by Connie Warasila
“If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.” Confucius
As WATERinMOTION® celebrates its ten-year anniversary, I look back to the beginning and marvel at Sara Kooperman’s vision and perseverance in creating WATERinMOTION®. Once I understood her vision, we hit the ground running and we haven’t stopped yet. Establishing a business takes a huge personal and financial commitment, so we knew the work would be challenging. Partnering with aquatic fitness innovators would be essential for success so we set off to recruit inspiring educators, marketing specialists, artists, music engineers and instructors to join the team. Many people, who we are so grateful for, have contributed to the development and growth that WATERinMOTION® has experienced in the last ten years.
Producing the quarterly releases for the WATERinMOTION® program is like racing a train on the track. It never stops. The WIM® family is always working on the next release or new idea. We look forward to descending on the Chicago-land area to practice and film new releases twice each year. Most of the filming crew (around 13-15 people) stay at Sara’s house, creating a 4-day, creative, chaotic slumber party where the meeting of the water minds dream of future releases and events to promote WIM®. We eat breakfast for dinner over waves of laughter, share scarce bathrooms and hair dryers, fix each other’s wardrobe, enjoy homemade bread and Minda bars (thanks to Minda Kjar!), and pet Buster the super WIM® mascot for comfort. We’ve learned that it’s worth giving Manuel his own room so as not to disturb the crew with his snoring.
We’ve also learned to “go with the flow” in times of change, like when the office burns down and our roomy practice space is replaced with the intimate rehearsal setting in Sara’s home gym. The fire also tested our flexibility when we couldn’t find the backdrop for filming, found a replacement for the backdrop, and then miraculously found the original backdrop 6 months later. We encourage each other during filming by starting with my “football huddle” approach to pumping the crew up, coaching each other when we are nervous, using sign language and taped up notes to back up Sara when she has frazzled nerves, and taking hot tub breaks to get us through the day. We especially have a soft spot in our hearts for our underwater photographer, Claudio, who “goes deep” to get the best underwater footage dressed in special underwater garb to stay warm and feed his good sense of humor.
As we grew, we improved. We changed the structure of the class from 12 tracks to 10 and added an optional bonus. We worked with our music engineer to edit our music to follow a standard format. We have tried to remove obstacles to certification and teaching so that more instructors and facilities are able to offer WATERinMOTION® to their clients. We added a second program, Platinum, to address the needs of our active aging clients. And we continue to explore possibilities for even more programming, including deep water training and strength training in the water.
We are excited about the future of WATERinMOTION® and the possibilities for growth. Come ride the wave with us!
About The Author:
Connie is the choreographer and co-founder of WATERinMOTION®, a faculty member with SCW Fitness Education and certified by ACE, AEA, AFAA, Yoga Fit, Schwinn, Reebok Cycle and Moms in Motion. She has been awarded the Aquatic Exercise Association’s Fitness Professional of the Year and is a published author of articles in various trade publications. She has over 30 years of teaching experience in the USA and abroad and is presently teaching in Northern Virginia. She has traveled around the world presenting new and creative workshops to make fitness more accessible, professional and fun.