“Swimming is the Closest Thing You’ll Ever be to Flying”
Former Collegiate Swimmer, Kate Krause, Brings Educational Swim Programs to Those Who Need it Most Through Non-Profit the Rising Tide Effect
Some people spend their entire lives searching for that one thing that will fulfill their mind, body and soul. Kate Krause is one of the lucky few who knew early on in life what would ultimately fuel her throughout her childhood and into adulthood.
Smiling, she says, “As long as I’m on this earth, I want to be swimming.”
Her mom introduced her to the water at the age of four. Right from the start, Krause loved the water. “I loved the sound of the water and the smell.”
By the age of seven, Krause was swimming competitively and was a standout in the world of junior competitive swimming.
“I’d wanted to swim in college since I was eight years old,” said Kaitlin Krause. “In my 8th-grade yearbook, where it asked what you want to be when you grow up, I put SWIMMER.”
Krause achieved one of her first major milestones at age 14 when she qualified for the YMCA National Swim Competition. This led her to join an elite swim team, Team Suffolk of Metropolitan Swimming and she knew if she continued down this path, collegiate swimming could become a reality.
Said Krause, “I understood early the work and fuel you put in your body will contribute directly to performance.”
In 2002, Krause’s childhood dream came true as she stepped onto Siena College’s campus with a full Division I swimming scholarship in tow.
Sink or swim
Not wasting any time, Krause broke out her freshman year, winning a championship title for her conference and Rookie of the Year. She was undefeated and crushed school records. She was at the top of her game.
As she entered her sophomore year, a persistent pain in her shoulder pushed her to see an orthopedic doctor. That’s when she received devastating news.
“While swimming in practice, I suffered a major, extremely rare injury called osteotomy of the acromiale,” recalls Krause. Essentially, the most prominent bone on the top of her shoulder had split down the middle.
“My athletic trainer was there for the diagnosis. I called my dad and I’ll never forget how hard I cried and screamed.”
Eventually, Krause underwent multiple surgeries to repair the break. Despite her commitment to recovery, her performance in the pool would never be the same again.
After graduation, Krause turned away from the water and pursued a job with a tier one bank. Her strong work ethic and competitive nature served her well and she saw success in the workplace.
She continued to swim recreationally; her time in the water was limited, but each time she returned, she was reminded of how the water made her feel. “When I go in the pool, I am able to focus and everything goes out.”
So in 2009, Krause made a bold decision to leave the finance industry and pursued a part time position with a premier swim school. Within 18 months, she held a full time position, and by 2012, Krause was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the company.
A cause is discovered and a solution is born
Krause spent more than 10 years building up multiple sides of the swim school business.
“I led the swim school into new communities and helped develop swim education programs from the ground up. One issue that continually popped up was that these were high cost services, and those areas that could not afford it meant their children would not learn to swim. This stuck with me.”
In October of 2021, the rubber hit the road when Krause started working on a small initiative with The Rockaway Hotel, in Rockaway NY, to bring a swim safety program to their pool aimed at low income families.
“I saw who has access and why. I saw the need.” She knew she had a skill in this area and could grow it block by block, piece by piece, into something bigger.
In 2021, Krause left her role as the COO for the premier swim school. On October 21, 2021 a 501c3 non profit organization focused on bringing free water safety education to low income areas, Rising Tide Effect, was born.
According to a study in Pediatrics, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in US children ages one through four years and is the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among US children and adolescents ages five through 19 years.
More needed to be done to lower these horrifying statistics and Krause was committed to the cause.
RTE’s pilot program kicked off in Rockaway, Queens. Like many coastal areas, the Rockaways attract those with little to no swimming skills. In 2019, seven people—all young and of color—drowned off its coast. The primary cause of drowning was lack of water education and limited life guards.
RTE hopes to chip away at the number of children and adults who cannot swim and reach those with the fewest resources.
Beyond the basics of swimming
While water safety is a core component of RTE’s mission, so too is helping young minds to develop structure, discipline and motivation through the sport. RTE hopes to give those who may not otherwise have access to water and water safety courses, the ability to enjoy and thrive in the water.
“I tell my students that swimming is the closest thing you’ll ever be to flying,” says Krause.
Beyond what RTE is doing in Rockaway, a pilot program was launched in Nicaragua and a second location in the Far Rockaways will open its pools July 2022. To date, 100 children have graduated with an introduction to water safety education.
“Our goal is to stop unnecessary drownings among the youth population, especially the disproportionate amount that comes from lower income areas,” said Krause.
“Having a clear goal and committing to it can change everything. Swimming taught me that lesson.” Krause continued, “Now we’re able to have swimming teach those same lessons to those that can truly benefit.”
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If you would like to learn more, help out or donate to the Rising Tide Effect, check out their site at www.therisingtideeffect.org.