About us

Our highly trained, caring swim instructors use practiced and proven water safety techniques to provide swim instruction to young children to the best of our ability.

Desert Swim School (formerly Waterworks On Wheels) was founded in 1985 by Janice Jaicks, owner and president. Janice began offering backyard swim lessons around the city of Mesa, AZ and was the sole instructor. Now Desert Swim School employs approximately 12 part-time summer instructors for backyard swim lessons serving the entire East Valley, as well as a staff for year-round indoor lessons at three health club facilities in Arizona.

In addition, Desert Swim School provides adult swim lessons in Chandler, Arizona. Adult swim lessons are available for all levels, from beginners to triathletes!

Meet The Team!

Janice Jaicks

Desert Swim School/FitnessFest Janice Jaicks is the owner of Desert Swim School, and teaches lessons every Tuesday at StaFit Health Club (Chandler Blvd. & Dobson Rd.). Janice began teaching swim lessons in 1985 at the Mesa YMCA and found that she had a real knack for it. She immediately sought additional training and received her Lifeguard Training Certification and WSI (Water Safety Instruction) Certification. She then started teaching children all over the East Valley in their own backyard pools. Janice became so busy with this endeavor that she started training and hiring other instructors to join her team. From that time forward, Desert Swim School blossomed into the outstanding business it is today! Janice adds: “All kids are unique. I try to take their individual temperaments, including any fears or anxieties and learn for that child how to best teach him/her to swim and be water-safe. As for my instructors, I choose my staff based on experience with all ages and abilities, as well as his/her ability to understand a child’s strengths, weaknesses and psyche – when to push, when to hold back and what step to take to achieve our goals is key! The final ingredient to an outstanding instructor is someone who genuinely cares about each and every child and has patience. I personally enjoy teaching the Parent/Tot class at Fitness Forum. It thrills me to see the little ones, even at 15 months old, going underwater and kicking their little legs to get through the hula-hoop. I also love to see that child a year later doing well enough to join the “big boy/girl” class!”

Christina Haneghan

Swim Instructor Christina Haneghan, BA Kinesiology (Exercise Science), has been with Desert Swim School for over 10 years. When she isn’t working for Desert Swim School, Christina works for a cardiac clinic in Phoenix, AZ. Some of Christina’s other interests include health and wellness and sports medicine. Christina spends her free time exercising, watching sports, listening to music, and hanging out with friends and family. Recently, one of our clients shared a wonderful note with us about Christina: “We wanted to drop a note about our children’s swim instructor, Christina. She is such a phenomenal swim instructor. She is very aware of the kid’s abilities and challenges each child to his own level even within the same class. She is also firm, yet gentle, and so very patient. Kids will often try to get out of doing things that are challenging (e.g. by whining) but Christina never falls for this; she has a very gentle but firm way of getting the kids to participate. The other parents also always comment on how patient and good she is. She always stays calm even with the frequent whining or disruption (the kids that scream through entire sessions or won’t sit still). I don’t know how Christina does it! We believe that Christina is truly an asset to your school. We really appreciate having her and our kids look forward to going to swim class each week mostly because of her.” -Viviana

Connie Lagerhausen

Chandler Adult Instructor, Connie Lagerhausen has been an aquatic fitness professional and swim instructor for more than three decades, and has been certified in all areas of aquatics. She was Aquatics Director for the YWCA in Lafayette, IN, helped build the YMCA swimming program in Mattoon, IL, and has presented numerous continuing education workshops at FitnessFest conferences. As the Adult Aquatic Specialist for Desert Swim School and StaFit formerly Fitness Works Health Club,  has spent the last several years developing unique adult swim programs for these companies. Her specialties include teaching and coaching private adult lessons, which currently includes several professional athletes learning to swim for cross training, aqua aerobics, and an endurance swimming class for adult athletes of all abilities (novice to Ironman) that she leads weekly as a part of the group exercise program. Along with the experience of teaching aqua fitness and swim lessons, Connie has raised a family of athletes – placing her at the top of her game.

Rylee May

Rylee May loves being outdoors and loves kids. She worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor over the summers before joining the Desert Swim School Team. Rylee has been swimming competitively since she was 5 years old. Rylee says; "I love teaching swim lessons because I want to teach kids how to be safe around water and have fun while learning how to swim".

Suzy Irwin

Suzy Irwin is an Arizona native from Mesa, AZ that has been teaching swimming lessons for 26 years! With her extensive experience, it's easy to see that she loves this job. Suzy has taught private and group lessons, students from six months old to adults, beginners to triathletes, and also specializes in instructing clients with special needs, recovering stroke victims, and anyone that suffers from fear or anxiety of the water. Her motto is "Just keep swimming, because I will be here to help you define your abilities -- not your limitations." Suzy also enjoys teaching yoga, Pilates, PiYo, spin, and water aerobics classes. She spends free time doing stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, and just being active with her family. Suzy's husband is an occupational therapist and they have three daughters, a ten-year-old and baby twin girls that keep everyone busy. Guess what else? Suzy is a mermaid and runs the MermaidiaTails business! She says, "I look forward to working with your children so they may have the best water experience every 'stroke' of the way."

Heather Durrans

Heather Durrans lives in Chandler with her husband, three teenagers and a white fluffy dog.  She loves swimming and started swim team and lessons at age 10.  She is a proud swim-team mom. Her three kids all participated in private swim teams and her son was also a water polo player. As an adult, she herself has participated in early morning master swim teams and has participated in three sprint triathlons.   For the past 13 years Heather has taught group fitness classes and aqua aerobics classes.  In addition, she currently is a substitute teacher for CUSD (Chandler Unified School District) as well as a private piano and violin teacher.  She is CPR certified and certified in three pool safety courses.

Andrew Dixon

Andrew Dixon was born in Charleston, South Carolina. After moving to Arizona, he attended Skyline High School, was a Varsity swimmer and club team member at Mesa Aquatic Club. Andrew also served as a volunteer for Arizona Disabled Sports (ADS) and their swim program. He especially enjoys working with kids and helping them perfect their swim strokes, as well as teaching kids who are still nervous about the water. Andrew lives in Mesa and currently attends Chandler-Gilbert Community College. He will soon transfer to Arizona State University, where he plans to complete a master's degree in public policy. His ultimate goal is to work in politics, a field in which he is already very involved. Leah Carmichael is currently working in the corporate wellness field as a Senior Lifestyle coordinator at NXP semiconductior in Chandler.  She completed both her undergraduate and graduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh in Exercise Science and Exercise Physiology.  Throughout Leah's collegiate years she worked part time as a lifeguard and swim lessons instructor at the University pools.  She has spent majority of her life around the water growing up a competitive swimmer from the age of 4-18 earning All-American status as a high school athlete.  

Jacquie Kuru

Jacquie is a self starter who follows her passion with tenacity. She easily passed her qualifying swim test for Laguna Jr. lifeguard camp with 6 weeks notice.   With a 4.0+ GPA and an English Department accolade, Jacquie loves to draw for charities and volunteer.  She is also the co-founder of Uniqkool, an online custom engravings design house. Jacquie is a beatutiful swimmer, and can analyze and correct kid’s strokes very well! You’ll see Jacquie assisting in the different pools, as she interns for Desert Swim School. 

Leah Carmichael

Leah Carmichael is currently working in the corporate wellness field as a Senior Lifestyle coordinator at NXP semiconductior in Chandler.  She completed both her undergraduate and graduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh in Exercise Science and Exercise Physiology.  Throughout Leah's collegiate years she worked part time as a lifeguard and swim lessons instructor at the University pools.  She has spent majority of her life around the water growing up a competitive swimmer from the age of 4-18 earning All-American status as a high school athlete.  

Shannon (Shay) Marsh

Shannon (Shay) Marsh graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in Exercise and Wellness before starting her current physical therapist assistant program at Pima Medical Institute. She has been with Desert Swim School (formerly Waterworks On Wheels) for eight years, and has also coached gymnastics during this time. “I LOVE kids! They give me energy,” says Shay. And when she’s not studying, tumbling, or in the pool, she likes to travel for competitive kickball tournaments. Shay also claims the beach is her oasis, but Nebraska will always be home. Go Huskers!

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