This post is by Jeff Kaczrowski, Assistant Director, Graduate Business Alumni

Larissa Rodriguez, MBA ’11, created a personal incentive for completing the Evening UST MBA in the spring of 2011—a trip of a lifetime to Tahiti. But there was one catch: there are lots of beaches in Tahiti, and she had never learned to swim.

In preparation for her trip, Rodriguez began researching options to take swimming lessons. She quickly realized as an adult swimming student, options were few and far between, though 30-50% of U.S. adults haven’t learned to swim. Every day, 10 people in the U.S. are drowning victims, and of those, 70% are adults. Rodriguez did not want other adult learners to face the same obstacles in learning to swim.

And so was born Swimmunity—Larissa’s solution to help change these statistics. Swimmunity provides an interactive community to help others begin their journey of learning how to swim, with ample resources and inspiration from experts in the pool, to real stories just like Larissa’s.

Swimmunity has been so successful that Larissa was recently honored by Aquatics International as one of the Power 25 standout leaders in the aquatics industry.

“I’m trying to create awareness,” she says. “Everything is geared toward children, and that’s turning off a lot of adults because they don’t see themselves swimming. Let’s change some of the marketing and segment it so we can change that.”

To that end, she’s connecting with leaders in the aquatics industry, including USA Swimming, and hoping that her unique perspective will continue to attract attention.

Eventually, Larissa took a leap of faith and enrolled in the Foss Swim School. She successfully learned the four major strokes in time to enjoy all sorts of water activities on her trip, including jet skiing and swimming with the sharks.

If you are interested in taking the plunge, and learning how to swim, you are not alone – check out the community at Swimmunity.

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