Taking the first stroke

Our Approach

So much water, so little time. Why is it that so many people don’t know how to swim? Lack of opportunity? Fundamental fear? Just never got around to it? We will meet you where you are to create skills where none existed before.

Our Story

We possess a life-long passion for swimming. The instructors have all overcome their our own fears which initially allowed us to learn how to swim, and ultimately opened the door for us to enjoy swimming in a variety of aquatic settings. Our experience is the basis for our teaching, and we want to share with you how to become a swimmer.

Meet the Team

Meeting you and getting to know you is very important to us.  We meet you where you are, address any concerns you may have about swimming, and take you from where you are to where you want to be.

Lauren Jensen McGinnis running out of the water in a wetsuit

Lauren Jensen McGinnis


Lauren brings over 35 years of experience teaching and coaching swimmers. As a Physical Therapist, she has taught many adults to swim for physical rehabilitation, cancer recovery, and improving fitness. As a world class triathlete with the race nickname of Shark, Lauren knows how to assist you in rapidly conquering your swimming goals. 

Bill Cleveland sunbathing during the snowy polar vortex
Coach Bill sunning himself during the 2017 polar vortex. He loves water, even when it’s frozen.

Bill Cleveland


Bill has been around swimming for nearly 50 years. Having taught many adults to swim in the last 3 decades, he takes a very pragmatic approach to each step in learning how to swim. If Bill cannot make you laugh while you learn to swim, then he has bitterly failed.

David Jensen


David is experienced as a swimmer and instructor. A Senior at St. Thomas More High School, David has been an enthusiastic member of the swim team. He also engages his peers to lead efforts for community action and fundraising. David loves to see others succeed and looks forward to sharing his love for swimming through Making Waves Milwaukee.

Our Instructors

Karen Frittatta picture

Karen Frittitta


Karen wants to share her love of swimming and recognizes that everyone learns at their own pace. Karen has years of experience as a swimmer, coach, lifeguard, and instructor. She brings an nurturing approach to instruction: “You can trust me to keep you safe, I want to know your thoughts and opinions, and I want you to love swimming as much as I love swimming.”

Mary Jo Driscoll


Mary Jo recognizes swimming as a life saving and lifetime fitness skill. She is an adult-onset swimmer as a form of exercise after a knee replacement. She is experienced teaching adults and children in many settings. “Don’t be afraid to try something new – you are never too old to learn. Swimming takes practice and it doesn’t always come quickly, so don’t get discouraged if you take longer than you think you should to get where you want to be, Enjoy and have fun!”

Jennifer Ardellini


Jennifer is relatively new to lap swimming but grew up swimming in the lake at her home. Jennifer looks forward to passing along her joy of swimming and seeing others succeed. New swimmers need to trust the process and watch the small increments add up to great progress. Trying something new is important, and ask questions along the way, especially with our supportive coaches. As a newer triathlete, Jennifer can relate to the nervousness of new swimmers.

Jen May


Jen is committed to having fun in the water. A regular mermaid, she has been involved in swimming for over 40 years, coaching age group swimmers for some of that time. I’ts never too late to learn to swim and she is continually learning and wants to pass that along to new swimmers. Her entire family loves swimming in both a pool and open water. She sometimes meets her kin on the beach!

Black lab Beatrice lying on the ground


Top Dog

Despite being a Labrador Retriever, Beatrice has shown no propensity for swimming. She is in training to be a service dog and will be with you in spirit as you learn to swim.

Photo of Terri Powless

Terri Powless

Tired Puppy

Terri loves helping others learn to swim. She started to improve her swimming through joining Team Phoenix. This led her to start doing triathlons, qualifying for nationals in Milwaukee in August 2020 and worlds in the Netherlands in September 2020. She wants to share the great feeling of being a proficient swimmer and all the opportunities that creates.

Next Steps…

Register now for one of our upcoming sessions. We want you to learn and we’ll get wet doing it!