With a new aquatics director hired, the Nantucket Community School announced on Friday that it would begin offering year-round swimming lessons for island children through the fifth grade.
James Voyages took the aquatics director position at the Community School in August, and is coming to the island from the Chelsea Piers Aquatic Club in Stamford, Conn. He succeeds Ry Murphy, who stepped down over the summer.
Voyages' hiring will allow the Community School to offer its "Learn to Swim" program for children ages six months through the fifth grade on a year-round basis, starting in November. Previously, the program had only been offered on a seasonal basis.
“Swimming is a life skill that requires continued practice,” Voyages said. “Many swimming techniques are not instinctual and take years of practice to understand. A year-round Learn to Swim program allows swimmers to progress. Continued access to practices and instruction is the best and fastest way to get a swimmer to become water safe, confident, and ready to take on the ocean.”
The Learn to Swim program is designed to help swimmers meet their individual needs and also serves as a feeder program for Nantucket Swimming, the Community School's competitive club swim team.
Beyond his work with the Chelsea Piers Aquatic Club, Voyages has worked with top NCAA athletes, including Olympic silver medalist Kate Douglass.
“Nantucket has been my home away from home since I was born, and my parents made the full time move to the island five years ago,” Voyages said. “Nantucket was the main reason I began competitive swimming in the first place at five years old, and as my own family grows, I look forward to raising my daughter on the island.”
Registration for the Learn to Swim program opens on Monday, October 31 at 9 a.m. on the Community School web site.
Disclosure: Nantucket Current editor Jason Graziadei is married to Nantucket Community School director Alicia Graziadei. The Nantucket Community School runs the Community Pool at NHS.