Olympian opens swim school in Jacksonville after close call as child

Aqua Swim School offers lessons to help prevent drownings

By Zachery Lashway - Reporter/anchor, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Every day, there are 10 drownings in the U.S. It's the No. 1 cause of death for children under the age of 5. Teaching children to swim holds special meaning for two-time Olympian Nim Shapira, who opened The Aqua Swim School in Jacksonville on Saturday.

Shapira nearly drowned when he was 7 years old during a birthday party at his home in Tel Aviv, Israel.

"We had a pool in the backyard, and someone accidentally pushed me and I nearly drowned to the bottom of the pool.  The person who pushed me didn’t even notice," Shapira said.

It was an experience he said he will never forget.

"I am 29 years old. I still have once a year, once every two years, I have a dream of just seeing bubbles of water. It was a bad very moment," said Shapiro.

Shapira moved to Jacksonville at age 15 and attended The Bolles School, living in the dorm for two and a half years.

When he was a senior at Bolles, he competed in the 2008 Olympics and he competed again in the 2012 Olympics.

He no longer competes in swimming. He teaches it instead as the founder and owner of the Aqua Swim School.

"I build swim schools. We have a structure. We have a curriculum, that we can get a kid that is 2 months old all the way through adults. And we can teach them through engaging curriculum," said Shapiro.  

The grand opening of the Aqua Swim School was held Saturday. It's located at 3993 San Jose Park Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32217. For more information call, (904) 775-9400.     

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