RIVERVIEW — After moving to Florida with two young daughters and her then-husband in 2003, Katja Borosch considered swim lessons for her own children after they moved to a home with a pool.
However, the single-income family couldn't afford it.
"We put it off and she fell in when she was a year and a half old," Borosch said. "It wasn't anything dramatic where I found her because she was right by the steps and stood right back up, but it was enough where I said 'That's enough, they need to have swimming lessons.'"
Borosch quickly signed her daughters up for swim lessons and after observing, she realized her own experience of working in a daycare could help her start a business to instruct other children and toddlers how to swim.
Now Borosch runs Kinder Swim, an informative and thorough swim program right from her own back yard.
"I liked to work with kids. I enjoyed watching them accomplish things and teaching them," Borosch said. "And I figured it was something I could do from home, so that's when I started looking into becoming an instructor and getting certified."
It's a critical skill considering that Florida loses more children under age five to drowning than any other state. The state's Department of Health also notes that annually in Florida, enough children to fill three to four preschool classrooms drown and do not live to see their fifth birthday.
A number of instructors offer lessons. Borosch said what distinguishes her approach is stressing survival swim tactics to bring a more patient, gentle method of swim instruction to the SouthShore and Brandon area.
"It's not just survival and getting kids to the edge and teaching them how to float," Borosch explains. "It's an approach that combines the love for the water and making it more fun for them with the safety aspect. It's a more nurturing, more loving, calm approach instead of the rigid, military style."
Now instructing 30 students weekly as young as 6 months old, Borosch has been able to maintain her spotless reputation solely by word-of-mouth.
"I only advertised for probably the first three years," Borosch said. "There's such a high demand for swimming instruction in this area because there's so many kids here."
Kinder Swim's Facebook page is lined with five-star reviews of parents raving about how their child has learned invaluable lessons through Borosch's instruction.
Borosch believes her continued success is one-part student customization and one-part sticking to her gut when it comes to running Kinder Swim.
"It isn't a one-size fits all sort of thing. Every child has a different behavior around water and different set of needs, which is why I don't follow the idea of group classes," Borosch said.
As for her future and the future of Kinder Swim, she'd like to continue swim instruction, and perhaps travel with her business now that her two daughters are almost adults. However, she doubts she'll find anything as fulfilling as teaching lifesaving skills to those who need it.
"Every year I hear back from parents telling me they feel like the skills I taught their child saved their lives," Borosch said. "I still get chills when a child learns how to turn over and float by themselves, especially if they're happy when they do it. It makes it worth the hard work and the drama and all of the time I spend. It's all worth it."
Contact Kelsey Sunderland at email@example.com.