This summer Freedom Aquatics will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary. We would like to take this time to share the story with our new and existing members about how Freedom Aquatics came to be. Currently only Freedom Aquatics originals (swimmers who started with us from the first day) may remember this story…..
Freedom Aquatics was built on the foundation in place of the successful and proven swim program – Avantis Swimming Academy. Avantis was in its 6th successful year after being conceived through the passion and expertise of two entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs were also athletes and friends, one with strong experience and knowledge of training and developing children’s potential in swimming and the other with a strong background in business, self-development and motivation. The inspiration for Avantis SA came out of a desire to see children achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle that will lead them to be successful in every aspect of life.
The mission statement from the beginning was to only employ staff members that shared the belief that it is their mission and calling to develop a program where kids can train and develop their physical body to fulfill their swimming potential while being motivated to embrace challenges and have the confidence to become the best that they can be. The core principle of the program would and will always be an individual approach to every child -> student- athlete.
After compiling a well trained staff, the journey began with Avantis providing children with a unique 3 week sleepaway camp model for swimmers in 2009 in collaboration with Summer Universiade Medalist and 2008 Olympic Games Finalist – Svetlana Karpeeva then opening their first 6 week day camp focused on swimming and physical development in 2010. These programs continue to be available every summer from 2011 until 2015. In the summer of 2012, Coach Alex Protsenko joined the Academy and eventually became a Head Coach working along side with founders – Nikolay Shevchenko serving as an Athletic Director and Albert Finkelshteyn serving as Managing Director of the company.
In the summer of the same year, with the help of an Avantis supporter and friend, former JCC Aquatics Director – Claudia McLaughlin, Avantis Swimming Academy opened their first Technique Development and Learn to Swim program at the Staten Island Jewish Community Center. There was a huge demand for a Technique Development program by competitive swimmers from all over the NYC and nearby New Jersey townships. Since this initial program, Avantis Swimming Academy has been operating as a year round company serving all aquatics needs. Throughout this journey Avantis has provided swimmers of different levels and experience from 3 years old beginners to first time adults to seniors to helping Junior National, Sectionals, Zones, Senior Mets, Junior Olympics Champions and Qualifiers to get to the next level.
Since its inception there have been plenty of highlights. A few that really stand out and serves to characterize the devotion of the Avantis creators:
Beginning in 2012 Avantis provided children from low income families with scholarships for their Learn to Swim and Technique Development programs as well as full sessions of their day camp and a full week of Sleepaway Camp.
Interviewed and highlighted by NY1 and Staten Island Advance several times a year.
In January of 2015 , Avantis Swimming Academy shared a unique experience for Staten Island swimmers and swimming fans by organizing and hosting a special screening of the movie – “Touch the Wall” about Missy Franklin and Kara Lynn Joyce’s road to the 2012 Olympic Games exclusively for Avantis Swimming Academy Members and Richmond Aquatics Club of JCC of Staten Island.
In the spring of 2015, Avantis Swimming Academy organized their first training trip to the alma mater of numerous Olympic Swimmers (Caleb Dressel, Ryan Murphy, Joseph Schooling) by invitation of Olympic Coach, Sergio Lopez Miro.
In the Fall of 2015, Avantis Swimming Academy added another location on Staten Island at the On Your Mark facility. At the same time Freedom Aquatics was born and opened its doors to competitive swimmers at the Raritan Bay YMCA location. In September of 2015, Coach Sue and Coach Nikolay we’re named as Head Age group Coach and Head Coach respectively.
In 2016, Freedom Aquatics and Avantis Swimming Academy would be combined under the umbrella of Freedom Aquatics, becoming an all encompassing Aquatics program.