On a summer day that flip-flopped between sun and rain, Julie Bragg was surrounded by children in the pool at her north Macon swim school, also her home.
As she tried to get them into the swing of the day’s swim lesson, a few were crying. Or at least not cooperating.
“Is there anything wrong with Turner, other than his head?” Bragg asked the mother of one fearful child.
It’s a common scene for Bragg, who’s been known to throw uncooperative children into the pool and was even once called the “Swim Nazi” by her own son.
It all began 44 years ago with the novel luxury of a backyard pool when her family was living in Monroe, Louisiana. Bragg not only was worried about the safety of her children but also for the safety of the neighborhood kids. One class in water safety later and she was on what turned into a lifelong path.
In fact, her teaching career may have begun even earlier. She remembers trying to teach her neighbors to swim by a kiddie pool when she herself was only 9 or so.
“I stood on a stool and dived into their sidewalk and knocked myself out,” she said, “But I was teaching them how to dive.”