I can not tell you enough how pleased we are with Charlie’s swimming success!!It took such a short time for him to become so confidant of being in the water. Most of the time we have a hard time getting him out of the water! Charlie was afraid of the water where he could not touch and was wearing floaties at the end of May. He now loves to jump in the deep end, jump off of the starting block, and dive for toys under the water. Thank you so much for a wonderful experience. Your patience and love for children in combination with your swimming skills makes you an excellent program and coach!!
Thank you so much!!
Coach Rafael has taught both of my boys how to swim. My oldest son was a reluctant swimmer and we had tried swim lesson for him before without any luck. Coach Rafael made the boys feel very comfortable and they enjoyed the lessons. My husband and I are thrilled to see them swimming confidently and they are proud of themselves, too. Coach Rafael is a wonderful swim teacher and your child(ren) will have a great time while learning how to swim.
Coach Rafael gave our 4 year old son the skills to swim (strokes and kicks). He is the most patient teacher I’ve seen, and he really built a trust with him. Our son had a genuine fear of the water, and Coach Rafael respected his fear so that progress could be made- and it worked. Now we can’t get him out of the pool- before we couldn’t get him in the pool.
Coach Rafael- I wanted to update you on Wade’s progress. The end of May (Memorial Day) he was still apprehensive to get into the pool without some help (holding my hand etc). We were with a friend and she was jumping in and swimming to me- and I would let Wade have a turn- and if he didn’t go when it was his turn- I said “time’s up” and let the friend go- so the friend got about 3-4 turns in a row b/c Wade was still “scared” – he finally jumped in and swam to me.
The first time he stroked and kicked (no doggie paddle)- like you taught him- and we haven’t looked back since. He loves the pool – jumps in off the side and swims to the steps – tries to do flips in the water- he’s a totally different kid in the pool now!
You gave him the skills to do it and peer pressure got him over the mental hurdle. We are working on his “fear of the deep end.” But for now- he’s really enjoying the pool and you would not recognize him at the pool- no shakes or “hold my suit”
Coach: Cadena has been referred to as the “Kids whisperer of swimming”. This has absolutely been the case with my children. My 4 and 6 year old have had swimming lessons for the past two summers.
I saw improvement and thought these previous lessons were sufficient. After our first lesson with Coach: Cadena, I came to the quick realization that we had wasted our money and time the previous summers.
My children are excited to go to Mr. Cadena’s swim school, Alabama Swim School not hysterically crying as before. They also show marked improvement with each session.
My daughter would not even get her face wet in the bathtub. Now she is jumping in and swimming on her back the entire length of the pool. My son is now learning the butterfly stroke and swims the backstroke very confidently. Both kids have gone from barely getting near the water to actually wanting to be on a swim team!
This amazes me! I would recommend Mr. Cadena’s swim school to anyone who would like to learn to swim or improve on their existing skills. It is one of the best decisions we have made for our children.
I first met Coach Rafael (that is what we have always called him) in 2005 when my daughter and a group of her friends started taking lessons. She had just turned 5 years old and had taken lessons from another teacher the summer before with no results.
Two of the girls taking with my daughter didn’t even want to get their hair wet. Coach Rafael quickly got them past the fear and all were swimming within a short time. I lost track of him for a while, so my son Richard at the age of 4 had to take from another teacher. He had a terrible experience. I had resigned myself that he probably would never be a strong swimmer until I found out Coach Rafael was teaching again. My son was hesitant to go back to swimming lessons but after some tears, he got in the pool for his first lesson with Rafael. He did not cry once during his lesson, and I was amazed at how confident he seemed in the pool. I don’t know what Rafael does, but it is truly amazing. We may even think about swim team next year! I highly recommend Coach Rafael to anyone who wants a positive experience for their children in the pool.
“Coach Raphael is the best. Despite whatever handicap a child may have, Coach Raphael brings out a level of instruction that not only allows a child to feel comfortable in the water but also to have fun. His expert teaching ability gives the child confidence to do their best no matter the situation. Coach Raphael’s love of swimming is shown through constant praise, understanding, cheer and dedication. Every child is a winner in his eyes.” Thanks for everything!
My son has arthritis and his doctor mentioned that swimming is a great exercise for people with arthritis. My son also loves to be in the water, but lacked confidence in his swimming capabilities. My husband and I have both tried over the years to teach our son to swim, but he refused to learn from us. So, I decided that it was time for him to have lessons. Coach Rafael came highly recommended. After just a couple of lessons, my son gained enough confidence to swim in the deep end of the pool and to try swimming on his back, which is something he would never before try. His freestyle stroke is improving with every lesson and he is getting excited about racing. He tells us that he can’t wait for his next swim lesson.
Thank you Coach Rafael for opening up the world of swimming for my son!
Raphael, Here is my testimonial about swim lessons.
“As a family that lives in the pool all summer, we knew it was time for our daughter to learn how to swim. She had always been afraid of the water and insisted on wearing every floating device possible.
The first few months with Raphael were tough. He was always patient, calm and reassuring and afterwards he would tell me to keep coming, not to give up and that she would learn to swim.
My daughter starting waking up Monday mornings before school, crying that she didn’t want to swim. She would be at school crying that she didn’t want to swim. I had the teachers telling me that she didn’t want to swim! I finally told Raphael that enough was enough and we were stopping. In his very considerate way, he told me I was making a mistake and should not stop lessons because he knew she could swim. That night, my daughter and I came to a decision. Swimming was something she had to learn, not for fun but for her safety. We agreed that the second she learned how to swim (at least, be able to safely swim to the side of the pool) she could quit. What is so amazing is that after this conversation, I never heard a peep out of her. She started happily going to lessons, at first because she thought the faster she learned how to swim the sooner she could quit but, then because she loved going. She now goes to the pool early so that she can practice her strokes and stays after because it is so much fun. I can’t get her out of the pool! She has asked to continue her lessons next year and can’t wait to work on her butterfly stroke over the summer. Who knew that by the end of the year, my child could swim better than some of the kids on swim team! Thanks to Raphael’s patience and amazing connection he has with children, my daughter now swims with confidence.”
My daughter, Julia, was excited about learning to swim, and it was important to me that she have a good experience. I didn’t want swim lessons to be something she dreaded, or have it be a traumatic experience for her. I talked to several parents and teachers and expressed my thoughts to them and discussed the many different philosophies that teachers have about the best way to teach a child to swim. I knew what type of experience I wanted for Julia, and Coach Raphael fit my expectations perfectly. I have observed my daughter at every lesson, and I have the highest praise for Coach Raphael’s warm and caring interaction with Julia. I have watched her gain confidence under his guidance, and she is now able to jump into the water and swim to the side of the pool. Her little face tells me everything I need to know about how wonderful the past few months have been for her. I think Coach Raphael has the winning combination of being an excellent teacher as well as a most caring and understanding one. I can only hope that all children will benefit from a similar experience.
Ron and Kelly (Sharkboy’s parents) Birmingham, AL
Our son, who just turned 4 years old, has been taking swimming lessons from Coach Rafael for 4 months now. He began with no skills or strategies in the water and now can dive for underwater “treasures”, hold his breath in order to touch the bottom of the pool, and move his arms in “big circles” while swimming to someone or to the side of the pool. He does not panic in the water and always comes up smiling. We really think what made the difference was Coach Rafael’s patience and persistence with him. He immediately established a relationship of trustwith our son and, thererfore, was able to challenge him to improve his swimming skills. We’re sure our child will have many coaches in his life–we’re so happy and blessed that Rafael was his first coach! This experience has been both positive and rewarding for our son and for us!
Nancy Thomason Birmingham, AL
My older son was the reluctant swimmer. He would get in the pool, but he would not put his face under water, try to swim or jump into the pool. A friend of mine had children with the same situation, but one day at the pool. I saw them swimming and I could not believe it. She told me that they were taking swim lessons from Alabama Swim School. I am very proud of the improvement my son had made since taking swim lessons. He can swim free style, swim under water to pick up diving sticks and loves to jump into the pool. We are both looking forward to the pool opening this summer. I am so impressed with the swim instructor from Alabama Swim School, that I have signed my younger son up for lessons and I have recommended them to several friends with reluctant swimmers.
Elizabeth Birmingham, AL
The first time my three year old son met Coach Rafael he thought he had made a new best friend. Trust between student and coach is essential for a positive swim experience. Coach Rafael has patiently developed that trust with my son while teaching him to love swimming. My son quickly learned to put his face in the water, blow bubbles, and before we knew it, started swimming freestyle. Watching my son overcome his fear of the water inspired me to work on my swimming skills as well. I love the workout swimming gives me, and feel great about myself. My son and I are both proud of the progress we have made with Coach Rafael, and enthusiastically recommend the swim program to anyone who wants to learn to love swimming.
Andrea Duckery (Ethan’s Mother), Birmingham, AL
My child Ethan Duckery was 9 years old and was scared of the water. He had briefly been taught the swimming basics at another facility a few years back, but he was still very scared of the waterand could not swim. On this past June and July Ethan had private lessons with Coach Rafael every Tuesday and Thursday. Within only 1 month Ethan was swimming great in the entire pool even in the deep. It was truly amazing! Coach Rafael stated Ethan was the first student to learn how to swim in only 1 month. Ethan’s freestyle is so amazing a women at the center asked me if he was on the swim team. Coach Rafael is excellent at teaching children how to swim and my family recommends him with flying colors. My son Ethan loves the water now, and has the skills to be safe, thanks to Coach Rafael.
Ms. Brook Birmingham, AL
I have been so happy with the swim program. Alabama Swim School My goal for my two year old was simply making sure he could get to the side of the pool if he fell in. He has surpassed that by far! His instructor works with him at a pace comfortable for him while making sure he progresses. If we ever have to miss a swim lesson, my little boy is so disappointed. It is a great mixture of serious instruction and fun.
Susan Greene Birmingham, AL
I have watched Coach Raphael teach numerous kids to swim at the POOL, I have seen him take kids who are terrified of the water, and in just a few lessons, they are blowing bubbles and are comfortable in the pool. Coach Raphael is patient, kind and he’s extremely gifted when it comes to working with kids. I know you will be delighted with the instruction he gives your children!
Beth Birmingham, AL
Alabama Swim School, has been such a blessing! For over a year our son took both private and group swim-lessons from others and never learned to swim. We were disappointed with his lack of progress when a friend recommended. Within one month of swim-lessons with coach Rafael we noticed a difference. Thanks to Coach Rafael our son is now swimming with confidence.
He loves to come to swim-lessons! We would recommend (Alabama Swim School) to anyone that wanted their child to learn to swim. This program is by far the BEST!!!
I am so thankful for Coach Rafael! Our son is doing great and just loves swim…now! When we first started it was rough – our 19 month old cried on the way to swim, while there and didn’t turn it around until the car was leaving the JCC parking lot. His grandmother really had a hard time and asked why we were paying for our son’s water torture. Coach Rafael swore that all of a sudden there would be a turnaround point. We didn’t always believe him, but he was right and we are so glad we continued to have faith that it was the right decision to start swim lessons. Our son LOVES swim lessons. He is kicking and going under the water with such ease. He loves to tell you that he is the BEST swimmer and claps for himself after each lesson. When we first arrive at the JCC he now tells everyone Hi. It was an adjustment at first, but well worth it! Coach Rafael has the patience of a saint and we are so grateful we met him and have chosen him to teach our son to swim. THANK YOU, Coach Rafael!
I am truly amazed at the progress that the girls have made in just a few months of lessons! Coach Rafael has helped them overcome their fear of floating and swimming on their backs. He has increased their overall confidence in their ability to jump into the water and swim longer distances away from the side of the pool, or the “safe zone.” One of my girls has a speech delay, and he has been able to communicate with her very well, and ease any fears she had about “trying new things” and challenging herself in swim class. Twins tend to “cut up” sometimes, and he has been able to gain their respect and attention quickly. Our girls can’t wait until their Friday lesson comes each week:) I’ve already seen much progress when we take them on family trips to the beach and to other places that have pools, and it makes me feel better about taking them in the water. Thanks, Coach Rafael!
My 6 year old grandson, Owen, was visiting for a week Upon referral, we decided to schedule Owen with Coach Rafael for swim lessons. Owen was uncertain and scared upon arrival but immediately was at ease with Coach Rafael. Owen progressed rapidly and even passed the required YMCA swim test within the week. Coach Rafael has years of experience and really knows what he is doing.
I highly recommend his services.
Coach Rafael has been such a blessing to our family and especially my son. My son is on the Autism Spectrum. He, along with other kids who have ASD suffer with a lot of fear and anxiety in general. I chose Coach Rafael specifically because I knew he had worked with special needs kids. From the moment we started with Coach Rafael, there was an instant connection. Although my son, had such great fear and protested going to swim lessons at first, Coach Rafael was extremely encouraging and patient with my son. We’ve only been taking lessons for 2 months. My son has gone from fear of putting his face in the water to now swimming underwater. He now looks forward to going to swim lessons every week!
Rafael has worked with both of our kids. He worked exceptionally well with our oldest who is on the Autism Spectrum. Hey made it fun and enjoyable for him the entire time. Now it is one of his favorite activities. Our youngest, he taught to swim a few years back as well. Now he is once again working with her once a week to improve her strokes as she is swimming competitively, and she is absolutely loving it. If you want your kids to enjoy swimming, we would absolutly recommend him to you!!