Meet Your Teacher, Thea!

By OceanFirst on 8/25/17

Screen-Shot-2017-08-25-at-11-26-32-AM.pngThea joined our team in May of this year, and couldn't be a better fit for the Ocean First family. Not only is she passionate and knowledgable about the marine life, she is dedicated to helping every child become comfortable in and around the water. In addition to being a swim instructor, she is also the new Marine Science & Swim Camp teacher. We asked her some questions to get to know her better:

Where did your love of the water come from?

My parents made sure all of our family vacations during my childhood featured the ocean. I went snorkeling before I could swim by piggybacking on my snorkeling parents. When I was 2, I became obsessed with sea turtles after visiting a sea turtle hatchery in Sri Lanka, and I decided that I wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up. My whole life so far has been focused on learning about, studying and helping protect the ocean. 

When did you start swimming competitively? 

I started swimming competitively when I was 5 and kept competing until I was 13. I loved swimming distance events, so I was always the smallest kid in the open events such as 800m breaststroke or 1500m freestyle. I love the challenge of trying to keep on swimming at the same pace for long distances.

You are a scuba diver, correct? What was your favorite dive? 

Christmas morning 2003, Sodwana Bay, South Africa. My family and I had stayed up the night before until past midnight because we had found a nesting leatherback turtle on the beach near our hotel. We had to wake up at 5am to make it to the boat for our dive. I have never been on a more perfect dive. The visibility was amazing and the reef was stunning!10367677_10155759858840655_4866601268138813947_n.jpg

What is your favorite thing about teaching swimming lessons? 

I think my favorite moment of teaching is the look on your students face when something they've been working hard on suddenly clicks. With swim lessons, it's the moment when a students comes up for a breath after finally swimming with perfect windmill arms, or realizing that they're breathing on their own, or that they've swam across the pool without any help.

What are ways that we can be more eco-friendly in our day-to-day lives? 

There are so many ways that every individual can make a difference. I always recommend starting small and changing your habits one at a time so that it's more likely that you'll stick with them. Start with things like switching to reusable grocery bags and water bottles, buy groceries in bulk or switch to products with less plastic packaging. I'm always happy to talk to people about how they can help the environment!


When you aren't working, what do you love to do?

I love to take my dog swimming and hiking. I also love rock climbing. I try to always have some sort of craft project going, and there is usually at least one or two books that I'm in the middle of reading.

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