With his strong passion for swimming, Michael Kerr aims to create a confident lifestyle for the youth.
Michael Kerr was a part of the first graduating class from Renaissance Middle School. When the school was still on Munn St. at Immaculate Conception, gym classes were hosted at the Montclair YMCA. After many lessons, Kerr instantaneously fell in love with swimming. After three years, the Aquatics Director, William Wilkinson, had extended Kerr his very first job. To Kerr, Wilkinson was a great mentor. Ever since then, on and off, Kerr has been teaching and coaching at YMCA since 2000.
“Living and working in Montclair for the majority of my life has been a special experience. I’ve seen this town grow, evolve and get busier. The sleepy suburb has worked hard to become ‘where the city meets the suburbs,'” said Kerr.
As he exudes Montclair pride, Kerr was employed at Montclair Bread Company baking bread under the former owners, Sally and Will Reinhardt, back in 2008-2009. As a member of Glen Ridge Volunteer Ambulance squad from 2012-2015, Kerr responded regularly to Montclair when the Montclair Ambulance Unit was busy. Currently, Kerr works at Edgemont Montessori as an aide in the kindergarten classroom. He has an excellent time assisting such a wonderful group of teachers and witnessing the students explore the world around them. His position is truly self-rewarding.
“My life has always revolved around water. Whether it was swimming with my grandfather, who was a lifeguard instructor through the 1930’s, or doing laps with my mom at the Montclair YMCA back in middle school. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that there are those that can move through the water with exceptional skill and grace,” said Kerr.
The Swim Club‘s Head Coach of Montclair State University, Joe Mulvaney, was Kerr’s coach back when he use to swim competitively in high school. To his surprise, the opportunity presented itself to Kerr as he was offered his first coaching job alongside his former coach. Together, the amazing duo displayed an excellent amount of teamwork, always putting the passion first among the students. After taking two years off to join the Peace Corps, Kerr returned in 2012. As he worked with the college for another season, he also signed up for the Montclair YMCA Dolphins. This past school year was Kerr’s third year as the Head Coach for Glen Ridge High School and this summer would be his fourth as the Co-Coach at Glen Ridge Community Pool. A special thank you to Wright & Robinson Architects for the Glen Ridge Community Pool’s recent renovations that has been admired by all.
“I know I’ll always be involved in swim education in some capacity. Peace Corps had an immense impact on this decision as well as my direction as a coach/teacher/mentor. I spent two years in Lesotho, southern Africa where I taught swimming to local youth and boat safety to community fishermen. Having the opportunity to help a community help themselves and improve the quality of their lives was very special for me,” said Kerr.
Kerr’s proudest accomplishment was in the Peace Corps. “I was working with youth impacted by HIV/AIDS,” said Kerr. “One of my star students spent months working hard to develop his confidence in the water. Eventually he felt comfortable enough to go swimming in the local reservoir without supervision. While he was swimming around, he came across a friend of his struggling in the water and saved his life.” He exudes astonishing characteristics that clearly make him worthy of being a great role model for the youth.
Swimming is all about having fun while staying active. There is always something new to learn or do in the water. Always stay safe, always look out for weaker swimmers and always share your passion with those around you
Michael Kerr’s final remarks were, “To those interested in swimming as a hobby, you’re never too old to cannonball. To those interested in swimming as a competitive pursuit, always strive for technical perfection and always find something to be proud of when it gets tough.To those interested in swimming as a coach, absorb as much information as you can from the internet and find a mentor to help develop your own philosophy.”