The core of the Michael Phelps Skill Center lies within its industry-leading curriculum - Michael Phelps Swimming. Our curriculum has been developed and enhanced over the course of 30 years. Michael Phelps Swimming (MPS) is a world-class curriculum of swim classes and clinics that include: learn-to-swim, personal safety, stroke development & refinement, elite coaching, water sports & games. The top priority of the Michael Phelps Swimming program is to ensure that each participant has an opportunity to achieve his or her goals.
Michael Phelps Swimming was originally launched under North Baltimore Swim School (NBSS) in the early 1980’s led by Cathy Bennett (formerly Lears). Bennett, who holds a Masters in early childhood development and education, developed a learn-to-swim program that focused on building comfort, confidence and a feeling for the water in each child. One of her first students was Michael Phelps, who at a young age did not like to get his face wet, so she first built his comfort and confidence in the water while on his back.
Founded in 1968, NBAC has been home to an impressive array of U.S. National Champions, World Champions, Olympic gold medalists and National Team Coaches, highlighted by Anita Nall, Beth Botsford, Katie Hoff, and Michael Phelps as well as Coaches Bob Bowman, Murray Stephens, and Paul Yetter. Over the course of its 45 year history, NBAC has helped develop and advance the careers of swimmers who have amassed 26 Olympic medals (19 Gold, 2 Silver, 5 Bronze), 16 World Records, and 35 American Records.
Michael Phelps and Coach Bob Bowman always shared more than an athlete-coach relationship; they maintained a mutual passion for swimming and commitment to help grow the sport. Over the years, the program has expanded and evolved to provide world-class swim instruction to swimmers of all ages and abilities. Today, Michael Phelps Swimming reaches more than 5,000 swimmers per year.
We believe that swim instruction is based on the motor skills of swimming: kicking, stroking, and rhythmic breathing. More importantly, we feel that our swimmers need to understand the properties of water - the how's and why's – to maximize their ability.
Our participants, in addition to learning personal safety, stroke technique, and rescue skills, also learn how we float, why we need to have certain body positions, why we breathe rhythmically, how we achieve balance in the water, and why we need to feel the water. The combination of teaching physical and mental concepts has made our program a success for nearly 30 years and ensures each participant has the opportunity to reach his or her goals in the water.
Our staff is what makes our program successful. We put a high priority on hiring the best and brightest employees, who consistently demonstrate enthusiasm for working with swimmers of all ages and abilities.
All instructors and coaches go through a custom Michael Phelps Swimming in-service training program. The program covers the philosophy behind the style of teaching, the fundamentals of the curriculum of each “level”, and tips on how to construct a creative lesson plan [around the curriculum].
We believe that each instructor should be given the frame work to follow, but allow them a certain freedom within that framework to be creative. This allows them to put a personal touch on each lesson and the flexibility to meet each participant’s individual needs.
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