In the Swim With Dick Cutrera
This 77-year-old Vero Beach resident has made a splash by teaching kids
to love the water.
Photography By Denise Ritchie
Dick Cutrera poses in his pool with two of his swimming pupils, sisters Liliana, 5, and Amelia, 3. Amelia clutches a floating duck which is one of the many props that Dick uses in his lessons.
“My goal each time I give a swimming lesson is to prevent my student from becoming a drowning fatality,” says Dick Cutrera, a Vero Beach resident and founder of the Dick Cutrera School of Swimming. Dick has been teaching swimming for almost 60 years and has been involved with a variety of water sports since he attended the YMCA in Chicago at the age of 6.
Born and bred in the Windy City, Dick was encouraged to swim by his mother, who raced in the Chicago River Races and other swimming events with Johnny Weissmuller, otherwise known in the movies as Tarzan.
In the summers, Dick went off to a YMCA sleep-away camp, eventually becoming Aquatic Director while still in his teens and teaching swimming to underprivileged kids. He was also a member of his high school swimming team.
When Dick left the Midwest in his early 20s, he migrated to Miami, landing a job as a swimming instructor and lifeguard at a beachfront hotel for several years. Next came the Army and a lucky break: he was shipped off to Oahu Island, Hawaii, and became an instructor in survival swimming to servicemen at the Schofield Barracks.
Read the entire article in the May 2011 issue