Faces of FOSS: Jacob Vaas
South Barrington, IL
How long have you worked for FOSS?
I started in January 2018 – a little over a year now!
What is your favorite FOSS story?
I was teaching a Little 2 who was swimming really well, and I liked to tell her she was doing perfect throughout the class. A few weeks in to the session, her mum told me that for the last few weeks Ariana had been saying “Puhhhfect” all around the house and she couldn’t figure out why she was saying “perfect” so weirdly. Turns out she was copying my English accent!
What is your favorite level to teach and why?
I love teaching Middles, especially Middle 4’s because they’re just starting to really learn the tougher strokes, and they’re often still really silly and imaginative which helps make the classes and learning the skills really fun for them!
What are some of your favorite activities to do with swimmers?
I love teaching kiddos pizza arms, because 9 times out of 10 you’ll see them actually “eating their pizza” under the water and it’s super cute. I also love making waves with the big blue mats at the end of class and having the kiddos swim over it. Not only is this a really fun treat for the kids after practicing all their skills, this also helps them become stronger swimmers and could help them in really dangerous situations later in life!
Can you share a favorite breakthrough moment you observed in a swimmer?
I can remember one swimmer who began the quarter terrified of the water, as I continued to encourage her, her confidence soared and she began putting her eyes in and doing her Tiger Paddles independently. The first time she did it alone I couldn’t have been happier for her, neither could her mum and dad! We all cheered and she got a big cannonball for doing so well! By the end of the quarter, she couldn’t wait to come swimming!
What was your relationship with water and swimming growing up?
As a child growing up, I was never taught how to swim correctly, therefore I had a pretty big fear of being in swimming pools, particularly deep pools. I didn’t learn how to swim correctly until I went through the training process with Jon Foss and am so thankful I did! I can now swim all four strokes, which is something I never thought I would be able to accomplish!