Come splash with us!

March 31, 2019

You can’t take yourself too seriously if you have a pink foam noodle under each foot and are balancing a kickboard on your head, while trying to cross the width of the pool. The woman next to me is making good strides and then a second later, she shrieks with laughter because her noodles are now airborne.

Lydia Schmierer, who teaches and coaches at Sussex Academy Aquatic Center, delights in creating lesson plans for both children and adults. 

But there are a few seniors in the pool for whom this class is a true accomplishment. 

Delores Dashiell has wanted to learn how to swim for 40 years and decided to set a goal for herself to learn before she turned 60. She has reached her goal at age 59.

“You are never to old to learn something new. Don’t let fear keep you from being your  best self!” Delores exclaims. “Searching for the right swimming instructor is vital for your journey. I feel blessed to have a instructor like Lydia who has a passion for  swimming. My life will never be the same now that I can swim.”

Fellow classmate Rhea, who boasts 68 years young, agrees. “Lydia is patient and kind, and explains everything thoroughly. She encourages me to challenge myself, but doesn't rush me to do more than I can.  The people in the classes are a joy to be around; there is much laughter, and no one judges anyone else for their skill level.”

Several couples attend aquatic classes every morning together. Tom says, “It’s something we can do together. It keeps us healthy, disciplined and we are done before lunch.” 

Linda and Jim Gaskill enjoy the Aqua Core class three mornings a week. Linda says, “In the last few years, I have tried other exercise classes and have ended up at the doctor’s office.” Her husband Jim agrees. “I chose aquatic exercise because it enables me to try some exercises I would not do on land due to arthritis. The class has become a community, helping each other and including new members.”

There is definitely a sense of community and sometimes some tomfoolery as Fred likes to splash the instructor occasionally. We wait for the teacher to sneak in a backsplash of her own. 

Lydia has been teaching and coaching for 40 years. “Kids and adults can fear the water. It’s lack of control. I move forward only when the student is comfortable, using guided discovery,” she says.

Rose Marie from Millsboro smiles as she does jumping jacks under water. “It’s good for my psyche, and it gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.” 

If you are interested in taking classes or lessons, contact Lydia A. Schmierer, the aquatics specialist, at or phone 302-856-7805. Or go to to view the classes offered for all ages. One free pass is yours, valid until April 30. 

Rhea promises, “You'll not regret your decision to join in the fun and reap the rewards of the positive effects on your body – increased stamina, flexibility, muscle tone. It's a phenomenal return on your dollar!”