July 8, 2009

the man in the straw hat.

You've heard of the horse whisperer
& dog whisperer
& possibly the baby whisperer

But have you heard of the kiddie swim whisperer?

Meet Mr. Bonetti. The man in the straw hat.
Charisma & Energy

Knowledge beyond description

& Super Sweet

He's pretty much the most amazing swim instructor known to mankind.

x 1000

Kid after kid after kid...learning to swim from this guy.

Sign-ups in January?
Have you ever heard of such a thing?

Last year, I did not sign up for swim lessons in time for the infamous Mr. Bonetti. So we signed up with some local teenagers, who pretty much carried Calvin around the pool the whole time. Crying.

Finn fared a tad better...but he was still a frantic, lurky, jurky swimmer at best.

And when Finn was swimming up and down vertically, rather than horizontally, they had the audacity to tell me he was a "sinker" because he did not have enough body fat to keep him afloat.


The reason Finn was a sinker was because he was not forcing his head and eyes down properly.

After witnessing my friends' kids swimming like fishies, I decided to give this guy a try too.

I signed up in January for swim lessons in June.

John and I took turns bringing them to swim lessons, for 9 days. It was the most entertaining and fascinating highlight of my summer. Each lesson was only 10 minutes long. Yes, only 10 minutes per boy.

But those were the most effective 10 minutes I've ever seen.

Right off the bat, I knew he was my kind of guy. He would shout to my boys,

"Get in the pool Punkin!"
or just "punk" for short.
He even calls his wife punkin.

And he would emphatically say,

"Look at my eyes. Look at my eyes. I'm not going to drop you. You are going to be ok!"

"Am I going to drop you? Noooooooo!" he would repeat a thousand times. Or every time Calvin started to wimper.
He made certain they felt 100% safe with him.

And every time my boys would make an accomplishment of any kind, Mr. Bonetti would start wildly splashing the water in excitement shouting "way to go boy!"

He was able to anticipate what my boys would do, even before they did it.

In just 90 minutes total, they learned how to:

breathe properly underwater,
and put their arms in the water like an arrow
kick their legs underwater
do some minor arm motions
jump off the side
reach the side of the pool if they accidentally fell in

but most importantly,




  1. WOOO HOOO!!!! Isnt it wonderful to have swimming kids... Laurie taught Eli in a week and we worked with him at my parents pool last summer and he totally got it.. He jumps off the diving board and swims everywhere.. Its such a great feeling.... Congrats Finn and Calvin!!!!

  2. ok, that is DEFINITELY amazing!! He sounds wonderful. No wonder you have to sign up in January. I didn't even bother with swim lessons for my girls this summer because I've been so disappointed in the past. Maybe I need mr. Bonetti too! :)

    your pictures are so sweet. yay for your little swimmers!

  3. Totally signing up for him next year when Aubrey meets the 3 year old age cut off! Great job boys!

  4. i just fell in love with him! So sweet!

  5. WOW will you PLEASE post a reminder in January for us all to sign up!

  6. I am so praying I can squeek Swee'Pea in at the end of next summer for lessons! He us already such a little fish and has no fear, I am hoping that helps him to take to lessons well!!! Yeah for your boys!!

  7. i'm pretty sure that I now want to marry this man and this was only a post about SWIM LESSONS lol! How fantastic that you've found such an incredible teacher!!
    This post was so sweet!! Congrats to your little fishies!!

  8. How have I never heard of this man? Will you please, please e-mail me his contact info? HisKids37@sbcglobal.net Thank you!!

  9. yeah yeah yeah for mr. bonetti! he is quite famous and I can't wait for henry to be old enough to join in the fun=) SO glad it was better for the boys then last summer!

  10. So cute! Isn't he a teacher too??? I remember the name... and I remember that all the girls were big fans of him!

    Hope we can find somebody as awesome as him when Rowan is ready for swim lessons!

  11. That guy is a legend :) Way to go boys!

  12. You're right he is priceless!

  13. ah! how cool!! way to go boys!

  14. Oh. My. God.

    Mr. Bonetti was my swim coach in high school! He used to yell at me, "Syyyyyykeeeesss! I don't know how you walk on those chicken legs, let alone swim with them!"

    Ah, good times!

    If you see him again, will you please tell him Sarah Sykes (Walsh now, but he wouldn't know that) says hi?

  15. Is this an ISR class? I've been hearing so many good things about those classes.

  16. I sorts teared up reading this post!! Way to go Mr Bonetti AND brave boys- you must be proud!

  17. Where is he and can I sign up now! How amazing...10 minutes. That's great that you found him and that he made the boys feel comfortable. There's nothing like a good swim teacher.

  18. See Sherm-yes he is a teacher! I think he teaches history or something. I bet he's amazing at that too!

    Sarah! how funny! i wish i had chicken legs:)

    Lisa--what is ISR? He's just a private swim coach that knows his stuff!

  19. OMG!!!! AMAZING!!! will he come to my town too pleeeeeeeease?!?!?!!!

  20. What a fabulous dude in a fabulous hat.

  21. Hi! I'm Justin and Barbie's cousin and totally stalk your blog - but had to comment because I definitely learned to swim from Mr. Bonetti! He was the inspiration for six years of competitive swimming! I can't believe he's still doing it!!! How fun :)

  22. this had me all teared up. I'm terrified of the water but desperately want my girls to learn to swim and not be afraid. I need a Mr. Bonneti I think!
    Your boys=precious. love their bravery.

  23. What a sweet post! We will HAVE to use him when Peyton gets a little older. SUCH CUTE PICS!

  24. I.HEART.Mr.Bonetti!!!! hands down my favorite teacher at BHS...YAY!

  25. I wonder if I could fake not knowing how to swim? Having someone splash and make a lot of noise over my accomplishments sounds wonderful! :)

  26. Perfect tribute to Mr. Bonetti. Tess plays swim teacher and makes James be Mister Netti. I keep waiting for one of them to yell, "Get on over here PUNK!"