When Jaime Batiz moved in down the road from Southwest YMCA, his passion for swimming rekindled. He now frequents the pool 2-3 times a week for lap swim and plays in the water with his children.

Watching grown-up Jaime speed up and down lap lanes, making the challenging butterfly stroke look easy, you’d never guess he was apprehensive about swimming as a child. “I got butterflies in my stomach every time my mom said, ‘It’s time to go for your swim lessons.’ I didn’t like the fact that I was going  to get wet and be in a swimsuit. At first I’d just try to stay afloat.”

As attempts to stay afloat transformed into swimming, Jaime developed a love for the sport. Through formal swimming instruction he refined his technique and became capable enough to consider swimming a challenging exercise.

His pressing schedule made swimming feel impossible for a few years, until he resolved to make swimming part of his exercise and self-care routine. Now a husband, father, and full-time employee, he’s busier than ever, but swimming remains a priority.

“I feel terrific when I’m able to come into the pool and put my thirty minutes in. I feel energized and my body is ready to go.”

What he describes sounds truly meditative, “Once you’re in the water, it’s just your breathing and your thoughts. Going back and forth gives me a chance to calm my thoughts, focus on my breathing, my technique, my strokes, and the rhythm.”

While swimming offers Jaime time to self-reflect, what keeps him coming back to Southwest YMCA is the sense of community. For Jaime, the Y is a place for the whole family to reconnect with each other. His wife enjoys their fitness classes and his children enjoy kids club, family programs, and of course, swimming lessons.

“Ever since [my kids] were babies, my wife and I discussed how to get them into the water. We take advantage of family time here at the Y.” Family time often means playing in the pool together, teaching the kids to feel comfortable in the water. “As soon as they were ready for lessons, my wife and I felt it was a priority because it’s a safety issue.”

Now that his kids are older, Jaime’s confident in their swimming abilities. He knows they are prepared to stay safe near water, letting him rest easy.

“Here in California, there’s tons of water around us — the ocean, the pools…. It’s a good idea to learn how to swim to be safe in that environment.”

If you’re inspired to learn water skills, stop by one of the many Y pools located throughout Silicon Valley. Consistent swimmers like Jaime enjoy seeing new people in the pool. “I really like to see people trying. I always encourage them to keep going. Just putting the effort in is great.”