About Kate Purnell

Hi, my name is Kate Purnell and I am the owner of Central Virginia Swim Services. I am a lifelong swimmer and have been teaching swim lessons for over 18 years. I grew up in Lake Monticello, located outside of Charlottesville, and started my aquatic career as a lifeguard at the local pool. Shortly after I started lifeguarding, I began teaching swim lessons. By my senior year of high school, I was in charge of coordinating the learn-to-swim program at a local fitness center. I continued teaching swim lessons part-time throughout college, growing my skills and passion for teaching others. 

After I graduated from college, I worked at Stafford County Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. I worked there for nearly five years as an Aquatic Programmer, supervising pool operations which consisted of a large learn-to-swim program. During my employment at Stafford County, I obtained my American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Trainer Certification and trained many new instructors to lead our learn to swim classes. During my last summer with Stafford County, we were offering over 100 private swim lessons in a week across three different pools. 

After I left my job with Stafford County, I relocated to Charlottesville at the end of 2018. While working full time at a new job, I completed my last semester of graduate school in May 2019. Since my new job was no longer in aquatics, I was determined to find a way to keep teaching swim lessons. I also needed an additional source of income to quickly pay off my graduate loans. 

I put a post on Facebook that I was offering private swim lessons from my client’s own backyard. I started with two clients and then grew to 6 in 2020. At the end of summer 2020, I started social media posts as a sole proprietor under “Kate Teaches Swim” to reach more clients. I also expanded my services from just private homes, to community pools. By April 2021, I was fully booked and I hired my first instructor in May. Together, we taught over 300 high-quality swim lessons over the summer. 

After a busy summer and a high demand to continue swim lessons over the school year, I started exploring options. I formed an LLC using a name that allows for growth. I found a pool to rent space from and started offering year-round private swim lessons. 

I am excited to continue this journey of bringing a high-quality learn-to-swim program to Charlottesville and the surrounding area. 

Kate Purnell
Kate Purnell