Faces of FOSS: Marlin Rothe

Marlin Rothe

Swim Teacher
St. Louis Park, MN

What is your favorite swim skill?:

Favorite skills to demonstrate are the dolphin kick and the backstroke. Favorite skills to teach are getting those eyes in voluntarily for the first time or perfecting the pancake flip – often some of the biggest hurdles along the swim path.

What is your favorite part of working for FOSS?:

The thing that keeps me coming back year after year is the feeling of making a difference in the lives of the swimmers and their families. Gaining the trust of the kids and seeing them take risks to learn new skills is really gratifying.

What is your favorite FOSS story?:
Since I’ve been here so long, my favorite story has happened several times. I love it when a parent stops me to say I was their child’s first Foss teacher. Often they say their kiddo still talks about Teacher Marlin or that they made so much progress in my class. It’s always a feel-good moment for me.
Runner-up favorite story: I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked if I am Jon Foss. I would be a very rich man!
What is your personal favorite water activity? Why?
Most of my vacations and especially my winter getaways involve the ocean. I love the opportunity to snorkel or play in the crashing waves. It’s a welcome opportunity to utilize my swimming ability and water-safety skills in the world’s biggest pool!
Tell a story about a student who experienced a major “lightbulb” moment when you were with them.
Augie was a 5-year-old Middle 1 with a deep-seated fear of water. I let him monkey walk back and forth to the island before we ever got on a barbell. I convinced him to let me zoom his face in to prove that nothing bad would happen. The big breakthrough came when he finally started to put this face in the water voluntarily. After weeks of hard work, Augie was pretty proud of himself. His parents were ecstatic! I was happy that the individual attention paid off and got him to the point he could join the other swimmers in his group class.

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