OxiClean pitchman on mission to help adults swim in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – He’s the nationally known, highly motivated pitchman for OxiClean and convinces people to buy all sorts of things on late-night infomercials, but can pitch-man Anthony Sullivan convince anyone to loose their inhibitions and jump into the deep end?

“It’s something that I am passionate about. I love to swim. I’m passionate about all the products I have every pitched on television and to be honest swimming is the greatest product I could ever pitch,” Sullivan said after warming up in the pool.

But a one-on-one swim lesson was the challenge Sullivan, a newly certified U.S. Masters Swim Coach took on as he helped his first student, twenty-three year old Ashley James into the water at North Shore Pool in St. Petersburg.

“Ashley has zero skill level when it comes to swimming. Her skill level was almost drowning when she was younger. So no one taught her to swim and she has been afraid of the water to go out on the deep end,” Sullivan said.

So Sullivan broke out what he calls his “cheat sheet,” a laminated piece of paper with exercises on both sides to help students like Ashley learn how to breath, float, tread water and exit a swimming pool.

“I have always loved going in the water. Loved it. I will jump in a pool. I will go to the beach and go in the water but I will never go to a deep end because I would drown,” Ashley said looking into the deep end.

“For me to come down and teach someone like Ashley how to swim and break that sort of fear and just watch her take those first few strokes and see the big smile on her face. It makes me want to get back up in the water tomorrow and take this a step further,” Sullivan said after giving Ashley her first swim lesson.

As for Ashley, she competed for the title of Miss Caribbean United States earlier this year and says she wants to continue the swim lessons and go back home to St. Croix, visit her mom and go snorkeling in the ocean without using the kiddie arm floats.

“My lesson today was awesome. Anthony Sullivan was definitely a really great coach and I am very proud to be his first,” Ashley said laughing as she got out of the pool.

April is national Adult Learn-to-Swim Month so if you are interested in learning to swim or becoming a U.S. Master’s Swim coach, here’s a link to find an instructor or program near you.

For more information, visit usms.org/learntoswim.

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