"Dream until your dream comes true"
International Swimming Academy (ISA) was set-up by Miguel Jerez and Silvia Garcia, with the passion to teach as many children as possible to become safe, confident and independent swimmers.
In 1986, a child with a dream...
It all started after a 5-year-old child, Miguel was diagnosed with a rare skin condition that he had suffered from since birth, the Doctor’s recommendation was a daily sea bath. Angeles and Julian (his parents) didn’t think twice about taking the whole family of 4 children to the east coast of Spain in Murcia. The skin condition healed and Miguel was left with a love of the water. Back in Madrid where the family lived, Miguel pleaded with his parents to find a swimming school where he could develop more formal swimming skills.
As Miguel had learned to swim by 6 years old, his swim coach didn’t take long to appreciate his natural talent in the water, supporting him to become a competitive swimmer competing in national events. His favourite and strongest swimming stroke was Breaststroke.
In 2005, keeping people safe
Later in his early twenties, Miguel qualified as a lifeguard. He moved to Barcelona to work as a beach lifeguard to help people to stay safe in the sea during the summer months and in indoor pools during the winter months. It was during this period when he realised that the best way to reduce the number of aquatic accidents would be teaching people how to be really safe in the water.
From 2006 Miguel started to teach swimming in different swimming schools and more competitive swimming clubs such as the Piscines Bernat Picornell and the Club Sportiu Mediterrani, both in Barcelona.
It’s safe to say that Miguel has lived his life around water!
In 2012, a new adventure begins...
In 2012, Miguel and his girlfriend Silvia, with a desire for adventure and growth moved to the UK without knowing the language and with a little money saved. They spent a month in Bristol where Miguel, inspired by his successful career in Spain, undertook a lifeguard course. It was later, in London, where he became a swimming instructor, teaching for well-known private swimming programmes such as the swimming school at Virgin Active Notting Hill, and teaching some government school swimming programmes, including teaching children from schools at the Marshall Leisure Centre in Central London.
Struggling with the language at first, he developed a powerful tool, the ability to connect with children on a deeper level using a combination of discipline and a friendly and funny approach to guide his students to reach their full potential in a very short period of time. This is why Miguel’s results stood out, and he then began helping one of the private swimming schools where he was a regular teacher to improve their methodology following his results.
The other piece of the puzzle
Growing up, Silvia lived a life close to the water during the summertime in Spain. She began swimming lessons at 4 years old and continued attending until she was 14.
After graduating with an art history degree, a master’s in heritage conservation and a teaching qualification, she spent most of her life feeling lost. While living in London, she found herself with a choice to make; keep feeling lost and unhappy, trapped in a life without a real purpose, stuck in jobs that she didn’t like, or follow Miguel’s idea to put Silvia’s communication and teaching skills and experience to good use, and become a swimming instructor. They both felt that she would live a happier and more fulfilling life with a true intention of improving people’s lives.
It was only then that she trained as a swimming instructor and realised how much she enjoyed doing something that could impact a life forever. But there was still something missing in her lessons because her student’s parents were sharing stories with her about how stressful holidays were due to their fear for their children’s’ safety in the sea and swimming pools. It was then that she found out that drowning was the third highest cause of accidental death in young children all around the world.
A natural scholar with a drive to succeed, she felt that there had to be a more effective way to teach than the conventional methods. After researching many Swimming Instructor courses from all around the world teaching different methods, she found one that she felt had elements of the methodology that could give the answers she was looking for.
In 2014, a swimming school was born
Miguel founded his own Swim School, Quality Swim renting a hotel pool in Bayswater, West London, which was then rebranded as The International Swimming Academy in 2016 after he and Silvia spent a month in the USA studying survival swimming techniques in 2015. The beginning was not an easy task for them as they were combining their other swimming instructor jobs with walking around London, giving out leaflets to find new customers who would trust them. They were giving their first lessons for free and using their own money to pay the pool hire. But news of their fast and high-quality delivery and results when it came to teaching children how to be safe and swim rapidly spread through word of mouth…
Together they set out to incorporate this newly learnt method with other successful teaching methods to create the International Swimming Academy programme. Partners in life since 2000 and partners in business, together they have taken International Swimming Academy from strength to strength, always working to give their customers the very best lessons around!
In 2017, sharing their water knowledge abroad
Miguel took the International Swimming Academy to Kenya, taking a pool with him. It was a mission alongside H-Giving to educate people about water safety. Not many people are aware, but drowning is a huge problem in Kenya – with an estimated 40 people drowning every hour – 50% of those are under the age of 25. He taught around 30 children to turn and float in just 10 days.
But Silvia and Miguel’s passion for helping people to overcome their fear of water went beyond their local swimming school and they took every opportunity during their holidays to help children with basic swimming skills.
Silvia and Miguel have been delivering International Swimming Academy’s Qualified Instructor Training in Spain each year since 2017, having previously taught Instructor Xavi the ISA method in 2015. Both Silvia and Miguel have led ISA seminars for other Swimming Schools and Instructors to educate them on alternative and more effective ways of teaching families water safety.
Through the lessons and swimming Galas, ISA has proven that it is possible for children as young as 4 months old to float by themselves, are able to demonstrate ISA’s Key Sequence kick-float-kick for 8 metres at just 2.5 years and 4-year-olds are able to swim at least three of the traditional swimming strokes. Most of the swimming programmes around the world say that it is only when a child is 4 years old that they can start to learn a more formal technique. Our swimmers are proving this to be wrong.
Their ultimate goal is to lead the swim safety revolution and have all children learn the basic water safety and swimming skills to allow them to fully enjoy the water, as safely as possible.
They would love to see how their programme could be part of the national school curriculum after listening to the problems the parents face when they move out of London and they have to find a new swimming school with similar standards.