Mary Joy Klein has been very active her whole life. She started by going to swimming camps every summer until she was around 11. She then started taking ballet classes in Ottawa, and she danced until she was 17. After ballet, it was cross-country skiing with her high school team—the friends she made on the team inspired her to push herself and try her best all the time. She then stayed in a sporty environment by working in sports stores and at her local pool as a lifeguard. It wasn’t until 2004–2005, when her own kids started swimming, that she got back in the pool herself. She has always liked swimming, and it was convenient for her—she could swim while her kids were having swimming lessons, and she likes being in the water. She joined a master’s team at her local Y for fun and met a lot of great friends there.
Mary Joy decided to join the Westmount Y team to be able to compete on Sundays. She was restricted in her meets choice because of the Sabbath that kept her from competing on Saturdays. She competed in a few meets before stopping because it wasn’t convenient for her anymore, and she felt like it wasn’t worth all her efforts when there were so few occasions for her to compete.
In 2012, a new pool opened in Côte-Saint-Luc with a new master’s team. She decided to join that team and to be involved in the pool committee. She loved the team and the pool, and she even taught swimming lessons there for 2 years, but then she had to stop.
A few years ago, Mary Joy started to think about a new project: Lifeguard Joy. The idea came to her after a tragic drowning accident in Côte-Saint-Luc. She wanted to make sure that the Red Cross swimming lessons included a part about water safety to avoid tragedies like that in the future. She wanted to make swimming lessons and water safety fun for everyone. With this project, she started to teach swimming lessons for kids 1 to 15 years old, as well as a class for adults who wanted to learn to swim. Her goal as a swimming coach is to make sure her lessons are fun and inclusive for everyone.
In addition to being a lifeguard and a coach full time, Mary Joy is the administrator for her husband’s company. She’s also the mother of 3 kids who she definitely influenced, because they are all swimmers as well!
With swimming being such a big part of her life, we can say without a doubt that Mary Joy has found her passion in swimming. Her favourite part of swimming is going to a swim meet: “It’s great to be able to go to a swim meet, to swim fast and to feel excited like a little kid again.” We hope you’ll stay involved in swimming (and young at heart!) for years to come!
Do you or anyone you know have a swimming story you want to share with us? New swimmers, veterans, competitive or recreational swimmers, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe you’ll see it on this blog in the next few weeks!