Meet a Mom – Marina Mentzel – Founder of urSwim | FairfieldMoms

Where are you originally from and how long have you been in Fairfield? I am a Long Island native and currently reside on the South Shore of Long Island with my family. We are about a 30 mile straight shot south from Fairfield County. We were so excited to expand our business, urSwim, into the CT market after years of answering calls from prospective clients looking for our services.


Tell us about your Family! My husband and I have been married for 6 years and have two children, Harbor (4) and Grant (3). We also have two dogs, one of which is over 150 lbs.


One thing people would be surprised to know about you? I went to law school with plans of fighting white collar crime on Wall Street.  I interned for both the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission, but after passing the bar exam I decided to take my chances with entrepreneurship.  I never regretted the decision!


One thing you wish someone would have told you about motherhood? It is a lot harder to raise your actual children than the ones you conceive in your head before you actually have them! Lol. Motherhood is not about perfection.  It is about being present and having the best view to watch your children grow.


What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Fairfield? Not Applicable, but here’s why I love Long Island (and I’m sure the same reason why many love Fairfield). My husband and I were both raised on Long Island so when considering where to start a family we both knew pretty quickly we wanted to make it home.  I went to school in Washington, DC and Chapel Hill, NC and although both places will always hold dear to my heart, Long Island, is definitely home. I am so grateful to have settled in our small, quaint coastal town in eastern Long Island.


Best mom hack that makes your life easier? I live for my Google Calendar!  My brain tends to be more inclined to do big picture thinking and long-term strategizing.  My calendar is my lifeline and keeps me focused and able to manage my time more effectively. My work schedule, family schedule, children’s schedule are all color-coded and it is how my mom brain survives.


Tell us about your business urSwim, and when & why you decided to start up this business? As a former competitive swimmer, I always loved the water, swimming and all the aquatics activities that went along with it, like boating, surfing and wakeboarding. In 2012, after posting a single ad in a local paper, I realized the demand for quality at-home swim instruction after becoming completely inundated with clients. I entered a few venture pitch competitions and urSwim was formed soon thereafter. It is so rewarding to be able to work with clients of all ages and teach this life saving skill.


Why is it important to start children young in the pool and how do you make kids feel comfortable their first time? And each time? Unfortunately, drowning is the leading cause of preventable death for children under the age of 4. Seventy-five percent of all these drownings are occurring in backyard pools.  Safety is always the number one priority when working with the youngest of swimmers.  Our goal is to make them feel comfortable in the water, respect the dangers of the pool and teach them safety techniques such as back floating, treading and swimming to exit the water. Our goal is to always make sure we are teaching and reinforcing these lifesaving skills and having some fun while in the water.


Tell us about the different classes that you offer at urSwim? urSwim is the only swim school that offers swim lessons both at our client’s homes and at our convenient indoor locations within LA Fitness. So there is something for everyone!  For our client’s that have residential pools, I think learning to swim in the environment that the swimmer will most swim in is so important to ensure a safe pool environment. We are fortunate that our services allow us to customize pool safety instructions to our client’s pools.  I think another thing that makes us different from other swim schools is that all our instructors are certified lifeguards. Not only do they undergo our training to ensure high quality swim instruction but they also have undergone over 40 hours of lifeguard training which includes lots and lots of proficient swimming.


Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable MOM GUILT handling a career and raising a family? Don’t. Don’t feel guilty. Don’t apologize. Do find support from others in similar positions. Do take time for yourself. Do what makes you happy.  I know that I am the best mom when I am happy. And growing and running urSwim makes me so incredibly happy.  It’s definitely a balance and some days are harder than others but I do feel that it gets easier the more you juggle.


Who has most influenced you to be the mom that you are today? So many.  It truly takes a village and learning from my mother, grandmothers, mother-in-law, family and friends has been invaluable. I am so grateful for the community of women (and men) I am surrounded by.


What advice would you share with a new mom or other moms? It goes soooo fast. There is nothing truer than the “days are long but the years are short”.  Enjoy every single moment.


urSwim, LLC is independently owned and operated and is not an affiliate of LA Fitness.


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