The urging of friends led Farragut resident Kim Wiebe to start her own business, Swim with Kim.
With the business, Wiebe is a swim instructor, coach and aquatics personal trainer for children and adults at Tellico Village Wellness Center in Loudon County.
She offers swim team group lessons for children wanting to learn competitive swimming and pre-competitive swim team group lessons for children ages 5 and older who have never done swim team — but want to get into it.
“I work with them on all four of the competitive strokes and developing good techniques,” Wiebe said.
She also has competitive groups for children ages 7 to 17 who already have at least one year of swim team behind them, and beginner classes for students starting at age 2.
“Most children don’t start learning to swim until between the ages of 2 ½ and 5,” Wiebe said. “They don’t have the body awareness or the balance needed to swim independently until they are those ages.
“But parents can work with their children to get them comfortable with the water,” she added.
Wiebe also teaches adults of all different abilities.
“I am currently teaching an 84-year-old man who I’ve worked with for the past three years,” she said. “Before he came to me, he couldn’t swim at all. Now, he’s swimming 20 to 24 laps of freestyle and backstroke.”
In addition to beginner adults, she also works with triathletes and offers hour-long aquatic personal training.
Wiebe started Swim with Kim in 2008, but she always has been a swimmer and helped youths.
“My kids, at that time [in 2008], were doing swim team, so a friend of mine just asked if she could pay me to formally give her kids lessons, and that’s when it all started,” she said. “People knew my background and started asking me more and more about it, and I just kind of expanded as word of mouth spread and my children got older and I was able to devote more time to it.”
Wiebe’s swimming background goes back beyond 2008, however.
She remembered giving lessons when she was a lifeguard during the summer in high school.
Before that, Wiebe, a Michigan native, started swimming competitively at age 9. Once she got into high school, she became more serious with her swimming.
“I went through [West Bloomfield High School] and got a college scholarship to swim at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio,” Wiebe recalled.
After her freshman year in college, she qualified for the Olympic Trials and trained for the 50-meter freestyle division to make the team for the 1988 Olympics, which took place in Seoul, South Korea.
Though Wiebe did not make the Olympics, “It was just an honor to be there and compete,” she said.
“I got to rub shoulders with the swimmers who did make the Olympic team,” Wiebe added. “The summer before the Olympic trials, I got to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. It was just an intense time of swimming.”
After the Olympic Trials, Wiebe returned to Miami University, where she swam for her college for three more years and won the conference championship in the 50-freestyle and 100-freestyle. She also won third place in the conference in the 100 -butterfly. Those wins qualified her to go to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I championship meet.
Wiebe graduated with a degree in interior design and moved to Birmingham, Alabama, to start her first job with Parisian [department store].
A job transfer brought her to Farragut, and a subsequent contract with Tellico Village Wellness Center provided her pool space for lessons.
As years went on, she passed on her love for swimming to her children.
“After we moved here [from Birmingham] in 2000, and my kids started getting more into swimming, I got back into it,” she said. “I probably started teaching informally maybe in 2005.”
As the instructions started growing, Wiebe realized she needed to “make it more of a business.
“I realized there was more of a need for that,” she added. “I started doing [lessons] part time to make a little extra money, and it has grown into a full-time business.”
Wiebe may be contacted from 1 to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, by calling 865-661-7365, by e-mailing her at email@example.com or going online at http:riptides.swim.team.us