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Each instructor at Lil' Guppies is handpicked for their experience and passion for teaching kids how to swim. We maintain a fun and safe learning environment in which every child can thrive in. Meet our certified Los Angeles instructors below and get ready to make a splash.

 

Lil’ Guppies LA is a mobile swim school only; therefore participants must have a pool/access to one.

Los Angeles Instructors

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Amy Diamond
Owner & Lead Instructor

Amy is the owner and lead instructor for Lil' Guppies Swim School.  Amy grew up on the East Coast and fell in love with the water at a very young age. She was always the first one in the pool and the last one out!  Amy swam competitively from age 8 through college. She competed in butterfly, backstroke, the IM, and freestyle relays and still enjoys swimming on Masters club teams. Amy has always loved working with children so it was a perfect combination of passions to start teaching swim lessons at the young age of 15.  Amy has taught lessons for over 25 years and has lifeguarded and coached age group swim teams on both the East and West Coasts. She started Lil' Guppies Swim School in 2006 in Los Angeles, and recently upon relocating in 2020, has established a branch of the school in Sarasota, FL!  Amy is also an acupuncturist, children's book author, and mom to two boys, ages 12 and 6. They are the original lil' guppies and love swimming just as much as their mom!

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 Shawna Watson

Shawna is not only an incredible swim instructor, but a mother of two toddlers (ages 3 and 4) and an instructional aide for special needs children at a middle school in Los Angeles. Shawna has extensive experience as a lifeguard and swim instructor at both summer camps and privately for the past 7 years. She loves working with children and has a very gentle teaching style. Shawna - just like our whole Lil' Guppies team- believes that swim lessons should be fun as well as educational!

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Brad Ulbrich
 

Brad comes with over 11 years of experience teaching swimming, ranging from infants to adults.  Brad has also worked with special needs children with both physical and cognitive limitations.  In the past, Brad worked within the Disney Theme Parks playing characters such as Aladdin, Prince Eric, and Prince Charming!  Brad's background and experience along with his degree in Child Psychology have instilled in him key instincts when interacting with children of all backgrounds.  He was also a competitive swimmer for 15 years and captain of my varsity team.  He's got chlorine in his blood!  Brad is passionate about teaching swimming for so many reasons - he loves watching someone learn a new skill, especially one as important as swimming.  He loves watching people, especially children, grow more confident in themselves, and he loves helping people feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of every lesson.

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Sorelle Sussman
 

Sorelle is a rising sophomore at Amherst College, MA, studying Psychology and French. She grew up in West LA, but lived in Athens, Greece, from ages 6-9 where she attended the Lycée and learned French and Greek. Sorelle fell in love with swimming by 3 years old, and always found herself by a pool or a beach (surfing, paddle-boarding, or, of course, swimming!). Coming from a family of swimmers and lifeguards, Sorelle became Captain of her High School swim team at Geffen Academy @ UCLA in her Junior and Senior years. During this time, Sorelle also worked at the Collins & Katz Family YMCA in West LA as both a lifeguard and swim instructor to swimmers of all ages (infants - adults). Sorelle loves teaching and creates a safe, playful, and inclusive learning environment for all students. She is patient, kind, enthusiastic, and always brings her best! No matter your level, Sorelle will help you reach your goal and practice safe swimming!

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Grace Metzler
 

Grace is an award-winning swimmer. She has over 15 years of experience teaching swimming to kids and adults. During the off-season, Grace teaches high school and tutors students. She loves teaching kids to be water-safe. Grace also coaches swimmers and helps people stay fit. Her philosophy is, "You can learn through discipline, hard work, and laughter." Half drill sergeant, half comedian, Grace achieves excellent results. Whatever your goals may be, Grace will help you get there!

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Heidi Zeiger
 

Heidi is a seasoned swimmer and instructor, and she loves to be around the water! She began competitively swimming in her teens and swam in high school and college for the University of New Mexico.  While competing, she also became a swim instructor and lifeguard. After graduating, she continued to teach swim lessons, coach a competitive swim team, and volunteer with the Special Olympics. She has over 7 years of experience teaching children and adults how to swim and always emphasizes creating a safe environment around any body of water!

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Andrea Gillette

Andrea Gillette began teaching  and Lifeguarding at age 15 at her local high school where she taught, private, semi private, group lessons, and aqua aerobics. She taught with another swim company throughout college and then opened up her own swim lesson company in 2010. Andrea has over 23 years of teaching experience ranging all ages and levels from 4 months to 70 years old. Andrea has trained athletes as well for triathlons, diving tests and Navy swim tests. Her teaching style with children is skill driven with a learn through play approach in the activities to make the learning experience fun. For adults, she takes a progressive approach to the mechanics and adjusts according to the adults aquatic goals.  Andrea is also a mom and enjoys spending time with her family when not in the water!

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Yuki Ueda
 

Welcome Yuki to the Lil' Guppies team! Yuki loves swimming and water polo, and has experience teaching swim lessons to all ages of children, big and small!  Yuki also works with children with autism and special needs in the classroom as an instructional aide.  As a swim instructor, Yuki is very patient and always work at the student's comfort level.  She strives to create a fun learning environment where each student feels safe and confident being in the water!   Just like our whole team, Yuki understands the importance of using games, songs, and activities to engage with her students and establish a trusting bond with the instructor.  And of course,  make pool time fun!  Yuki is here to help your child explore the water safely, help them get over any anxieties about being in the water, and become strong, safe and onfident swimmers!

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Maya Gulvady
 

Maya has been a competitive swimmer for 17 years. She also swam Division 1 at Fresno State throughout her undergraduate career. Maya's favorite strokes are butterfly and freestyle! She has taught swim lessons since she was 15 and has also been an active lifeguard for several years.  Maya is extremely passionate about swimming, and loves being able to teach people of all ages. Maya has also had experience working with children with special needs. Her favorite part about being a swim instructor is being able to see the smiles on her students' faces when they progress with a new skill.  When not in the water, Maya is working towards her doctorate in Physical Therapy!

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Kendra Culver
 

 Kendra has been teaching swim lessons for several years now. She is a former competitive swimmer, and swimming soon became her passion that she wanted to turn into a career!  Kendra is a college student studying business administration and hopes to own her own swim school one day (uh oh, watch out Lil' Guppies!).  Kendra is a talented and dedicated teacher and truly cherishes the wonderful relationships she develops with her students and their families.

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Sophie Heffner
 

As an Upstate New York native, Sophie grew up an avid lake swimmer. She spent her summers on Skaneateles Lake, where she was a camper at a sleepaway camp that quickly turned into her second home. She began working there as soon as she was old enough, becoming a counselor, lifeguard, and swim instructor. Sophie made frequent visits to LA while growing up (which always included swims in the Pacific, of course), but finally moved to California in 2022. In addition to her experience as both a lifeguard and swim instructor, she swam competitively throughout her childhood. Sophie is also a standup comic, improviser, and writer, and believes in incorporating humor and fun into learning. Sophie is energetic, and upbeat and is excited to help people feel safe and passionate about the power of the water!

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Kyden Bailey
 

Kyden is a student at Pasadena Community College with an impressive background in all things sports! His  first love was swimming, and he grew up swimming competitively as well as competing in triathlons for many years.  Kyden then went on to become a lifeguard and swim instructor.  Kyden has SEVEN siblings!  Being around children and teenagers comes naturally and Kyden is very passionate about working with children of all ages,  instilling the key skills of water safety and foundations of swimming in a positive, fun way!  Kyden played Division I football for the past few years, where he was impressively named an  Academic All American. Kyden is bilingual (Spanish/English), and loves cooking, baking, being outdoors, traveling, and living a fit lifestyle.  

Elle Mathias

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Elle is a rising sophomore at Santa Monica College planning on transferring to Cal State Northridge, with a B.A in Childhood and Adolescent Development.  She has always loved water and swimming, whether it be going to the beach, cliff diving, or a trip to the family pool! Elle has over 4 years of experience with kids of all ages. She was most recently a lifeguard and swim instructor for the YMCA in Roanoke, VA.  She became known there for her ability to handle any type of kid.  Elle firmly believes in being adaptable and finding what works best for each individual child.  She also has experience teaching children with ADHD, autism, and water anxiety.  Elle loves creating fun games, songs, and stories to help foster a love for swimming and keep learning fun, while still focusing on water safety and building strong confident swimmers!

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Samuel Avedian

Samuel is a student at Cal State Northridge where he swims competitively.  He also played water polo and swam competitively through high school, leading his team as captain, and graduated through the elite Naf Medical Academy program.   Samuel loves working with children both in and out of the water! He served as a volunteer teaching assistant in elementary schools and assistant coach to age group swim teams. Samual is speaks Armenian and Spanish as well as English!  He looks forward to working with our Lil' Guppies families to ensure all children and families are water safe and can share the joy of swimming!  

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Raychel Ybarra

Raychel has always been passionate about teaching children in the water.  She has taught a wide array of children of all ages and adults!  Raychel feels that as a teacher it is important to have compassion, patience and understanding for each individual student  in order to improve. She looks forward to working with our Lil' Guppies families! 

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