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WABC founder - Virginia Hunt Newman Passes
Memorial Service Jan. 16, 2010 in Hollywood, Calif.

Virginia Hunt circa 1950

20 November, 2009

WABC is sad to report that this morning 20 November, 2009 Virginia Hunt Newman passed. She was 89, and though a long time resident of the Los Angeles area had several years ago moved to be near her son and his family outside of Chicago. She enjoyed visits by and conversations with family and friends even recently. 

Newman, who put the name "World Aquatic Babies Congress" (WABC) to the biennial conference held for learn to swim directors and teachers since 1990 and added the name also to the organization she started 3 years later - became famous for teaching babies and young children to swim, authoring books for each of those age groups in the 1960's. 

Notoriety also came for teaching a 2 year old who was at the time in the early 1960's the youngest to earn the American Red Cross Beginner level certificate. The student was one of the children of the famous Hollywood actor and singer Bing Crosby.
Newman had served as WABC chairman since 1999 and attended WABC conferences as recently as 2007.
A memorial service is planned for January 16, 2010 in the West Hollywood area of Los Angeles.  The service will be at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. at 11 A.M.   Virginia Hunt Newman Wilkerson.

For an overview of Virginia's swim career see

Virginia Hunt Newman Obituary
March 16, 1920 - November 20, 2009

Virginia Hunt Newman, long time resident of Los Angeles, died November 20, 2009 at the age of 89. Widely known as the "mother of infant swimming," she pioneered and focused world-wide attention on the non-forceful, non-traumatic method of teaching infants and preschool children to swim, earning great respect as an innovator in the field.

She began her career in swimming at the Indianapolis Athletic Club. From 1940-48 she was a diver for the Los Angeles Athletic Club. She swam and dove competitively, earning National Titles in both. During WWII she performed in water shows with Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe for the USO. In 1950, she wrote and directed a series of springboard diving films while working as an aquatic director and swimming coach at the Black Fox Military Academy in Los Angeles.

In 1962, she gained international attention when her star student, Bing Crosby's daughter Mary Frances, passed the Red Cross beginner test at age 2, the youngest child ever to be awarded the certificate. Red Cross Honorary Chairman Johnny Weissmuller presented the certificate to Mary Frances on national television, with coverage by Life, Look, and Time magazines. This was the catalyst for Ms. Newman to compile her methods of non-traumatic teaching into the 1967 book, "Teaching an Infant to Swim," an international best-seller published in the United States, England, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, and Japan. "Teaching Young Children to Swim and Dive" was published in 1969.

Her method of teaching swimming by distracting children from normal fears associated with learning has been emulated by thousands of instructors worldwide. Some of the thousands of children Ms. Newman taught include those of John Wayne, Bob Hope, Alan Ladd, Bob Newhart, Sonny and Cher Bono, Sheri Lewis, Danny DeVito, and Rhea Pearlman. She owned and operated Newman Swim Academy in Hollywood from 1973 to 1982. Founder and former director of the World Aquatics Babies Congress, she conducted numerous national and world clinics and workshops on teaching children to swim. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as a Contributor in 1993.

She is survived by her children Edward (Monica) Newman and Patty (Dan), and her grandchildren Natalie, Nicholas, and Samuel Newmann, and Laurel, John, and Matthew Anderson. A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 16th, at 11:00am, at Hollywood Funeral Home 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood, Calif. Donations may be made to International Swimming Hall of Fame.

> June 2008 - SwimBabes headed to Japan - seeks support



May 10,2008

Dear Friends and Sponsors,

Our School is Oregon’s first swim school.  We are internationally known As Developmental Educators who specialize in Aquatic Education and Safety Skills for Infant and toddlers.  For over 50 years, Our SWIMBABES family has offered a high-quality learning environment in a multi-cultural setting for children of all backgrounds, including those families who have had “special needs children” to the Portland Metro area. We also host International Workshops To help educate Aquatic Educators worldwide about cutting edge programming from Around the world and to keep abreast of research.

In 1980 we formed SWIMBABES World’s Youngest Swim Team To promote and educate families and the medical field about the importance of Aquatic Safety and to provide unique and   exceptional Aquatic Safety for Infants and Toddlers.  For the past 28 years SWIMBABES teams have worked in Benefit raising thousands of dollars for individuals and organizations that work in fields of Children’s Health And Safety. Last year we raised funds to assist Banner Children’s Hospital in Phoenix Arizona for their cutting Edge research program in pain management for terminally and seriously ill children.

 This focus has started in our community but has also expanded to the   World Wide Community.   

We see our mission as “children helping children” 

 This year we have received Honorable Invitation to demonstrate our unique program In a first baby-to-baby transpacific aquatic cultural exchange at The World Aquatic Babies Congress JAPAN 2008 held at the Westin Castle Nagoya November 21 & 22 2008. Hosted by Niko Saito, Saito Aquatic Academy. In Oct of 2006. Ms Saito honored us as guest presenter at a recent World Aquatic Babies And Children Summit hosted by SWIMBABES International Workshops. Over 60 World Aquatic Leaders from 20 different countries attended and   acknowledged her contribution to our international community for her most unique and visionary work.

 This invitation is an exceptional learning opportunity for all of us as we learn from each other in a true family-to-family, child to child International cultural exchange. Sharing our unique music and aquatic skills along with the importance of our safety message with the unique music and aquatic skills of little ones in Japan will promote understanding and bonding between families at an International Level.

 This is the first time ever to our knowledge that any group of families with babies and very young children have attempted such a venture.

 We are very excited about the potential good favor between countries that we believe

Could help lead the way to greater understanding and caring between countries.


  I personally am reminded of the saying

“ that a little child shall lead them”

We would like to ask you for your support.

 We are seeking first of all a representative from the Japanese American Society to travel with us to Nagoya to meet the Mayor of Nagoya and to honor Nagoya with invitation to our Beautiful City of Portland as well as to exchange good favor between our community and the Japanese Community  of Nagoya.

We are also seeking sponsors to help with our children’s travel Fund. 

We are also seeking y donations of items or services by way in support of our upcoming Event In Nagoya.  This will not only help us but it will give our community a unique opportunity to promote their Items or services by way of silent auction at the SWIMBABES center to be held through out the month of May until the end of June.   We have over 400 families along with their Guests who visit our center on a weekly basis!


Please contact me at 503 698 6935   or at my e-mail address

If you have any questions. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

 Thank you for your support,

 Jackie Young/ Founder/Director


11106 SE Azar Dr

Oregon 97086

503 698 6935

Please see our Press Release on You Tube!










SWIMBABES admits students of any race, color and national and ethnic origin.







> November 8  WABC looks to future

With a very nice gathering held in St Petersburg, Florida USA Oct. 21-23, 2007 WABC looks to the future.

Regarding our regularly scheduled conference for 2009 a site has not been named but will be in a few weeks...before the December holidays.

On October 25th Steve Graves issue the following call (via email) to all WABC members ....
"For those who might be interested in having: 

(1) the WABC biennial conference in their country/city 2009 or later


(2) a WABC educational gathering on a little smaller scale in their country/city....(our general guideline is that - we go where we need to go round the world and where there is interest)....
I'd like to hear from you at this time.

Just a simple statement of interest is fine - be it for the biennial or something smaller."
Steve Graves


> June 9  Michèle Hellendorn of the Netherlands celebrating

Hello All - This Saturday I will celebrate with part of the 3000 kids I taught how to swim my tenth anniversary of the Swim school and this Monday I will be 50 years...Getting to be old. I received a Sony harddisc movie camera from my husband to use for the swimming. I will get my best present from the UK, a real Labrador from the Rocheby farm. They export all over the world.  I will go to get my third Labrador on July 9th  and travel to Hungary by car with our three Labs two days after to give my swim camp there.
Busy weeks to come.

Michèle Hellendorn


> May 29, 2007 Best bet | Summer fun, safely

Palmetto Health offering free swimming lessons, teen activities

Can’t swim? Learn for free. Palmetto Health is offering Operation Safe Swim to children and adults. Participants must be at least 6 months old, and children age 3 and younger must wear a reusable swim diaper.

Space is limited, so sign up early. Free lessons and safety tips are from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Chesterbrook Academy, 1050 WildeWood Center Drive. The Swim Lesson Co. of Columbia, South Carolina will host the lessons and expert Jim Reiser along with his certified team of instructors will teach the class.

Arrive in swimsuits and bring a towel. To register call (803) 296-5437.


> Mar.14, 2007 Children Helping Children

SWIMBABES ™ the World’s Youngest Swim Team Milwaukie Ore,  joins SWIMkids Az, Meza Arizona to  Hold a SWIM-A-THON to benefit Children’s Hospital 

SWIMBABES support BLAKE’S MIRACLE FOUNDATION to help raise money for Banner Desert Children’s Hospital

On Saturday, APRIL 14 2007 SWIMBABES, the world’s youngest swim team, Milwaukie Oregon   will add to Blake’s Miracle with a Miracle annual SWIM-A-THON and SILENT AUCTION. . The event will benefit hospitalized children at Banner Children’s Hospital at Banner Desert Medical Center in the East Valley. Meza Arizona. 

Blake’s Miracle Foundation is all about children helping children.SWIMBABES babies and children ages 8 months to 12 years and volunteers will support Blake’s Miracle annual SWIM A THON in Arizona by holding a subsequent SWIM A THON in Milwaukie Oregon.  . We are hoping that our efforts will start a chain Reaction in our community to reach out to the Arizona friends and community extending as far as to our International Associates!  .

On December 25, 2005, 21 month old Blake Whitehead was diagnosed with acute lymoblastic leukemia (ALL). After a brave 3 month fight against this disease, Blake passed away on March 8, 2006. Shortly after that, Blake’s family turned their grief into Blake’s Miracle foundation to help children still struggling with catastrophic diseases. On April 8, 2006, Blake’s Miracle hosted their first Annual Swim-a thon in Meza Arizona which raised over $22,000 and three truckloads of toys for the Children’s Hospital.

These donations were special because our friends at  SWIMkids USA’s little swimmers, ages 12 months to 12 years, swam their little hearts out on April 8th 2006 to raise this money for others in need. SWIMkids report that some of the older children (8-11) swam as many as 350 lengths of the pool, and the younger ones (3-8) swam as many as 62 laps in one half hour. The tiniest “swimmer” (18

Months - 2 years)floated in the smaller pool for as long as 46 minutes. It was heartwarming and awesome to see children swimming for other youngsters who could not help themselves. Many of the students had never swam so far.

Because they wanted to help other ill children, participants pushed themselves far beyond their and everyone’s expectations to raise as much money as they could for the hospital.

This year, the volunteers at SWIMkids USA, Inc. and their swimmers are anxious for the opportunity to raise over $50,000.00 (goal) to help hospitalized children in the East Valley. There is such a need. We need your help. 

SWIMBABES has answered the call.....we invite you too to answer the call! 

What: SWIMBABES Milwaukie Oregon support Blake’s Miracle Foundation with their first Swim-a-thon and Silent Auction to Benefit Banner Children’s Hospital.

When: Saturday, April 14 2007 starting 9 AM

Where: SWIMBABES training center. • 10552 SE 52nd Ave . . . . • Milwaukie Oregon 97222 AZ

For more information about Blake Whitehead or Blake’s Miracle please visit


To contact SWIMBABES about Blake’s Miracle Swim a thon

In Milwaukie Oregon

Please call SWIMBABES International Workshops 503 698 6935

Or call SWIMBABES training center 503 786 6250/info line

503 314 7845

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