Special Olympics Florida

Coach Josie Ball has taught more than 2,000 people how to swim in South Florida

Writen by:  Christina Mayo,  Miami Herald

Coach Josie Ball, at Miami-Dade County A.D. Barnes Park, says she has taught swimming to at least 2,000 children and adults. For her years of diligence, she was recently awarded the Rotary Club of Miami 2019 Distinguished Citizen Award for Community Impact.

She started teaching swimming when she was 10 years old, first as an aide to her mother Joanne Christensen at Coral Gables’ Venetian Pool and then as a Water Safety Instructor there.

Florida has lost more children to drowning than any other state, according to the USA Swimming Foundation. Tempting pools and lakes, and year-round swimming weather in Florida contribute to the high numbers of death by drowning especially in children ages 1-4. Research also shows 79 percent of children have little-to-no swimming ability in households with incomes of less than $50,000.

Ball has spent 50 years of her life teaching swimming to prevent accidental drowning deaths. She is also a Special Olympics Florida  coach and has trained triathletes who have placed in the national Olympics distance competition.

Currently, Ball is training a future Paralympics swimmer. She gave her $500 Rotary award to Special Olympics Florida. Ball is also the 2018 South Florida Recreational Swim League Swim Coach of the Year.

Now is the time to sign up for swimming lessons. Miami-Dade County offers lessons for as low as $10 and there are 15 Learn2Swim locations in the county. Scholarships are available. Learn more…