• Leila Thomas

The Making of Hamptons Swim

In 2020 I left New York City to come teach with Liz Parry. She founded Hamptons Swim in 2001 and I’ve been so excited to be a part of it. Many of our students already know Liz as their playful, energetic swim instructor. It’s been the same for me. Working with Liz and learning her story has been so exciting and I love sharing her insights with students. Before there was Hamptons Swim, it was just Liz, teaching small classes here on the island.

Her family has been in the Hamptons for three generations. She spent summers on the boat with her dad, tubing and fishing in Peconic bay, or sailing to Connecticut. She loved the water and all things aquatic. If she wasn’t on the boat she was in the pool.

Liz started working as a lifeguard on Long Beach. She remembers one of the first times she acted to save a swimmer. “It was scary. We had to think quickly.” A boy was wading with his mother. The surface of the bay was up over his waist and she didn’t notice it when he tripped. He was underwater. Liz and another lifeguard dove in and brought him to safety. Liz was seventeen. After she got her Ocean Certification, she started keeping swimmers safe in the post-hurricane August swells of Flying Point and Sagg Main.

Liz went to Gordon College in the Boston area. She didn’t even know how to do a flip turn, when she walked-on to the swim team. By the time she graduated, Liz was one of Gordon’s team captains and made it to the New England Championships.

After graduating from Gordon, Liz got her Masters in Special Education in San Diego. She put those skills to the test in Vietnam, coaching an international swim team in Ho Chi Minh City. They competed throughout southeast Asia, including Bangkok, and Taipei.

Liz perfected her play-based method of teaching in Manhattan where she helped start Bridge Community Playschool. At Hamptons Swim it was so successful that she couldn't keep up with the demand. Now she passes that method down to instructors like me.

Liz has high standards for Hamptons Swim instructors. They are all qualified, professional, and most importantly fun! Each of us are certified educators and experienced swimmers who want to share our love of the water.

It’s hard for Liz to stop teaching in the pool. But she is gradually moving into her new role as a team leader, helping her instructors master the art of multi-sensory teaching, mindset growth and play-based practices. It’s easy; she’s already a great teacher.

Hamptons Swim students succeed so quickly because Liz equips her instructors with the best possible tools to teach students of all ages. Whether you’re interested in individual or group sessions, online or in-person, Hamptons Swim is proud to offer exciting, customized, developmentally aligned lessons based on the unique needs of each child. Interested to learn more about lessons or join the Hamptons Swim team? Contact us now to be a part of the Hamptons Swim community!