Mary Jackson’s, Director, swimming experience started at the age of five months with her parents, Jack and Sherrill Nelson, realizing the importance of starting young.  The sport of swimming was an integral part of growing up in the Nelson household where swimmers from all over the world were considered part of the family.  Once learning how to swim, Mary was a member of the Pine Crest Swim Team where Coach Nelson taught in the late sixties and seventies.  When Coach Nelson was
contracted by the City of Fort Lauderdale in 1974, Mary at the age of 5 began swimming at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.  Her swimming career continued while growing up taking her to numerous Junior Olympics and State Championships.  She was a member of the Fort Lauderdale High School Swim Team; as well as the Fort Lauderdale Swim Team.  In 1988, Mary continued her swimming at the University of Miami.

Mary first began teaching children how to swim at the age of 16.  Throughout high school and college, Mary excelled at being one of the Fort Lauderdale Swim Team’s most successful instructors combining both her knowledge of swimming and her gentle encouraging approach with children.  Her college career eventually led her to San Francisco, California, where she graduated from San Francisco State University with both a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Arts and an Elementary Education

Eventually in 1998, Mary’s path led her back to her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.  She took on the position of Office Manager
for FLST which included managing office staff, accounting, scheduling and customer service while at the same time getting back in the water to teach.  With the development of the Jack Nelson Swim School in 2003, Mary has helped to improve, develop and organize the comprehensive learn to swim programs that JNSS offered.

In 2004, upon Coach & Sherrill’s retirement from competitive swimming, Mary began to expand the aquatic programming offered at the swim school.  At that time, she brought on Dan Vawter to serve as Head Coach.  Together Mary and Dan dedicated themselves to developing safer, smarter & happier swimmers no matter what the age.  With new programs like water therapy, disability swimming classes, “Access to Success” Scholarship and water aerobics; the Jack Nelson Swim School quickly became the premeir learn-to-swim and aquatic development program in South Florida.

Building upon the foundation started by Jack & Sherrill Nelson, in December 2007, Mary led the way for the next generation of swimming excellence with the opening of AquaChamps Swim School in Wilton Manors.  Mary has been a educating others in the Swim School Industry through several speaking engagements with the United States Swim School Association and
the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.  Mary continues to give presentations and speeches about infant & child swimming as well as drowing prevention to numerous parenting groups and schools in South Florida.  Continuing the swimming tradition begun by Coach & Sherrill Nelson, AquaChamps Swim School is a safe, fun and friendly environment for children and adults to enjoy a variety activities.  AquaChamps is the place for “Building Champions In & Out of the water!”

Mary and her husband, Tom, are the proud parents of two beautiful girls, Rose & Ella, who love to swim.