Kilpatrick Athletic Center & Adult-Learn-to-Swim Month

At Bard College at Simon's Rock, the Kilpatrick Athletic Center pool fosters an aquatic community for all ages and levels. We use locally sourced spring water and maintain a minimal level of chlorination; this leaves our water soft and without chemical smell or taste, while also making it safe to swim in.


The fully-equipped locker rooms are spacious and spotless. Our goal is for everyone who walks on the pool deck to feel that there is a place for them in the water, regardless of age, fitness level, or physical limitation.

Our dedicated staff of professionals, led by Aquatic Administrator Jim Hennessey and Swim & Aquatic Safety Coordinator Bill Meier, offer the most up-to-date training and exercise techniques available. All of our team coaches, swim instructors, and aqua fitness teachers utilize their individual styles and expertise to a common end: creating satisfied pool enthusiasts.

A Volunteer-Based Program

April is Adult Learn to Swim Month, a volunteer-based program administered by the U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS), that offers free swim lessons to adults in 30 states around the country.

This year, the two Berkshire County USMS teams-the Simon’s Rock PaceMakers and the Pittsfield YMCA Polar Bears-are coordinating their efforts to serve a larger population in a more efficient and convenient way.

Adult Learn to Swim Month Saves Lives

Designed by Bill Meier, coach of the Pacemakers, this program helps adults gain the swimming skills that can save their lives. These skills not only prevent drowning, but they also encourage adults to make swimming part of a long-term healthy lifestyle.   Together, Simon’s Rock and the YMCA are bringing swimming skills to a broader range of the community.

A Unique Partnership

This unique partnership will not only facilitate better service to the community, but also show that the combined strength of two organizations with different missions can have a greater impact overall to everyone’s benefit.

In March, the teams got together to review the instructor training. To celebrate the collaboration between the two teams and to foster a sense of shared mission, the teams met at the Kilpatrick Athletic Center for a fun dual swim meet and post-meet brunch at the end of March. Swim classes will be offered at both facilities throughout the month of April.

A Program Started with Twelve Volunteers

The April program was started by the Simon’s Rock PaceMakers Masters Swim Team in 2012 with twelve volunteers from the team teaching over twenty residents of the Southern Berkshires how to swim.

In 2013, fifteen additional teams throughout New England joined the PaceMakers in offering adult swim lessons. With recognition and promotion by USMS, 2014 saw April is Adult Learn to Swim Month become the main outreach program for the organization. To date, adult swim lessons taught by volunteer Masters Swimmers are offered in over thirty states in the United States.

Adult Learn to Swim Certification Program

Spurred by the success of the volunteer lessons, USMS created an Adult Learn to Swim certification program that, after three years, has over 1,000 instructors in its ranks. The Kilpatrick Athletic Center’s Bill Meier, coach of the PaceMakers, designed and wrote the program and manual for this new offering.

About the Author
Bard College at Simon's Rock is a residential four-year liberal arts college located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Bard College at Simon's Rock invented Early College and has been attracting inventive minds ever since. To learn more, visit