Ready to get in the water? Great. Please email me for additional information on becoming a more confident and joyful swimmer.


270 Channing Way, #3
San Rafael, CA 94903


This site serves as introduction of Suzie Dods as a swim teacher and coach, provides her qualifications as a swimmer and teacher, and provides a summary of her offerings and swim philosophy.



Stepping off into the deep end...

Suzie Dods

I finally did it.

I quit my desk job.

I’m committed to coaching full time at a lovely facility in the East Bay.

It’s a dream job. It’s outside, it’s with swimmers and non-swimmers. It has youth and maturity. It has the challenge of making me become a better coach and teacher.

I was scared at first and now I’m excited.

I still look back at MY first swimming lessons as what I DON’T want to happen.

Yesterday I was able to get in the water with some munchkins and give them some personal attention vis a vi their buttterfly kick. After just a couple of tries, they got it and I was sooo excited.Got to pick up a little one and play “washing machine” as a reward.

For the un-initiated “washing machine is bobbing up and down and around ( like a washing machine “ but with the added benefit of throwing them up in the air a bit to make a splash.Tryit… it’s fun.

Changing careers at 58 is a big step, but the joy I have from being in and around the water is a joy I can’t replicate anywhere else.

WINTER Creeps in...

Suzie Dods

Winter is creeping in and with it the urge to hibernate and eat. 

I could get away with the eating if I was swimming a bit. Yet, once again I find myself teaching and coaching more than swimming. I miss the feeling of being fit and of being pleasantly tired enough to go to bed at a decent hour and sleep well. I just have not found the drive to want to actually make time to swim. I'm only slightly worried about it. I figure it's just another stage and when something comes along that tickles my fancy enough I'll start to make time.

In the interim, I'm coaching at Richmond Plunge , I'm coaching at the Claremont ( dream come true!) and I am aiming to walk up Fillmore on a daily basis. THAT is a challenge!

The  24 Hour Relay is approaching and I need to start to get that sorted. We already have two trinkets! It's sold out again, which just blows my mind.

Sadly, we have no overseas participants this year, but I kind of understand that.

Here's to a fun, healthy and happy  2018. 

If you care to share this site, it would be most appreciated.


Suzie Dods

I've been thinking a while about what exactly I am teaching. Am I teaching swimming ? Am I teaching confidence? Am I teaching myself?

And the answer is , yes.

I've had a spate of adult beginners, people who are extremely fearful of the water, pool water much less open water. I've had a fair few REALLY good swimmers coming to me to learn the "secrets" of open water. I've had adult masters learning new skills. In other words, the gamut of a teacher.

What has struck me in all three instances is that every single one of these people HAS the SKILLS to do what they want to do. I'm not teaching them skills at all. In fact , in the case of the open water ,most of them are faster than I am. This may be due to them wearing a wetsuit, my being so out of shape it's not funny or a combination of both but either way, they are faster than I am.

So, what am I teaching? Skillwise, nothing . I am encouraging them and in some cases gently forcing them , to DO what they already physically can do, but their minds are not allowing them. I'm no psychologist but you have to wonder why . I also wonder why and how I got confidence right?

I am by no means introspective, probably the least meditative and introspective person you'll find but I do wonder about this. 

I truly believe that it is my parents who helped me be this way. My father, an imposing person both physically and mentally, my mother- smart as a whip and funny with an ability to make anyone feel welcome,both of them were encouraging when I started swimming. ( I know my mother loved to go watch the swim meets, probably because the speedos on the young men in those days could fit on a pinhead)

Neither of them were encouraging in what I would consider the traditional manner but more along the lines of " you can do whatever you want to do'. I have heard of people whose parents told them "you can't do that because you're a girl" (truth!)

My parents had high expectations. Do well in school, go to college, be considerate of others, be polite ,try new things and do whatever you love doing. Those little things breed and build confidence, day in and day out. 

Confidence , trust in one's self, a desire to do... whether it's a lap in a pool or the English Channel, it starts with confidence, not necessarily skill.