Faces of FOSS: Michelle Lasserud

Michelle Lasserud
Site Director
St. Louis Park, MN

How long have you worked for FOSS?
11 years.

Can you tell us your favorite FOSS Story?
A little guy in one of my classes was known as a “pincher.” In other words, very nervous about everything to do with swimming lessons. We worked through his anxieties as the sessions went on. He came back to me after Safety Day last spring and told me that he had fallen off the dock near Grand Marais and into Lake Superior. (COLD!!!) Despite his previous anxieties, he knew to float on his back and swim back to safety. Mom and I were stunned (and so happy) that he had retained and used those skills in a moment of panic.

What is your favorite level to teach and why?
I love teaching Little 2. It’s incredible to watch kiddos go from fear of water (from Little 1) to swimming independently. The parents’ faces light up when they reach this milestone.

What is your favorite skill to teach?
Butterfly. Parents finally see their child as a “swimmer” and kids think it’s cool.

Can you recount a student of yours who experienced a breakthrough when you were with them?
Recently, a student of mine started in Little 2 with me. She came to swimming nervous and tearful. She brought a favorite toy from home to comfort her. Within a few weeks, she went from sitting shyly on the top step and holding on tight to swimming by herself! She is now ready for Little 3 and we couldn’t be more proud of her. Mom thinks the world of our ability to connect with her shy kiddos.

What is your favorite swim lesson activity to do with kids and why?
Swimming underwater! It teaches them so much about confidence, breath control, and feeling 100% comfortable in the water. We love to pretend we are mermaids, sharks and dolphins swimming through the ocean.

What are you proud of in your own swimming history?
I swam the Wisconsin State Swim Meet several years in a row and had my best times between 12 and 13 years old. The 50-yard freestyle was my best event.

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