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Amy Diamond

Owner & Lead Instructor

Amy is the owner & 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 and so it was a perfect combination of passions to start teaching swim lessons at the young age of 15.  Amy has now 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 11 and 5. They are the original lil' guppies and love swimming just as much as their mom! 

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Meagan Richardson

Assistant Manager

Meagan joins our team from New York as both assistant manager and swim instructor for the Florida branch of Lil' Guppies.  She comes to the team with over 10 years of experience in both managerial duties and swim instruction. Meagan has worked as a babysitter, lifeguard and swim instructor specializing in water safety and success, and also has a background in working with special needs children. Meagan's passion for helping others has continued through her volunteer work on the ambulance, and she is now a certified EMT. She is ready to jump right in and meet our families!  

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Shawn Mohamed

Shawn has been a swimming instructor and lifeguard for over six years and has also served as a pool supervisor and swim coach at his local YMCA.  Shawn has worked with children and adults of all ages and skill levels, including infants and special needs children.  Shawn is very passionate about his role in teaching swimming and water safety and is a great asset to our team!

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Aly Arsenault

Aly is originally from Massachusetts and was a competitive synchronized swimmer for 10 years along with a seasonsal speed swimmer from age 5 though college. She started teaching swim lessons at the age of 15 and has stuck with it ever since! Aly has spent the last six years in non-profit aquaitc departments on the east coast perfecting her craft as a swim instructor. She loves her lessons to be fun and silly, yet also driven to meet goals in a reasonable timeframe, thus making Aly a perfect fit for our team! Aly's favorite stroke to teach and swim is butterfly. One thing you will learn about Aly's lessons is that she can turn anything into a song - whether it be a skill you are learning, the weather, or everything else in between! 

Brad Ulbrich

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Brad comes with over 11 years of experience teaching swimming, ranging from infants-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.  

Naja Benson

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Naja joined our team in 2021 because she wanted to share her love and passion for swimming with all ages! Naja has experience teaching all ages, including infants. Her goal is to help every infant, child and adult love the water and be water safe! As a swim coach, Naja has the ability to engage her students, help them overcome fears and inhibitions, and embrace the water with joy and confidence!  Naja graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Organizational Leadership and Development. She is currently an assistant administrative secretary at Friendship Pasadena Church in addition to teaching swim lessons and coaching a dance team of children ages two through twelve.

 

 

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Maria Zarro-Ayaya

Maria, also affectionately known as "Coach Z", comes to our Lil' Guppies family from the South Bay area. Her affinity for the water since she was as small child makes being in the water second nature! Maria earned her BA from UCLA and her MA.Ed from Concordia University, Irvine. Growing up, Maria participated in many sports, including swimming, surfing and water skiing. She also coached high school coed swimming & diving teams for 15 years. Maria has instructed infants-adults, including developmentally delayed, autistic and other special needs students, and peformed senior lifeguard duties for the city of Carson.  She holds certifications in WSI and NFHS coaching. Maria is also a mother of two daughters who followed in her swimming footsteps! 

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Jessica Sandidge

Jessica has been teaching swimming for over 10 years. She helped design the Baby Swim program for New York's Imagine Swimming, using songs and playtime to teach infants and toddlers to swim during Parent & Me classes. Jessica also happens to be an accomplished opera singer and has performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera, Sarasota Opera, and New York City Opera.  Jessica also teaches piano and singing lessons to children and adults. 

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Jonathan was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and thus spent a lot of his time in the Florida keys swimming, free diving and spearfishing! Jonathan has been a lifeguard, surf & swim instructor for several years and is a natural with kids. His high energy and positive attitude has helped his students all swim like pros!  

Jonathan Prieto

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Max Yera

Max is an experienced competitive swimmer, water polo player, swim instructor, and lifeguard. He has been lifeguarding and teaching swimming since the young age of 16 and has been swimming competitively since the age of nine! Max loves working with children of all ages, teaching swimming and ensuring water safety! 

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Jasmin Benavides

Jasmin recently moved to California from Chicago. She has had multiple years experience teaching children of all ages in the water.  Jasmin finds being a swim instructor to be a rewarding experience that makes a significant impact on a child’s growth and confidence and loves being able to watch them develop over time!