“It really affected me so deeply and made me start being very concerned about my children’s own aquatic safety,” McMordie said. “I realized how at risk they were for an aquatic accident.”
McMordie enrolled her three children in a survival swim program, which teaches infants and young children how to float and breathe should they accidentally fall into a swimming pool.
After having her fourth child and moving to a new home in Katy that had a swimming pool, McMordie sought a survival swimming class but found none in Houston.
“You need to have true swim skills even at a very young age,” she said.
McMordie took her youngest child to a Dallas-area swim instructor who encouraged McMordie to start providing survival swim classes in the Greater Houston area.
McMordie decided to become a survival swim specialist and earned several certifications. In April 2004, she started teaching in her backyard.
“That was just very rewarding, and it just continued to grow and grow and grow,” McMordie said.
In addition to being a certified swim instructor, McMordie is also a national curriculum writer for the Infant Aquatics Network.
In fall 2012, McMordie and her husband, Bruce McMordie, opened the Katy academy. The facility is a certified pool operator with the National Swimming Pool Foundation, where she and other instructors teach infants through adults.
The academy offers private lessons, group lessons, infant aquatics and precompetition training.
The 8,000-square-foot facility has five indoor 12-foot by 12-foot pools and an indoor 30-foot by 60-foot pool. The pools are heated between 88 and 90 degrees.
The academy has 37 employees, 25 of whom are instructors with specialized training. Training also includes studying child development, anatomy and physiology.
The McMordies are set to break ground on a new 17,000-square-foot swim academy at Barker Cypress Road and Hwy. 290 in May 2017.
McMordie said being in the Greater Houston area, children are especially at risk for drowning incidents because there are so many pools.
“That danger is always there for parents,” she said.
Drowning is preventable, McMordie said, and she takes it personally whenever she hears of an incident wishing she could have taught that child.
“Nine times out of 10, parents overestimate their kid’s swim skills,” McMordie said. “Get your kids in swim lessons. The more skilled your child is, the better their chances of survival in an aquatic accident.”