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water safety education, swim team, drowning prevention, toddler
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Alaska's Only Private
|Welcome to Swim Like a Fish!
Open in Anchorage and Wasilla!
907-563-3473 Anchorage 907-357-3573 Wasilla
Copyright 2008-2013 Swim Like A Fish, LLC
January 7, 2013
In 1979 when I was 9 years old I had my first experience with drowning. It was a family gathering
on a warm spring day in Southern California at my grandmother’s house. We had a pool party; all
the kids were swimming except for my 2 year old cousin, she was sick that day.
After swimming, we all went inside to eat; we were starving after a day of swimming. We all sat
down to eat when suddenly I heard a desperate scream. The scream of a mother, my aunt found
my 2 year old cousin floating lifeless in the water. My dad, uncle and a few others jumped in, pulled
her out and started CPR.
It was too late. She was gone. Adelina Hernandez, b. March 21, 1977 d. April 8, 1979
This is the kind of experience that changes the path of a 9 year old. This is the kind of experience
that made me passionate for a cause.
What I do is more than teaching people to swim. It is called drowning prevention.
I first started teaching swimming in 1986. While teaching at other programs I saw a need for a
swim school in Alaska. I knew I would open a swim school in Alaska some day, and in 2004 I did it.
Hello, my name is Jeannette Menchinsky and I’m a small business owner in need of assistance. I
own Swim Like A Fish, LLC. Alaska’s only private swim school. We teach all ages to swim in a
warm and safe environment. Swim Like A Fish is a private swim school and from 9am to 9pm that
is what we do, teach people to swim. I have two locations in Alaska and I plan on opening more
throughout this great state.
I have lived in Alaska since 1982; I graduated from Dimond High School and attended UAA. I love
Alaska and all it has to offer. I have two girls ages 24 and 11 and a wonderful supportive husband
who is brilliant at Aquatic facility design and maintenance.
I am also the daughter of immigrants. My father is from Argentina and my mother is from Cuba. My
parents came to this country with great hopes and an entrepreneur spirit.
My parents are retired business owners and my sister owns a salon here in Anchorage. We were
raised with visions of the American dream. With hard work, imagination, prayer and sacrifice we
can bring a product or service to the community, we can provide jobs and give back to the
Small business owners are a different breed, we are passionate, sacrificial, persistent and
In 2011 Swim Like A Fish suffered some major setbacks. It all started during the planning of the
Wasilla Swim Like A Fish. We found the perfect location and started the plan review with the DEC
in August of 2011, it was an uphill battle to get the approval for the Wasilla Swim Like A Fish but in
May of 2012 we were finally able to open for business and start teaching people to swim. The plan
review process for Wasilla prompted the Municipality of Anchorage to review our Anchorage
permits. The plan review for Anchorage was not complete. In December of 2011 the Municipality of
Anchorage revoked my permits for Anchorage and made me do a whole new plan review for the
Anchorage facility. Without due process, no advance notice or warning. The health department
showed up with a sign that said “CLOSED BY ORDER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND
HUMAN SERVICES”. We had to hire an engineer and architect to help us with the demands of the
city. They required us to do a new plan review which included a review by Development Services.
We were closed for two months and were able to reopen but with conditional permits. The city of
Anchorage wanted us to make some changes to the facility. During those two months it was
mostly paperwork that was keeping me closed. No life, health or safety issues. My frustration with
the city grew and so did the bills. I knew it would take at least two years to recover financially from
I am a small business owner who works hard and is passionate about what I do; I am not a
wealthy person. My goal is simple, to teach people to swim.
The closure was a great setback, financially we were invested completely in the Wasilla location
and the added costs of architects and engineers were huge. The loss of income for us personally
was also a great setback; friends and family came to our aid. Not having enough money for gas or
food was very real to us.
In order for the business to survive this setback we had to cut our pay. You see, we still have to pay
rent, utilities, employees, supplies, etc. Our pay was the sacrifice we were willing to make; we sold
my car and cut back on any unnecessary personal expenses. We were able to give ourselves our
first paychecks in December of 2012; both my husband and I currently make $10 per hour.
Small business owners are the risk takers who show up and provide a product and service to the
community. We are the ones who make the morning coffee, provide janitorial service, provide
clothes, appliances, fuel, haircuts, and many other products and services that have become part of
our daily lives.
Private businesses employ people and then those people pay taxes i.e. payroll, property, sales
etc. This country needs small business. Without small business our country would have
shortages of food, clothing, and various products and services. Even communist countries have
allowed more private sector businesses to thrive because of shortages in products and services
Government, state and city departments need to work with private business to keep our economy
healthy but many times business owners find that they have to defend themselves from
government, state or city. Government, state and city organizations are necessary for public safety
in the form of police and fire and protecting the public with rules for construction and sanitation. But
sometimes these agencies abuse their power. When you have a public sector with no
accountability and too much power then private business suffers.
Recently I read an article in the Anchorage Daily News about the Matanuska Creamery and its
default. A company representative said one cause of the downfall was the large commercial
equipment they bought that was too big for a small creamery. I can’t help but wonder if the State
agency in charge of the plan review made them get this equipment. That is what happened to the
Swim Like A Fish Wasilla plan review. We were forced to purchase larger equipment than was
necessary because the inspector needed the formula to work on paper. We tried to convince them
the equipment was sufficient and when it came time to hook this equipment up it was too powerful
and put a worker at risk. We had to go with the original equipment that was proposed but the
damage was done, the extra expense and time was our loss. No accountability from the state. It is
difficult to weed through a bureaucracy that has no accountability. A plan review and a business
plan often work against each other.
Small business is essential to the Anchorage economy; just imagine your daily routine. How many
of the places you visit are private business and how many are state/city run? I agree that
government, state and city agencies are necessary but I also know that we should work together to
improve the quality of life for the people of this community. I have heard too many stories about
contractors, restaurant owners and builders who are frustrated because permit offices are working
against them instead of working together to help businesses thrive and keep Alaska a healthy and
welcoming place for small business.
Swim Like A Fish is the type of business that makes a difference, we save lives here. We teach
people an important skill that can save their lives. Drowning rates are high all over the world and in
a state like Alaska if you don’t make an effort to learn how to swim then many adults grow up not
knowing the basic skills to save themselves or their children.
My name is Jeannette Menchinsky and I own Swim Like A Fish swim school and I teach people to
swim. I do it because I have seen a two year old swim to safety and I have seen a two year old
drown. I do it for my cousin and many other victims of accidental drowning. I do it for the two boys in
south Anchorage who fell into a frozen pond; I also do it for a man who drowned in a lake on the
Kenai Peninsula. I believe that what I do makes a difference and I need the public’s help to do it.
We need a facility upgrade to better meet the Municipality of Anchorage Code requirements. The
city has given us a list of items that we need to work on and we need the money to make those
Swim Like A Fish Swim School offers a very important service to the community and we would like
to offer this service for many more years to come but we need your help.
I humbly ask for your help. We need $200,000 now. This will pay for the permits, Architect,
Engineer, contractor and equipment. We need just $20 from you! That’s right we are launching a
If we can get just 10,000 people to give us $20 we can pay for upgrades to the facility. Your gift of
just $20 will help us keep Swim Like A Fish open and compliant.
You can stop by our Anchorage or Wasilla facilities, or you can mail in your gift. Below we have
established a Pay Pal account.
Swim Like A Fish, LLC
6250 Tuttle place, Suite 4
Anchorage, AK 99507
Thank you for your help, I look forward to providing this great service to our community for years to
Founder/CEO Swim Like A Fish, LLC
Swim Like A Fish swim school is Alaska's only private swim school and we are the best! Over the years
we have taught thousands to swim and we look forward to being the number one choice for generations
We teach all ages from 3 months to adults in a warm, safe environment that is ideal for swimmers of all
ages. We are passionate about drowning prevention and our goal is to make sure all Alaskans know at
least the basics to save themselves and their loved ones.
Call us today! 907-563-3473 in Anchorage and 907-357-3573 in Wasilla.
We are a salt water facility! Swim like real fish do!
We sanitize using an innovative salt water system that’s better for pool maintenance and the safety of
our staff. Our swimmers enjoy the soft clean water, and our facility costs are reduced. Salt water
systems are a very efficient way to keep our pool clean and safe.
20 Dollars from 10,000 People Campaign Button
|We are raising money for
needed facility upgrades!
Thank you for your