Friday, May 29th

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Swim Instructor Franky

DSC_2884Franklyn “Franky” Carty retired from TelEm after 30 years only to become a fulltime swim instructor! Franky, who spends most of his days at or in a swimming pool, has been a swim instructor on St. Maarten for decades and is still going strong.


After 30 years working at TelEm, Franky retired in 2013 and got a job with the government sports program teaching swimming at Raoul Illidge Sports Complex. When he is not teaching school children to swim at the Sports Complex, he is at the Belair Community Centre pool running his swim academy and swim team.


Franky: “The school is really going great. We have several certified instructors working here and we are authorized to test and provide Dutch approved swim exams and diplomas.” The school is open 2:00-5:00pm weekdays, 7:00am-12:00 noon Saturdays and 9:00-11:00am Sundays.


Franky comes from a long line of swim instructors. His uncle Pedro Maria taught swimming on St. Maarten back when Franky was just a boy, while another uncle was a swim instructor on Curaçao. Yet it took a member of the Red Cross to convince Franky that another swim instructor was needed on St. Maarten.


Franky: “I was a volunteer for the Red Cross somewhere around 1988 when Frank Laveist convinced me to become a swim instructor.” Laveist is credited with helping found the St. Maarten Red Cross chapter in 1977.


In 2013, things were going so well at the swim school that Franky decided to start his own swim team called the Sharks. They started out with just competing in local meets against the Carib Swim Team and the Super Splash Team and now they have taken up travelling to regional competitions.


Franky: “We average about 200 children in the swim program now and 15 to 18 on the swim team.” In the past, 70 to 80 students earn swim diplomas each exam day. Examinations are done twice a year. The first test is in June and the second one is in December.


Franky: “I think what I am most proud of is the friendship and loyalty the school builds. I taught her how to swim when she was a small girl (points to one of his instructors); she went off to school, became a swim instructor and she now works with me.”


Franky has many success stories. Most recently, he has been working with the children in the Special Olympics group: “I think they are ready for their first meet,” he says with a smile. “I really am curious to see how they do.”