Coach Brian Botzman Featured in The Columbus Dispatch
Allison Ward, The Columbus Dispatch - Photos by Nicolas Galindo, The Columbus Dispatch

Coach Botzman is providing 100 free swim lessons to 100 Black children this summer! His goal is to introduce water safety skills and swimming techniques to expand horizons and save lives.

When Sarai Westbrook walked into the pool at Columbus School for Girls earlier this week, her body tensed — and not just due to the cold water.  

Having never had formal swim lessons before, she hesitated even to dip her face in the water, especially without plugging her nose with her hand – a habit the 12-year-old had whenever she went under.  

“Don’t hold your nose,” said Brian Botzman, her instructor for the one-on-one lesson. “You’re taking away one arm that could be doing work.” 

After only about 30 minutes in the water, Sarai was transformed  bobbing underwater without holding her nose and remaining in a "ball float" position for six seconds. She was even pretty close to being able to swim a backstroke.

All the credit, she said, goes to Botzman, head swimming coach at Columbus School for Girls and the owner of Unified Aquatics Club.

“He was patient,” said Sarai, who just finished sixth grade at Franklin Woods Intermediate School in the South-Western City Schools district. “His instruction really helped.” 


Throughout this summer, Botzman hopes to have many more similar interactions in the pool with other children who might need an introduction to water safety and swimming techniques. 

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