Meet our Current Swim Instructors
Owner & Lead Swim Instructor Ruth Nielson
Ruth has successfully completed swim certification, instruction, and training in the following areas:
- Collecting and analyzing information on the philosophy and structure of the aquatic industry. Operating in accordance with accepted instructional practices, styles and legal and ethical responsibilities.
- Fostering the motor, cognitive and personal development of infants and toddlers in an aquatic environment.
- Instructor of water familiarization, buoyancy and mobility skills
- Instructor of water safety and survival skills.
- Instructor of all strokes of swimming.
- Principles of movement in water to aquatic activities.
- Teacher of Infant & Preschool Aquatics, AustSwim
- First Aid and CPR, American Red Cross and Australia First Aid First
- Lifeguard, American Red Cross
Ruth Nielson is very passionate and knowledgeable when it comes to teaching students of all ages and abilities to not only enjoy but also to excel in the sport of swimming. Her focus is on safety, skill, technique and stroke development. Ruth developed a fear of the water at a young age when she nearly drowned in a pool at a party with friends. Ruth overcame her fears at the age of 20 when she learned to swim while taking an extensive one year course at Idaho State University. She enjoyed the sport so much that she went on to pursue work as a lifeguard and swim instructor. Ruth had the wonderful opportunity to qualify as a swim instructor at the one of Queensland’s Olympic Training Centers.
Ruth has worked in the aquatic field for 20 years. She has been a very successful instructor of swimming and water safety in Australia and the USA. Ruth worked as a lifeguard at Ross Park Aquatic Complex in Pocatello, Idaho. She taught swimming lessons at schools and other venues in Queensland, Australia. She started up a swim program and taught at the former Huntsman Springs in Driggs, Idaho. She taught and coached swimming at Teton Springs in Victor, Idaho and in Alta, Wyoming at Grand Targhee Ski Resort. She is thrilled to see the Learn To Swim program that she started in Sept. 2021, take off so well in Madison County, Idaho. In 2022 her team taught well over 3,000 private swimming lessons!!
Ruth has successfully completed certification, instruction, and training in these additional areas of study:
- Fitness Instructor Certification
- Health Life Coaching
- Mindfulness Certification
- Personal Training Diploma
- Pre and Postnatal Yoga Instructor
- PTSD and Trauma Informed Yoga Instructor
- Sports Nutrition Certification
- Thrive, Yoga Business Training and Coaching
- Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider
- 500 Hour Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher Training
- 200 Hour Yoga Alliance Experienced Registered Yoga
- 40 Hour Training, Roots Tribe Yoga for Youth – BeInnerConnected
- Children’s Book Author/Illustrator, “I Am Remarkable, A Journey of Self-Discovery”
- Designer of the Hummingbird Yoga Apparel Line
Swim Instructor Rachel Johnson
My name is Rachel Johnson. I am a married student attending BYU-I and currently pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in English and Literature. I am working towards a Master’s program at BYU in Provo for law school. I am wanting to get into constitutional, criminal, or corporate law. I have a fond desire to continue my work in school and hopefully receive more education to prepare for my future family. I am from Orangevale, California, originally in the Sacramento area. My husband and I met on our missions in the Hawaii Honolulu mission. We love to go back there and spend time with our family that lives there and many friends we have met while serving our mission.
I am so passionate about being in the water. It is where I am most comfortable, and I fought my toughest battles in the water. It’s where I personally learned how to push myself to keep going and calm my heart and mind when I went through my own trials. The water is amazing is so therapeutic in that it restores our bodies and offers healing to us physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. The water is a great place to be and I am so happy to be a part of the journey as I not only teach but also grow from the experiences of teaching your children how to swim.
I have been a swimmer since I was very young. I was on various swim teams in my youth, and enjoyed swimming in college as well. I have been a lifeguard for over 6 years. I have worked with children all throughout my life especially in the water. I am excited to use my experiences and knowledge to help your children learn how to swim, and help them in their technique while swimming with different strokes. I am so excited to work with all of you and can’t wait to meet you! —- Rachel Johnson
Swim Instructor Sarah Campbell
Hi, I’m Sarah Campbell! I’m studying Violin Performance at BYU-I, and absolutely love it! I’ve been playing both the violin and piano since I was little, which gave me the opportunity to learn discipline, set and achieve goals, and persevere through challenges. After I finish my studies at BYU-I, I want to teach private lessons, pursue my Masters degree, and eventually perform in professional ensembles. I grew up here in Rexburg, and am the oldest of six children. Aside from spending time with my family, I enjoy reading, ballroom dancing, playing music with friends, and going on adventures outdoors. I served my mission in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Brazil, and loved all the unique experiences that I had, including learning and speaking Portuguese!
Ever since I can remember, I have loved the water. I learned how to swim at a very young age, and loved taking lessons during the summer to develop techniques and strokes to increase my abilities. Every opportunity I had, I was playing in the pool, lake, river, or ocean, and spent as much time as possible in the water. I have always felt a sense of freedom that comes from swimming, and use it as a way to unwind and relax. I have also learned the importance of learning how to swim in several different environments and situations, and the life-long skill of being comfortable in the water. Learning how to swim is not only fun, but a great ability and protection to have throughout life. I look forward to helping you to develop a love for the water, and see the satisfaction that comes from achieving your goals!
Swim Instructor Karen Vasser
My name is Karen Vasser and I absolutely love being in or near water! I do not remember a time when I couldn’t swim. I have spent the last 25 years on the Central Coast of California but I recently married and moved to Rexburg. This is the first time in my life that I’ve ever been away from the ocean!
In my early twenties I spent six years in the US Coast Guard doing search and rescue, environmental protection, and law enforcement. While raising my two children, I spent twenty years teaching swimming, adaptive swimming, coaching stroke schools, and was a site supervisor for Swim America. I also worked as a special needs aid and respite worker for families with children who required special care. I am an adaptive surf instructor where I have worked with children and adults who are differently abled, physically challenged, neurodivergent, and I have assisted with training for the US Paralympic Surf Team.
I am a trauma recovery surf therapy and ocean therapy provider where I combine the naturally therapeutic elements of the ocean with evidence based mental health practices to help people heal from trauma, depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and relational challenges. I have worked with individuals, groups, and couples from many different populations.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and I am currently in graduate school for a Masters in Marriage and Family therapy. I believe that our bodies, minds, and spirits thrive when we are having fun, learning new things, and feel a real sense of belonging. I cannot describe the joy I feel when I see someone’s expression when they first go under water, float on their back, swim, or catch a wave all by themselves for the first time. They are so stoked and their excitement is contagious! The water is my happy place and I am super stoked to share that space with anyone who is willing to dive in!
Swim Instructor Ashley Parks
Hi! My name is Ashley Parks! I currently go to BYU-I and I will graduate with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education. I served a full-time mission in the California, San Bernadino mission from Nov. 2020- May 2022.
I am from the Logan, Utah, area and I love swimming, hiking, and music. I was in swim club team for 2 years and then went to high school competitive swim for an additional four years and served as team captain from 2017-2018! I was a swimming instructor at Sky View High School in Smithfield, Utah, for three years.
Ever since I was little, I have always loved the water. I learned how to swim very young and since then I’ve tried to always be in the water. I have always felt a sense of freedom that comes from swimming, and use it as a way to unwind and relax. I have also learned the importance of learning how to swim in several different environments and situations, and the life-long skill of being comfortable in the water. Traveling with my family has led me to be so incredibly grateful that I learned how to swim so I can be comfortable in aquatic environments. I love kids and helping them learn and grow in so many different areas in their lives! I am so excited to help y’all develop a love for the water, confidence and comfortability in it too!
Swim Instructor Kimra Arnell
My name is Kimra Arnell.
I was born and raised in a really small town in Southern Idaho. I am living here with my husband and we currently are at BYU-I. I am a social work major and after I graduate I’m planning on working with toddlers-teens in the foster care system.
I was a 5 sport athlete in high school giving me much time to practice practice practice! This gave me a great perspective on hard work and learning how to do difficult things in situations that put me in a place where I needed to do so.
I have been in the water since I was a little girl. Participated in all lessons you can think of, would swim daily for hours, and for the past 3 summers I have been lifeguarding for the pool in my hometown as well as teaching swimming lessons for the past 2 summers and help coach swim team.
I have had experience with coaching/teaching gymnastics, dance, and volleyball all ages from two, to twenty two! I am so excited to learn with you guys as I teach and help you guys learn in swimming and other great and important life lessons!
Swim Instructor Samantha Lindstrom
Hi, my name is Samantha Lindstrom. Swimming is one of my favorite things to do. I love how the water has such an amazing power that is calming and can help you reset. I love seeing kids learn to swim and gain confidence in the water. Helping children learn new things is one of my passions. There is something incredible about the way a person lights up when they accomplish something they worked so hard for.
I’m currently homeschooling my way through high school. Getting to have a say in my education and making my own schedule has really helped me take ownership of my education. I’ve been playing the viola for eight years and enjoy the challenge of pushing myself to improve. I also play the piano and ukulele. I am planning on getting a degree in music, I love music and the gift it has to heal people’s hearts. I am the second oldest out of seven children and love hanging out with my family. I am looking forward to working with kids and helping them learn to swim!
Swim Instructor Estelle Edwards
Hi! I’m Estelle Edwards. My whole life I have loved being in the water and I am so excited to be teaching. I learned at a fantastic swim school when my family was stationed in Scottsdale, Arizona. We had a pool in our backyard, so my parents definitely knew that being safe around water was so important. I have so many happy memories there, I am so glad I learned to swim with such wonderful teachers.
My family moved around with the Coast Guard. We settled in Rexburg when my dad retired three years ago. I play the cello and play in multiple local orchestras, dance ballroom competitively and play tennis at Madison High School. I love to sing, play guitar, snowboard, hike, and cook.
My family is starting an urban farm on our property here in Rexburg. I am planning to attend the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts so I can be the resident chef and teach people how to create beautiful, local, nutrient-dense food.
I am looking forward to teaching your kids how to swim!!
Swim Instructor Lauren Seeman
Hello! My name is Lauren Seeman!
I’m so excited to be here! I am currently attending BYU-Idaho and recently returned home from serving a mission for a year and a half in Arizona! I am studying elementary education and hope to bring new ideas and practices to places in the world that need some aid!
I was born and raised in Colorado and absolutely love it there! I love to be outside and play with my family. We have a goal to hit as many national parks as we can!
I tried all the sports growing up, and swimming was the one that stuck and is my favorite! I have been competitively swimming ever since- all through elementary, middle, high school and college. Growing up I was a lifeguard every summer, and worked at my local recreation center where I taught lessons, coached a swim team, and helped train others. I love the water- it is home!
I hope I can share my love for the water with you!
Swim Instructor Bailey Russell
Hi! My name is Bailey Russell 🙂
I am currently studying Recreational Therapy and Business Management at BYU-I. I have a passion for the outdoors and trying new things! I love to play the piano, hike, mountain bike, and do pretty much anything in the water! Some of my best memories are rafting with my family or boogie boarding in the ocean.
I was on the swim team in high school and spent my summers lifeguarding at our local waterpark! I recently served a full-time mission in Alabama. It taught me how important it is to set goals and be ready for any opportunity! Since I’ve been back I have been enjoying taking classes and working at the ropes course! I don’t think any time where you are learning is wasted.
I hope to be able to share that love of learning, along with my enjoyment of the water with you!
Read about some of our past Learn 2 Swim Instructors!
Swim Instructor Miya Combs
Hi, My name is Miya Combs! I am a student at BYU-Idaho studying Health Psychology. I am pursuing a career in occupational therapy, and applying for Master’s programs this summer. I love seeing the different ways to improve mental and physical health and hope to pursue that love in my future career.
I am from the Seattle area and I love hiking and being in the water, especially swimming, wake boarding and wake surfing. I learned how to properly swim strokes later in my life and developed a real love for swim as a sport which then became a love for water polo. Learning how strong I can be though the water is a feeling I
Swim Instructor Vanessa Permann
Hi! My name is Vanessa Permann. I am currently a student at BYU-Idaho studying special education. I’m wanting to specifically work with children with behaviors and eventually attend more school for Speech Pathology or Occupational Therapy. I was born in Taiwan but grew up in American Falls Idaho and absolutely love Idaho and the beauty that comes with it. I’ve lived in Taiwan, China, Idaho, and Hawai’i and I love meeting new people and learning new cultures. I grew up learning Mandarin Chinese and it has been very useful for me especially while serving my mission in Hawai’i. In my spare time I enjoy doing yoga, playing the guitar and piano, hiking, and being in the sunshine.
I grew up playing in the water and loved it. My brother and I spent long days at the pool racing, doing tricks off the diving board, and just hanging out. Being in the water helps me to feel relaxed, clears my mind, and helps me to have fun. I lifeguarded throughout high school and am passionate about keeping kids safe while having a good experience at the same time. I love working with kids and have learned a lot of valuable skills especially throughout my education in college. I am so excited to watch your child grow and can’t wait to see the smile on their face when they accomplish hard things! Learning to swim has been a great blessing in my life and has protected me in many situations. I know that this skill will help your child for the rest of their life and I am so excited to work with them in the water!
Swim Instructor Paige James
Hi my name is Paige!
I was raised in Southern California and have grown up in the water: from surfing, playing water polo and competitive swimming, to watching my mother teach swim lessons to kids! I love everything about water activities and have lots of experience with water safety!
I have five siblings and 11 nieces and nephews and I love interacting with kids and being around my big family! I get married in August and I graduate summer of 2022 from BYU-Idaho’s nursing school. I hope to be a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, working with infants in the hospital. I am certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Basic Life Saving – CPR, and Disaster Health and Sheltering. I am passionate about helping others in their times of need and bettering the lives of those around us.
Swim Instructor Olivia Jones
Hi, My name is Olivia Jones!
Whether at work or at play, I have always loved being in the water! I love running, being outdoors, swimming, paddleboarding, tennis, and getting to be with my goats! I am currently a student at BYU-I, majoring in Science of Allied Health, working towards becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant. I love getting to always be in action and help others learn, grow, and succeed.
The past two years I have worked as a licensed lifeguard, at Roaring Springs Water Park in Meridian, Idaho in 2021 and in 2022 as head lifeguard and swim instructor at the Meridian Pool in Meridian, Idaho, teaching many awesome kids how to swim. I absolutely love to see the growth, learning , and skill development that happens during swimming lessons. It’s amazing to watch a kiddo who starts out being terrified of the pool to loving being in the water, with a newfound confidence that shines through with smiles and giggles. I am