “Diplomat” under Virginia Hunt Newman. He also served in the “Congress” of the International Swimming Hall of Fame which advised the Board of Directors. He is a sought after speaker throughout the world and has been a featured presenter on the couple’s gentle, holistic baby swimming method in the following venues:
- World Aquatic Babies and Children International Conferences Los Angeles (CA), Melbourne (Australia), St. Petersburg (FL), Brighton (England)
- Aquatic Symposium (AQUATICA), International Swimming Hall of Fame
- New Zealand Swim Coaches and Swim Teachers Association, Rotorua (1996) and Wellington (2007)
- International Aquatic Conference, along with Mark Spitz, Acapulco, Mexico (2002)
- Teacher Workshop, Uppsala, Sweden (2003)
- “Nordic Conference Babyswim”, Oslo, Norway (2004)
- Polish Infant Swimming Association, Teacher Workshop, Krakow, Poland (2009)
- Contributing Authors to Swim Australia’s Infant/Toddler teacher’s curriculum (2010)
- World Aquatic Babies and Children Network Conference. Clearwater, Florida (2011)
- World Swimming Coaches Conference hosted by American Swim Coaches Association (2014)
- London Workshop East London Near Olympic Stadium Jan 3rd, 2015
- China National Baby Swimming Conference, Shanghai, Guest speaker March 2015
- New Zealand Swim Coaches and Swim Teachers Association, Invited (May 2016)
- Cambridge University, England Invited (September, 2016)
Rob has spent his life in and around water. He learned to swim at age 3; swam competitively as a youngster; throughout high school as an All-American Swimmer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; throughout college as a varsity scholar athlete at Florida State University; and as an adult, as a Florida Gold Coast Masters record holder. He was former Assistant Men’s Swim Coach at FSU and coached national YMCA record holding relays. He pursued graduate studies in Elementary Education at FSU. Rob continues to swim for fitness. He has been an aquatic professional for over 40 years and owned Lifestyle Swim School for 35 years. He holds the following certifications:
- WSI (Water Safety Instructor, American Red Cross)
- Certified Lifeguard (American Red Cross)
- Level 4 Swim Coach (top 5% nationally) (American Swim Coaches Association)
- Reiki Master
Kathy McKay is the swim school’s co-director and serves officially as Director of Program Development and Marketing. She has actively taught alongside Rob for 32 years and had the fun at swim school of being “the parent in the water” for the couple’s two children, Heather and Brianne. Her grandmother taught her to swim at age 3 or 4 in the shallows of her parents’ lakeside home in Connecticut. Although not a competitive swimmer, she has loved water as a swimmer, snorkeler, in canoes, sailboats and atop inflatable rafts!
Kathy graduated “with distinction” from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in English and a strong emphasis in education and educational philosophy and methods. Her thematic approach to lesson planning is always apparent in games, songs, creative play, toys and theme days at the swim school. She is a former Girl Scout leader and had the distinction of being named the “Outstanding Leader” for her city. She received the “Outstanding Teacher Award” from the National Swim School Association (now USSSA). She served as Secretary for Margaux’s Miracle Foundation and coordinated the teen members performing acts of kindness and charity in the Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade county areas. She acted as liaison with The Andy Roddick Foundation for the non-profit.
Co-author of the couple’s book Learn to Swim, Kathy has also provided script and marketing support for Lifestyle’s Telly award-winning video series Diaper Dolphins™ and is the narrator for Volume II. When she’s not in the pool with her students, her writing, P.R. and marketing skills, honed for such major South Florida developers as Arvida Corporation and Lennar as well as for Hilton Hotel Corporation, have been put to use in Lifestyle’s books, speeches, newsletters, parent guides, and press releases. She has been a featured speaker at the WABC conferences in St. Petersburg (FL), Brighton (England) and Clearwater (FL). Kathy is a Reiki Level II Practitioner.
Yoko Yagishita is our colleague of 18 years from Tokyo, Japan and annually our guest at swim school. Yoko originally met Rob in Melbourne, Australia and came to the US to learn our tear-free, child-centered, happy method of instruction. Over the years, this little dynamo has taken Rob and Kathy’s gentle method of baby swim instruction back to her homeland and trained over 500 teachers. She has opened baby swim programs for the Tipness Group of Sports Clubs in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Yokohama and Kanto. She has also opened the baby program in the prestigious Tokyo National Gymnasium. Babies gravitate to Yoko’s enthusiastic smile and her happy personality. Yoko is the 2007 recipient of the “Virginia Hunt Newman Award” at the International Swimming Hall of Fame– the fourth recipient and the first woman so honored. In her spare time, Yoko is an accomplished porcelain doll maker.