The Swim Angelfish Swim Whisperers Story

Swim Angelfish is the global leader in adaptive swim instruction. The company creates educational resources for the needs of the world’s adaptive swim lessons and advocates for the necessity of having specifically trained instructors for this growing population. For the last 20 years, Swim Angelfish has been dedicated to reducing the drowning statistics by teaching children of all abilities how to swim safely and independently. The founders, Cindy Freedman, MOTR, and Ailene Tisser, MA, PT developed an adaptive swim methodology (Swim Whisperers®) specifically designed to help children with Autism, sensory and motor coordination, anxiety, trauma, or simple discomfort in the water to become safe and independent swimmers.

Along with their staff and independent therapists, Cindy and Ailene directly serve the Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire communities. Due to the demand for their services and the success of Swim Whisperers® methodology, they began by offering live workshops to other therapists and swim instructors. In 2006 they realized the need and importance of having trained swim instructors in adaptive swimming techniques all over the world, and thus launched their online multi-level Swim Whisperers® Certification Program.

The Swim Whisperers® program and methodology stands above the rest by training instructors not by disability, but by the most common roadblocks faced by swimmers of all abilities. The program easily integrates with any existing swim curriculum, strengthening it and empowering swim instructors to better serve the special needs population.

By recognizing the underlying problem and using our toolbox of strategies and techniques to overcome the roadblock, swimmers of all abilities are able to learn to swim faster and with less discomfort. They gain the lifelong skill of being safe, confident, and independent in the water. The confidence and independence they gain extend outside the pool to their everyday life.

Co-founders Cindy and Ailene continue to work with students every day as Aquatic Therapists and Swim Instructors. Direct contact with students allows them to further develop their techniques and strategies. They continuously add new and vital content to the Swim Whisperers Certification Program through their ongoing interaction with clients as well as the continuous feedback loop they have at their 20 locations throughout New England. 

What are Adaptive Swim Lessons?

  • Specifically trained and certified instructors identify and address the underlying issues of each swimmer
  • Armed with the Swim Whisperer toolbox of Strategies, Swim Angelfish instructors assist swimmers of all abilities, including those with special needs, to overcome obstacles and learn to swim without discomfort
  • We provide personalized 1:1 private lessons


Contact Head Instructor, Jenny Hanselmann, at [email protected] for inquiries and openings. 


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