Meet Tessa Rhodes

I help children of all ages to develop a love of the water. I teach to respect it, not fear it.

I started my career working with children in 2005. Before I became a certified American Red Cross WSI (water safety instructor), I was a drama and gymnastics coach. Of the three, swimming is by far and away, my most favorite to teach, and it happens to be the most rewarding. As I see the progress my students make, I can't help but just love what I do.

I opened my swim school, Desert Aquaventures, in 2013 from my home in the Palm Springs area, in California. Today, I am fortunate enough to have a thriving business with a full roster and a waitlist.

I also belong to an ongoing professional development academy that allows me to continue to enhance my skills and pass on my knowledge to my students who, by the way, are benefiting greatly and becoming very confident in the water.

Whether you're a parent or a swim instructor or in search of training to become one, you're in the right place. I am excited to share my knowledge with you.
swim instructor training online
Watch Intro Video

What you will learn

I will show you how to teach your children to love and respect the water. As they progress through the program and become independently mobile, you'll see their confidence skyrocket. Before you know it, they will rule the pool with their newly acquired skill set.

LESSON PLANS

One unique lesson provided for each week of the program

I have done the work for you. Using a building block approach, I created a curriculum that meets the needs of the child's age and developmental stages.

A great deal of thought and careful consideration went into the planning of each lesson. You may use these to conduct your classes or easily create your own with the template that I have provided to meet your specific needs.

What Parents Are Saying

on Social Media & Review Sites

Tessa is truly a miracle worker!

Andrea M.

Tessa is truly a miracle worker! In a matter of only 4 lessons my sons are now not only comfortable in the water, but love to swim and look forward to going to their lessons with Tessa. We've struggled for years with other programs & teachers to get my 7 y/o swimming and have had no success; now he's thriving under Tessa's instruction. And my 4 y/o is quite busy, and has an incredibly difficult time focusing, but Tessa knew from the moment she started class exactly how to get through to him and he's made far more progress than I could've ever hoped. We're amazed by her teaching abilities and so grateful for Tessa!

Tessa is the most patient...

Erika M.

Tessa is the most patient, kind, flexible, thorough, and knowledgeable swim instructor you can ask for. I enrolled my son in private lessons when he was 14 months old and he has excelled in the 3 months he has been a student. Tessa was extremely patient during times when my son wasn't quite cooperating (translation: screaming his head off) and was very quick to find another way to teach her lessons in an engaging and relaxing and fun manner. She is very adaptable to my child's interests during class and doesn't force certain things that he may not be interested in at the moment. She has plenty of teaching tools and my son loves her songs

Tessa is an amazing teacher...

Angelina P.

Tessa is an amazing teacher. She is very patient and really good at motivating her students. We couldn't be happier. We brought our 2 and 4 year old in January. Our 2 year old is now swimming at preschool level and our now 5 year old is swimming level 3. We couldn't be happier.

I'm impressed...

Anna M.

After only 7 lessons, my daughter has learned how to dive down for objects, float for a short time on her back, "monkey crawl" on the edge of the pool, water safety, and is working on swimming! Tessa is one of the most calming, caring swim instructors I have seen. She's very patient with my 2-year-old. My daughter asks to go to swim school almost every day. I'm impressed that she not only works on swim instruction through fun water games etc., but Tessa also covers all the basics of water safety at a level my daughter can understand.

Tessa is amazing!

Crystal R.

Tessa is amazing! My granddaughter is learning to swim in record time. The pool area is indoors. Truly an oasis in the desert. 100% worth every penny. The one on one experience is a must for learning to be comfortable in the pool. I highly recommend her. We will be long time clients.

She is extremely patient...

Barb W.

We tried several swim teachers and programs in the area before finding Tessa. In a short two months, our sons swim ability has improved greatly. She is extremely patient and makes the lessons fun and relevant to my sons age(5) and abilities. The indoor pool means that we can continue year round. Great find!

Would recommend highly...

Tim S.

Tessa is super patient with my stubborn 5 year old. He has made so much progress here. Faculty is indoors which is awesome. No need to apply sunblock! Would recommend highly.

Swimming under water in record time.

Rhonda C.

Tessa had our granddaughter in the water kicking and swimming under water in record time. She can't wait to go back for her next lesson.

Tessa is incredible...

Monique C.

We went with Desert Aqua-ventures to teach our 2yr old daughter to swim. Tessa is incredible and super patient with the kids. I wouldn't go to anyone else; very reasonably priced private lessons in an indoor heated pool which is the perfect atmosphere for the kids to learn.

Love Tessa!!

Jacqueline S.

Love Tessa!! My son is 2 years old and can be stubborn at times and she is super patient and a great teacher!It's indoor which can be a plus in the desert heat.

Here's What You'll Get

Each course is broken down into easily digestible bite-sized chunks. The structure follows a natural order and provides you with everything you need to teach children to swim, including but not limited to...

  • Prepared lesson plans. You will also have access to a lesson plan template if you want to create your own.

  • Skills at a glance PDF for easy lesson planning.

  • Clearly written instructions. Each skill is broken down into an easy to follow step by step guide.

  • Video tutorials with demonstrations of each skill captured from actual classes.

  • A video library of songs. Each video tutorial shows you exactly how to present the songs in your classes.

  • A quiz is presented at the end of each unit to test your knowledge.

  • Certificate of completion and Online Swim Academy member badges for your website(s) and other platforms.

  • List of equipment. A complete inventory of every item required and links for easy access.

  • Support. Got a question? Just ask via email or in our private Facebook group student community.

  • More curriculum coming...

Subscribe to the newsletter

You'll be among the first to know when a new course has been added to the Online Swim Academy.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you help a baby/toddler overcome the fear of water? My son is now terrified when we have to rinse shampoo off his hair.

    Newborn babies have no fear of water. It is at 6 or 7 months that many babies first encounter fear.

    When you pour the water over his head, make sure that you remain calm so that your baby stays calm. If he cries, stop and distract him with toys and songs. Once he's happy again, try to pour the water over his head again or wait for the next bathtime.

    When you pour the water, start with only about 2 seconds worth of water. If he ingests water, which is unlikely since the water pours down from the top of the head, remain calm. It doesn't harm your baby. Your baby looks to you for social referencing. If you stay calm, he will remain calm.

  • How do you help children feel comfortable to let go of you if all they want is to be in your arms?

    Don't force them to do anything they don't want to do. Stay in very shallow water where they feel in control.

    When you bring him to the pool, play with him in shallow water where he can sit, stand, and crawl. Use toys to motivate him to crawl to and distract him if needed.

    Also, use this time to get him comfy with water on the face. You can demonstrate pouring water over your head and have fun with it. Then pour it over his head and praise him with lots of cheering and clapping every time you do it.

  • What is the best age to start swim lessons?

    Start with bathtub swim lessons from the day you bring your baby home from the hospital. A newborn recently emerged from a comfy place of residence, submerged in liquid for nine months.

    Maintain that level of comfort that your baby already feels around water. To do this, pour water over his head during every bath. For more details on this, check out the free course entitled, How to Prepare Your Baby for Swim Lessons 0 to 8 Months.

  • What are the signs of dry drowning? How do we, as parents, know how much water is too much?

    Dry drowning and secondary drowning, which is also sometimes referred to as delayed drowning, are not accepted medical terms. Here're the facts.

    Hyponatremia AKA water intoxication. Wikipedia states hyponatremia or water intoxication results when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is pushed outside safe limits by excessive water intake.

    It takes a lot of water for hyponatremia to be fatal. This condition is scarce, but if your baby swallows a large amount of water (8 ounces or more), it can lead to Hyponatremia.

    It’s doubtful that your baby would accidentally swallow anywhere near eight ounces or more of pool water during a swimming lesson or at bathtime.

    So, the likelihood of your little one ending up with hyponatremia is very scarce. But in the off chance that your baby swallows a large amount of water (which is unlikely), it can lead to Hyponatremia.

    The symptoms of Hyponatremia are vomiting, dizziness, lethargy, confusion, behavioral changes, completely clear urine, and swelling of the face, arms, or legs. If your baby shows these signs, seek medical attention immediately.

    And the other medical condition is known as aspiration pneumonia. Dr. Peter Wernicki, member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council explains that "it's an infection that develops from water trapped in the lungs. But that isn’t drowning. It’s a rare condition. And a child with it would show symptoms, including coughing and labored breathing many hours after leaving the water, and parents would know something was wrong."

    It’s Been So Blown Out of Proportion. So now we believe that anytime a child inhales or swallows a little bit of pool water that it's life-threatening. It's not the case. If your baby ingests or drinks a little bit of water unintentionally, there's no reason to concern yourself.

    Remember, it’s only if the coughing lasts for hours and is accompanied by labored breathing that you would have reason to be concerned.

  • Can babies swim naturally?

    Short answer. No. You might think they can because most babies, not all, are born with a diving reflex commonly referred to as the mammalian diving reflex or diving response.

    The mammalian diving reflex enables Babies to hold their breath when submerged underwater instinctively. ⚠️ Warning: Don’t dunk your baby without knowing how to condition them to hold their breath on command.

    It optimizes respiration by preferentially distributing oxygen stores to the heart and brain, enabling submersion for an extended time. - Wikipedia

    The diving reflex disappears at around six months of age. And just because most babies, not all, have this reflex, doesn't make it okay to submerge them before they've learned how to hold their breath by way of conditioning.

    Many swim schools teach parents to blow in the baby's face just before submerging them. Blowing in the face stimulates the trigeminal nerve, which causes the baby to hold their breath involuntarily.

    However, this method is harmful for two reasons. First of all, that's how we spread germs. Especially in the middle of a pandemic, which is the current situation as I write this sentence.

    Secondly, if you submerge a baby after blowing in their face, you are essentially forcing them under the water. And forcing a baby to do what you want them to do should never be part of teaching babies how to swim.

    The best alternative is to take the time to teach your baby to hold their breath on a verbal command. With this method of conditioning, your baby will build confidence and develop a love of the water—our primary goals.

  • When can I submerge my baby in water? How will I know he's ready?

    First, you will condition your baby to hold his breath. This process takes a few weeks of regular practice. You will know when your baby is holding his breath because he will close his eyes on the verbal command, "name, ready, go." When he closes his eyes, that means he's holding his breath. He'll be ready for submersions when he can hold his breath on command for 5 seconds.

    For more details on this, check out the free course entitled, How to Prepare Your Baby for Swim Lessons 0 to 8 Months.

  • What is the best swim diaper for babies?

    You'll want to get TrustyTrunks. Copy and paste the affiliate link into your web browser. https://trustytrunks.com/?ref=CFOLDHorfV2V

    They are the only leakproof swim diaper solution claiming to contain both solids and liquids. No other swim diaper on the market is leakproof.

    Also, other swim diapers on the market can't guarantee to trap 100% of solid waste, so It often winds up in the pool. TrustyTrunks are meant to be worn over a regular cloth or disposable diaper.