West Cook YMCA

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MEET YOUR WEST COOK YMCA swim lesson instructors and lifeguards!

Gilbert acevedo
INTERIM AQUATICS OPERATIONS MANAGER

My aquatics experience started when I was in third grade. I joined a competitive swim team and competed for eight years. I also became a lifeguard the summer of my freshman year of high school. Swimming has been a huge part of my life, so naturally I wanted to become a swim instructor. I first started teaching in 2010. I instantly fell in love with being an instructor. I’ve taught all ages from toddlers to adults. I continue to teach now because of my passion for swimming, but I also teach now to engage with the community I work for. I am grateful to teach something I am passionate about and have fun while I am teaching it.

Certifications: American Red Cross Lifeguarding, CPR, AED, 02, First Aid, Head Lifeguard; YMCA Swim Lesson Instructor, Stroke Mechanics & Aquatic Management 

 jackson friker

sWIM INSTRUCTOR

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a swimmer and enjoyed swimming. I have worked for the Y since 2020 to make sure everyone has an opportunity to enjoy swimming. I have been swimming competitively since I was 7 years old and have made countless memories of fun and competition that I think everyone should experience.

Certifications: American Red Cross CPR, AED, 02, First Aid; YMCA Swim Lesson Instructor

Lauren friker
SWIM INSTRUCTOR

Competitive swimmer on the West Cook YMCA’s swim team, TOPS, from 2008-2020. Currently a high school varsity swimmer and water polo player at Oak Park & River Forest high school.

Swim instructor for the YMCA since June 2021. Eager to teach kids that the water is a beautiful and fun place while being safe.

Certifications: American Red Cross CPR, AED, 02, First Aid, Head Lifeguard; YMCA Swim Lesson Instructor

stefanie guzman
lifeguard & SWIM INSTRUCTOR

Hello families and members of the Y, my name is Stefanie and I’ve been a lifeguard and swim instructor since 2018. I decided to join the Y because I believe that with the right tools and the right guidance, everyone can develop a healthy discipline and reach the confidence they need to fulfill their goals inside and outside the Y.

Certifications: American Red Cross Lifeguarding, CPR, AED, 02, First Aid; YMCA Swim Lesson Instructor

 David medina

lifeguard & SWIM INSTRUCTOR

I have been working as a lifeguard and swim instructor since 2019 and it is the most rewarding job I have. I have participated in competitive swimming since the age of 5 years old until my Junior year in high school. I swam for Chicago Park Districts, CWAC (Chicago Wolfpack Aquatic Club), and Fenwick. I enjoy working for the Y and its community because I love the smiles on the kids and on the parents when they’re done with they’re activities for the day. Also, I like to give back to the kids what was once given to me growing up in aquatics, a place to have fun without worrying about their safety. 

Fun Fact: I have traveled to California three times to participate in the Water Polo Junior Olympics 

Certifications: American Red Cross Lifeguarding, CPR, AED, First Aid

jennifer medina
LIFEGUARD & SWIM INSTRUCTOR 

I have been working for the West Cook YMCA since 2018 as a lifeguard along with swim instructor experience. I believe in having fun around water while being mindful of how to stay safe for ourselves and others around us. An aspect I enjoy about the YMCA is seeing how we as a community come together to help and grow with one another, no one is left behind. From the staff to the patrons, we all care deeply for each other and strive to keeping the Y an open-minded, welcoming environment for all who may enter. As a swim instructor, I am always excited when a student makes achievements and reaches goals, such as mastering a skill that they struggled with previously. I aspire to make connections with the children and help them grow confident in their swimming capabilities as well as learning alongside them different ways to approach teaching.

Certifications: American Red Cross Lifeguarding, CPR, AED, 02, First Aid; YMCA Swim Lesson Instructor 

Jazmin montes
LIFEGUARD & SWIM INSTRUCTOR

I have been a lifeguard and swim instructor for my local community pool for two summers and decided to continue my skills here at the YMCA. I have been swimming for more than five years and have been on multiple swim teams. I chose to work for the Y because I support their goal of making a difference in the community and improving personal growth. As a swim instructor and lifeguard, I value helping other learn not only about swimming but water safety too.

Fun Fact: I was actually terrified of the water as a child and was taught by various swim instructors. My experience with many different swim instructors taught me a lot of swimming skills and techniques that have shaped me into a strong swimmer.

Certifications: American Red Cross Lifeguarding, CPR, AED, 02, First Aid; YMCA Swim Lesson Instructor

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