Robert Strauss Receives Virginia Hunt Newman Award (VIDEO)

Robert Strauss
Photo Courtesy: JM STREINER

Professor Robert Strauss, M. Ed. has dedicated his professional career to aquatics. Through aquatic education, he has enriched the lives of babies, toddlers, school-age children, teens and adults, assisting them in discovering how to be safer and stronger swimmers. Coach Robert is well known for the development of instructional skills based on soft-touch and soft-voice; these skills have been taught to thousands of teachers around the world.

Coach Strauss and his life partner, Jennie, founded Swim Gym in 1984; re-inventing the swim school business in a warehouse. After several moves, in the fall of 2012, the Swim Gym Swim School opened its doors at the Galbut JCC in Miami Beach, its present home and only location.

Swim Gym is one of the Top 25 authorized providers of the American Red Cross in the South Florida Chapter, and includes certification of water safety instructors and life guards, as well as the learn to swim program, that teaches an average 500 children per week during the school year and approximately 1000 children per week during the summer camps.

Most educators teach their subject in a classroom; Coach Strauss teaches water wisdom in a warm water pool, and coaches in a semi-Olympic pool, fast swimming.

From 1979 to present, Strauss has contributed to learn to swim and competitive swimming conferences around the globe: México, his country of birth, numerous countries in South and Central America, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China & Iceland. He is a well sought-after speaker, as he is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and German.

Strauss’ vision, is that every person should have the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to safely enter and exit a body of water; he believes, the value is through the art form of swimming, people learn to pay attention, to share, to cooperate, to wait their turn, to become valuable team members, and most important be safe in, around and under water; his mission is ‘To eradicate drowning from our communities, through education’; his objective, is to assist all participants to discover swimming in order to find the joy and passion coupled to the benefits inherent to swimming in particular and water sports in general.

And lastly, his Goal: Everyone should be Water Wise.

The Virginia Hunt-Newman Award is sponsored by Kiefer

Virginia Hunt Newman

has been called “The Mother of Infant Swimming.” She pioneered and focused worldwide attention on the non-forceful, non-traumatic method of teaching infants and preschool-age children to swim, earning great respect as an innovator in the field. She began her swimming career at the Indianapolis Athletic Club. From 1940 to 1948 she was a diver for the Los Angeles Athletic Club, winning swimming and diving titles. She performed in water shows with Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe for the USO. In 1950, Virginia wrote and directed a series of springboard diving films while working as an aquatic director and swimming coach at the Black Fox Military Academy in Los Angeles.

In 1962, she gained international attention when her star student, Bing Crosby’s daughter Mary Frances, passed the Red Cross Beginner Test at age two – the youngest ever to be awarded the certificate. Red Cross Honorary Chairman Johnny Weissmuller presented the certificate to Mary Frances on national television, with coverage by “Life,” “Look” and “Time” magazines. This was the catalyst for Virginia to compile her methods of non-traumatic teaching in her 1967 book, Teaching an Infant to Swim, a bestseller published in England, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Japan.

Teaching Young Children to Swim and Dive was published in 1969. Its method of teaching swimming by distracting children from normal fears associated with learning has been emulated by thousands of instructors worldwide. Some of the thousands of children taught by Virginia include those of John Wayne, Bob Hope, Alan Ladd, Bob Newhart, Sonny & Cher, Shari Lewis, and Danny DeVito & Rhea Pearlman. She has conducted numerous national and world clinics and workshops on teaching children to swim.

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
d Scott
3 years ago

I knew Roberto in the mid-60s when he came up from Mexico and spent time training in Arizona with the Arizona Desert Rats under Coach Walt Schlueter and his wife, Nancy. A nice guy even that long ago! I’m happy to hear he has made such a valuable contribution to aquatics.