Friday, July 29, 2011


Imagine, Michael Trapp losing the engine power in his plane, survives the crash in the middle of Lake Huron – when what! Mr. Trapp survived hours in the water because he knew how to float on his back, paddle and treat water.
As the owner/instructor of a swimming company, swim swim swim I SAY, I ALWAYS explain that survival skills, such as floating on your back and treading water can save your life. Here is an example that no one can discount. So I ask all parents and swimmers to pay very close attention to what you/your child are learning when taking swimming lessons.
I will tell you from my experience, most adults and child don’t like at first the feeling of water in their ears when floating on their back. I talk to all my clients as we do a back float and explain, “You will get used to it and the way it feels. It will become like nothing.” I also get asked, “How can I get the water out?” Believe it or not, tilting your head to one side, lightly pulling on your ear and hopping up and down on one leg will do it. So you look silly for a moment but you will feel the water run right out. For more tips, please look at my blog on SWIMMER’S EAR found at, (bottom of the home page).
I prefer to teach treading water as my students begin to learn the freestyle stroke right after the back float. Treading water, at first, can be difficult; when you get the hang of it, you can make it a game for everyone. Seeing who can treat water the longest. If there are too many of your friends still hanging in, go for hands up in the air. That makes it very interesting.
For what happened to Mr. Trapp, both back floating and treading water saved his life besides his will to live. I ask all of you to please learn these survival skills Mr. Trapp did because we would not be writing a story such as this but a story on how he didn’t survive this accident. I want to wish Mr. Trapp a speeding recover. Also, thank him for his survival. You may say," that is strange."  Mr. Trapp has no idea what an impact he has make on the lives of so many people. He will help many learn how to swim and learn the survival skills that saved his life. Mr. Trapp, you have just help decrease the second leading cause of accidental death among children and the number of minorities that LOSE THEIR LIVES TO DROWNING EVERY SINGLE DAY! I thank you.
“your life in the water matters”
Agnes Davis

Saturday, July 2, 2011


With the hot weather here, the outdoor pools opened in NYC, swimmer’s ear unfortunately will be a factor for some kids and adults.
What is swimmer’s ear? Plain and simple- It is an infection of the outer ear canal caused by water or moister remaining after swimming, showers, hairsprays etc. The natural wax in your ear protects you but if you aggressively clean out to much of the wax, the water soften up the remaining wax. Now you have created the perfect moist environment for the bacteria to grow. You will have some discomfort to very bad pain. In addition, a fever, fluid drainage and a decrease in hearing due to the swollen canal as an extreme case may occur.
The best way to combat this problem is to take some preventive measures after swimming and showering.
·         Tilt your head to one side, GENTLY tug on your ear or hop up and down on one leg. You will feel the water move out of the ear. Yes, you may look funny and silly but it works!
·         Towel dry your ears
·         Keep your natural ear wax
·         If you do get the start of an infection, seek out medical advice. An old remedy is a drop of vinegar drops or half vinegar – half rubbing alcohol drops on a cotton Q-Tip into your ear. Please make sure you are lying down so the DROP can enter the ear.

Enjoy the summer and don’t forget the keep those ears dry. See you in the water!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Since the weather got warmer, the drowning of children has been in the news every week. The ages have varied but the outcome is still the same. Understand in no way am I making light of this serious situations but it frustrates me. Why? Drowning is a preventable death. Yes, preventable with swimming lessons and certain precautions. Most towns offer free swimming lessons all year around. If not, organizations like the Make a Splash Foundation have local providers that offer low cost swimming lessons /scholarships to students to take lessons (swim swim swim I SAY is a local provider).
A child/toddler on Saturday got away from its parents and drowned in a neighbor’s pool in New Jersey. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine what these parents are going through; my heart goes out to them. I truly hope they don’t blame themselves; this was an accident. We all know child move quick and get away from us in a blink of an eye.
Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental deaths of children. 40% of the drownings occur when children were supervised, 39 % happened with no supervision of an adult and 18% were blamed on a lapse of supervision. During the summer, three-quarter of the death take place in a child’s own back yard.
Please remember if you own a pool, have a pool close by or will be near a pool to take certain precautions.
·         A backyard pool should have at least a fence 4 foot high surrounding the pool with a self latching gate
·         Parents/caregivers need to watch children in, near or around water at all times- not socialize, read, sleep or drink.
·         Adults should know how to swim themselves and know CPR
·         Remove all ladders when a pool is not in use and store them away
·         Purchase a wrist alarm system for small children (alarms if the wrist gets wet) and have child wear them if they are around a pool or you have a pool in your back yard even if you are not using the pool that day. What is $200 when a child’s life can be saved
I ask anyone reading this to pass it on to anyone who has small children. Please help any parent not have to go through a tragic accident that can be prevented.
Be safe and see you in the water!


Most parents are so unaware that the popular portable, inflatable pools pose serious risk and danger to many children. Unfortunately more than 200 deaths of children under 12 are linked to a variety of above-ground pools. On average, one child drowns every five days in a portable above-ground pool.
Most individuals have no idea that child can drown in as little as 2 inches of water and only in a couple of minutes. In addition, very young children can drown in a 5 gallon bucket with only a few inches of water at the bottom. Children always need to be supervised when they are playing in or around a portable pool. Portable/ Kiddy Pools should be empty when not in use (every single time). Parents/caregivers need to watch children in, near or around water at all times- not socialize, read, sleep or drink.
I hope the above tips help reduce the fact that drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death of children. Please be safe this summer and see you in the water!


Believe it or not, last year the sunscreen industries profited 687.5 million dollars in sales. But last week, the FDA released the much anticipated changes to sunscreen products that will forever change this industry. In the past, the SPF # referred to UVB rays only and not UVA rays. Now science believes UVA is more harmful than first researched.
 Below is a quick lesson on understanding the sun’s harmful rays, sunscreens, and what to look for on the labels when purchasing sunscreens.
·         UVA- accounts for 95% of sun’s Ultraviolet Rays
o   Penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB
o   Dominant tanning rays
o   Contributes to and may even initiate the development of skin cancer and premature aging
o   Tanning beds emit primarily and increase melanoma risk by 75% in youths
·         UVB- in the past is what the SPF number referred to
o   Chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn
o   Most significant between 10 am and 4 pm from April to October in the United States
o   Does not penetrate glass
·         SPF- indicates how long it will take for UVB rays to redden skin when using a sunscreen
o   SPF of 15- 15 times longer to redden sun then without protection(screens out 93% UVB rays)
o   SPF of 30 – protects against 97%  of UVB rays
o   SPF of 50 – protects against 98%  of UVB rays
New changes to sunscreens are as follows:
·         No sunscreen is permitted to promote their product prevents skin cancer
·         Must clearly indicate if they protect you against UVA
·         If a label has “BROAD SPECTRUM” -  cleared by the FDA to protect against BOTH UVA and UVB
·         A Broad Spectrum and SPF of 15 and higher can claim to reduce skin cancer and premature aging but must be used as directed and with other protective measures
·         SPF between  2 – 14 and NO BROAD SPECTRUM – can only claim to help prevent sunburn
·         SPF levels- capped at 50 for now but higher are proposed.
·         Labels CAN NOT read waterproof,  sweat proof or sunblock
·         IF labeled WATER-RESISTANT-the label must indicate if effective for 40 or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating.
This is a list of what ingredients sunscreens should contain or have on the label to protect you against UVA and UVB rays:

·         SPF of 15 or higher
·         Broad Spectrum
·         Stabilized Avobenzone, Ecamsule(Mexoryl), Oxybenzone,Titanium Dioxide, and Zinc Oxide

Guidelines for sun protection:
·         Do not burn
·         Look for shade between 10am and 4 pm
·         Cover up with clothing and broad-brimmed hats
·         Use the new labeled broad-spectrum(UVA/UVB) , SPF of 15 or higher sunscreens
·         Apply 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.

I guess the government finally stopped us from believing we were protected when we truly weren’t very well protected at all. The proof of these changes in a positive direction will come when we see how the skin cancer rates are affected. Time, will be the true test! Have a great summer and be careful in the water.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I know anyone can write an article on any subject but what fascinates me is how a person that isn’t a true swimmer can tell you the true difference in swim caps. Yes, we can research a topic; until you actually wear each type of cap and test them out yourself, your first hand information can not be expressed.
Many of my clients have asked me over the years, “What cap is better to wear in the water?” I will give you the 411 on the three types of swimming caps (Latex, Silicone and Lycra) that are most widely used by swimmers.
Latex Caps
-          Made of rubber- Not for Latex Allergic swimmers
-          Less Expensive
-          Fits tightly/Stretches
-          Protects hair from damaging pool chemicals
-          Pulls your hair out
-          Easily ripped or damaged

Silicone Caps
-          Made of soft material
-          Moderate price
-          Slick so it must fit tightly
-          Protects hair from damaging pool chemicals
-          Unlikely to pull out your hair
-          More durable

Lycra Caps
-          Made of fabric- Bathing suit material
-          Most expensive
-          Looser fit/more comfortable
-          Hair will get wet- exposed to pool chemicals
-          Longer lifespan- Tearing is very rare/wear out before ripping.

I have worn all of the above caps throughout my swimming career. My thoughts on all three are as follows:

1)   Latex Caps- Don’t like Latex Caps at all!  You may ask, why such a strong opinion. All I can remember about wearing Latex Caps is my hair was pulled out all the time!  Thumbs down to this cap. Sorry Latex Cap industry. Hopefully I don’t end up like Oprah when she talked out against beef and ended up in Texas on trial. Naaaa. I’m no Oprah… least not yet!

2)   Silicone Caps- I like silicone caps because they don’t pull out your hair and they do keep your hair from the exposure to pool chemicals. But if you read my blog, OH MY HAIR”, you will be informed about the two hair care companies I recommend to all my swimmers so the pool chemicals don't hurt your hair.

3)   Lycra Caps- I wear only Lycra Caps.  Even though it does not keep my hair dry, the hair care products I recommend in my blog, “OH MY HAIR”, makes me not really be bothered. I have relaxed and medium length hair, swim often and the chemicals have not damaged my hair.

So you can see all three caps are made of different materials, act differently to the hair and perform differently in the water. Your preference, price point and comfort will determine what swimming cap works best for you. Hope this helps with your swim cap questions.

See you in water!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


OK. Now that you stopped shaking your head or laughing your probably wondering what am I talking about; I will explain. Well for all of us that swim, dry skin is a problem that haunts everyone on a daily basis. For Caucasians, dry skin is a problem but due to their complexion, no one can really can tell by looking unless you examine their skin up close. Now take a person with melanin in their skin, all you have to do is look and you see the dryness. Nothing ever has to be spoken, just look. The words "ashy skin" just pops in the person's head and linger in their thoughts like the smell of brussel sprouts being cooked and that scent just never goes away. Sorry I hate brussel sprouts and that smell. Yuk!!!!

All kidding aside, I have been asked by many what do I use after a long day of teaching or swimming to help my skin not look and feel so dry. I actually use 3 different products with very different price points. Let me say I have used everyone of these products and I truly feel they work the best. Imagine, I've always been told I have such soft skin and I do. But what puzzled me more was when a man would complement me about my skin in my head I would think " what kind women's skin have you been feeling-SANDPAPER?"

The first is a product made by Kiehl's called Creme de Corps. I was fortunate to have a friend, Bernie,  purchase a very nice gift for me for my 40th birthday with many products in this very large box. Thinking back that was the best gift, thanks Bernie. Kiehl's has some of the best products for all types of skin, hair, men, women, children and now pets. The cost is higher than most other moisturizers but the Creme de Corps is fabulous and last forever. The largest bottle with a pump cost $70/33.8 oz. A little goes a long way and as I stated before this product last a long time. No perfume smell and soft to the touch. This one is my favorite. If you purchase products from Kiehl's, they will ask you what other products would you like to try. They will give you samples so you can try new things out and see if you like it before purchasing a larger sized item. Great marketing! I like to use Creme de Corps after my evening shower but I also keep a sample size in my hand bag.

My second recommendation is a product I also used off and on for years, Cetaphil. This product is recommended by Dermatologist and Pediatricians. It may not have the bells and whistles of the other two products I discuss but it works. This product seems to lock in /seal in the moisture. Cetaphil has a full line of lotions, creams, cleansers etc. Just visit their web site and read about each product and how they are to work. For example, Cetaphil Cream is very similar to the Lotion except the Cream prevents the recurrence of dryness and is a long lasting moisturizer. I actually keep a large lotion in my locker at the hospital because after a long day of washing my hands, I need something to make my hands not feel like sandpaper. I found Cetaphil 16 oz lotion at Target for @ $8.99. Great product for a great price.

The third product to make my list is any Shea Souffle by Carol's Daughter. The 16oz jar retails for @ $30.  The product is smooth, thick, soft to the touch and very light. It penetrates the skin well without leaving you all greased up. Carol's Daughter offers a number of scents such as Ocean, Almond Cookie, Estasy and Groove. What's also great about this product is that Lisa Price, the founder of Carol's Daughter, is always coming out with new products and retiring some of the others. This keeps you loving her Shea Souffles because you can't get bored and their is always something new to try. I also feel this product, plus any of her other products for hair, feet, hands, etc. are well worth the money spent.
I hope this helps you navigate the vast world of moisturizers. These are my recommendations that have worked for me. Experiment and see what keeps your skin all moist and baby soft.

See you in the Water.