Family Members All Take Swimming Lessons

My Y Story: Dapo Olagbaju

Family Members All Take Swimming Lessons

Y member Dapo Olagbaju realized it was time to learn to swim when he had a scary experience while wading in the ocean at Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts. “I almost drowned. A few minutes before, my son, daughter, wife, and I were wading in the shallow end of the water and even took pictures. I continued wading in the water, unaware I ended up at a deep end with no footing.

This was very surprising to me as I am 6’6” tall and stood tall above the ocean a footstep ago. I felt myself going all the way down; I panicked and screamed for help. I don’t know what I did to propel myself back to the top of the water, but that didn’t last long, as I found myself quickly going down again. I continued struggling to keep myself afloat and screamed for help whenever I could. My daughter was so scared I could hear her scream. The third time I came back up for air, a guy came to my rescue by stretching his hand, I grabbed his hands, and he pulled me to shore. I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing my daughter screaming Dad!! My wife tried her best to hold it together at least, but scared and how worried everyone looked,” he said.

Dapo shared that his wife saw what was happening from the beach, “She was so shocked she didn’t say anything. My guess was that she didn’t want to further scare the kids,” he said.

The Olagbaju family lives in Westford, Massachusetts. Dapo’s friend at another Y in Framingham suggested Dapo take swimming lessons with the family at the Y since we were already looking for an opportunity prior with another company in Westford. Dapo and his wife, Augustina Garrett, have two children: daughter Ademisola (age 11) and son Jaison (age 6).

Dapo Olagbaju childrenDapo enrolled his children in swimming lessons at the Nashua Y in January. He and Augustina are also taking swimming lessons. “One of the main reasons I was desperate to learn is because we love vacationing in the Caribbean with the beautiful ocean all around; not knowing how to swim defeats the purpose of being around water. I started looking for an opportunity to enroll the family at the Y in September but could not get into any classes until January 2023. I was highly motivated because of my experience of almost drowning. I have been extremely careful around water. I always wore a life jacket after my near-to-death experience; I felt my life flashed before me.

Dapo takes lessons from (Aquatic Director) Allie Thomas. “I had trouble floating at first because she said, “I am too muscular to stay afloat.” I’ve gone from the shallow end to the deep end using one noodle. It’s been a big jump for me. My next goal is to get rid of the noodle and swim without it. This entire process has been one of our best experiences as a family doing this together….It is a blessing to be introduced to the Y,” Dapo said.

“Every Wednesday, I take the kids to their swimming lessons at the Nashua Y. They are always so excited and ready for their lessons. They are doing extremely well in their Y lessons. Their swim teacher Haylee (Dolan), challenges them every week, and I am so proud of both of them. I see the difference in their stride each week, they are building on their strengths,” he said.

Besides taking swimming lessons, Dapo runs 3.5 miles on the track regularly and lifts weights. He also loves the dance group exercise classes he has taken. “I’ve never taken classes like these before! I love Barbell Burn with Brooke and Cardio Dance with Michelle!” he said.

“The Y is a great place for our family,” Dapo said. He is so happy that his entire family will be much more prepared for the upcoming beach vacation and lake time.

Dapo Olagbaju with swim instructor Allie Thomas“It has been so amazing to be a part of the Olagbaju family and their experience here, all learning how to swim. When Dapo first started with me back in January 2023, he could barely swim 5 yards. Fast forward to today (April 2023), Dapo is now swimming a full length of the pool with one noodle and even made it to the deep end ½ way with no floatation. Most recently, Dapo came with his kids during school vacation, and it was such a great experience for the kids to see their parents progress in their own skills, too! The look on Ademisola and Jaison’s faces when Dapo floated on his back was so heartwarming, those kids have such great role models to look up to, in Dapo and Augustina. Every single week, Dapo and his family inspire me to continue to give back and motivate individuals of all ages to learn how to swim, have fun, and still be safe around the water.

Allie has watched Augustina also progress in her lessons and even teases Dapo, “You better step up your game or your wife will be ahead of you soon!,” she said.



Stay up to date on what's happening in your community! Subscribe to our blog for events, announcements, and stories.

If it's not what you expected, unsubscribe at any time.