About Team Aqua

Ready, Set, Swim!™

Aqua Essence Swim Academy is a leading swimming school focused on helping students of all ages – from infants to seniors – feel comfortable, strong, and competent in the water.

Since its launch in 2002, Aqua Essence has trained thousands of swimmers in Manitoba, under the leadership of Rishona Hyman, BA, MA, MSW.

The Academy offers a variety of program options in swimming, babysitting courses, leadership courses (in and out of the water), lifesaving and first aid training.

Aqua Essence’s 40+ teachers are guided by “Ready, Set, Swim!™”, the Academy’s proprietary curriculum. The program is designed to ensure that all teachers employ best practice with their students. The program ensures consistency, continuity, rigour, and fun. “Ready, Set, Swim! ™” provides a common language for students and instructors – a common language, with uncommon results.

Thousands of Manitoba families (and beyond) choose Aqua Essence every year.

We promise expert instruction, patience, and an unwavering

commitment to promoting excellence, safety,

and a true love of swimming.

Meet the Leadership Team

Rishona Hyman

B.A., M.A., M.S.W

Rishona has been teaching swimming since 1995. She started swimming in parent-and-me classes when she was 6-months-old has always found the water to be a soothing and calming place. Her deep appreciation for what a proper swimming education can do for a person has driven her career.

Much of her life has been spent in and around the water. She dabbled in synchronized swimming, played on the provincial water polo team, and has worked as a lifeguard on Lake of the Woods (Ontario), Lake Kalamaka (British Columbia), in Winnipeg, and in Israel.

Rishona launched Aqua Essence Swim Academy in 2002. In 2018 Rishona took her passion and love for swimming and launched the Ready, Set, Swim! Foundation, a charitable organization that removes all barriers and gets swimmers in the water. The organization’s mission is to prevent drownings and teach swimming and water safety to those who are most in need. Since the very beginning, she has strived to meet the needs of her students and their families. As a mom herself, she understands the needs and interests of parents. She’s passionate about safety, about excellence, and about leading a team of instructors who can inspire confidence in the water.

Phone: (204) 275-AQUA | E-mail: rishona@aquaessence.ca

Sari aqua essence leadership team

Sari

B.A., Human Resource Management Diploma and Management Certificate

Sari joined Aqua Essence Swim Academy in 2003, as the first swimming  instructor Rishona hired. She taught swimming while attending High School and University.  Sari re-joined Aqua Essence full time in 2012, as the Human Resources Lead/Office Manager. Sari is passionate about swimming, water safety and ensuring Aqua Essence has the best team of instructors and staff!

Phone: (204) 275-AQUA | E-mail: office@aquaessence.ca

Julia

B.Comm. (Hons.)

Julia started working for Aqua Essence as a swimming teacher in 2013. She taught many families throughout high school and university until she received her Bachelor of Commerce from the Asper School of Business. Julia is still a member of Team Aqua – just in a different role. She is our Director of Marketing and Sales! Other than marketing, you can find Julia working out, enjoying nature, and performing musical theatre shows! 

Phone: (204) 275-AQUA | E-mail: julia@aquaessence.ca

Mitchell

BA

Mitchell has been with Aqua Essence since 2013, and in a management role since 2017. He loves teaching Aqua’s leadership programs like WSI and Bronze Awards. Mitchell has a deep love for music and loves to play guitar and sing! He graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2017 with his B.A. 

Phone: (204) 275-AQUA | E-mail: mitchell@aquaessence.ca

Cristina

Cristina is a graduate of St. Mary’s Academy and the University of Manitoba, where she earned a Bachelor of Commerce Honors degree in finance. She has lived and worked in Winnipeg, Toronto, Calgary and St. Louis. She started her own bookkeeping business in 2005 and has a diverse, international client base. She has served as treasurer on a few non-profit organizations and enjoys volunteering her time. She is the proud mother of her four children. She has been with Aqua Essence since 2010 and has enjoyed seeing all the changes and growth and looks forward to its continued success and being part of what the future has in store. 

Phone: (204) 275-AQUA | E-mail: office@aquaessence.ca

Meet the Team

Jason C.

JasonC

Jason is pursuing a nursing degree at the University of Manitoba. He started working with Aqua Essence In the Spring of 2016. Jason loves teaching swimming and front crawl is his favourite stroke. Outside of swimming, he loves CrossFit, dancing, and gaming with his friends.

Danielle B.

Danielle B

Danielle is pursuing a nursing degree at Université de Saint-Boniface. She has been working for Aqua Essence since 2017 and enjoys teaching elementary backstroke. Out of the pool, Danielle loves playing both piano and hockey.

Ashley G.

Ashley G

Ashley is studying at the University of Manitoba. She has been a part of team Aqua teaching swimming lessons since 2017. At the pool, Ashley enjoys teaching water safety. In her free time, she likes to read and play volleyball.

Emily G.

Emily G

Emily started teaching at Aqua Essence in 2017. Emily has completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Winnipeg and she is currently in the faculty of Education there studying to be an English teacher.

Peter K.

Peter K

Peter started teaching at Aqua Essence in 2018. His favourite stroke is Front Crawl. Peter attended French Immersion. In his spare time, Peter enjoys playing school and club volleyball. He also plays two instruments- the piano and alto saxophone.

Sam K.

Sam K.

Sam started teaching with Aqua Essence in 2015. He is currently attending the University of Winnipeg. In his spare time, Sam likes to play hockey, swim, and go camping. His favourite stroke is elementary backstroke.

Kyra K.

Kyra K

Kyra graduated from the IB program in 2020, and now attends the University of Manitoba. She is working towards becoming an architect and is enjoying all of her design courses. She likes to spend time with her friends and family as well as train her foster dog. She uses her free time to watch movies and play cards; her favorite game is cribbage. She joined the Aqua Essence team in 2019, but has been teaching since 2016.

Jack T.

Jack T.

Jack started teaching at Aqua Essence in the Spring of 2018. He is pursuing a Kinesiology degree at the University of Manitoba. In his spare time, Jack enjoys running Track and Field for the University of Manitoba Bisons. His favourite swimming stroke is elementary backstroke.

Ben V.

Ben is pursuing a Bachelor of Science at the University of Manitoba with focuses in Microbiology and Chemistry. He started with Aqua Essence in 2017. Ben enjoys cycling, adventure racing, and volleyball. His favourite stroke is elementary backstroke.

Tyler S.

Tyler started teaching swimming in 2020! He has taken swimming lessons with Aqua Essence since he was 4 years old. He is a student at Gray Academy! In the summer you can find Tyler at the cabin or at BB Camp!

Alex H.

Alex is a grade 11 student at Shaftesbury High School. She has been teaching with Aqua Essence since 2019. In her spare time, she loves to dance, bake, and travel! Her favourite stroke is front crawl!

Caitlyn C.

Caitlyn C

Caitlyn started teaching with Aqua Essence in April 2018. Her favourite thing to teach is first aid and water safety skills. She is a primary care paramedic, and in her free time she likes to cook and go to the gym.

Adriana K.

Adriana K

Adriana started teaching at Aqua Essence in 2013. She is a student at the University of Manitoba. In her spare time, she likes to play guitar and spend time with family and friends.

Soleil L.

Soleil

Soleil Lussier has been working at Aqua Essence since 2018. She plays guitar, piano, ukulele, and she is a vocalist. Soleil was homeschooled from preschool – Gr. 12. Her favourite colour is lilac. Soleil mentioned that she LOVES to eat sweet things. Soleil says that “working for Aqua Essence is the best job I(she) could ever ask for.”

Annika M.

Annika

Annika has been working for Aqua Essence since 2018. She currently studying Linguistics at the University of Manitoba. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music and is trying to learn how to cook.

Hope M.

Hope

Hope started teaching at Aqua Essence in 2015. She is a student at the University of Manitoba. In her spare time, Hope likes to play soccer and spend time with friends and family. She also enjoys spending time at her family cottage and going to the beach in the summertime.

Kai P.

Kai

Kai started teaching at Aqua Essence in 2018. He is studying Physics and Chemistry in school. In his spare time, Kai enjoys playing the piano, bass clarinet, and viola. His favourite stroke is side stroke. You can find Kai teaching swimming, as well as our Red Cross Babysitting Course.

Gabe P.

Gabe

Gabe started teaching at Aqua Essence in 2018. He is a student at the University of Winnipeg, majoring in Criminal Justice with the hopes of becoming a police officer. In his spare time, Gabe enjoys playing Rugby for the University of Manitoba Wombats. His favourite stroke is front crawl.

Kristiana S.

Kristiana

Kristianna has been teaching for Aqua Essence since September 2018. She is currently studying at the University of Manitoba with the hopes of becoming a Speech Language Pathologist. Her hobbies are collecting sneakers and meditating. Her favourite part about teaching is helping first time pre-school swimmers progress into confident swimmers.

Stephen S.

Stephen

Stephen started teaching with Aqua Essence in 2012. He is a student at the University of Manitoba. In his spare time, Stephen enjoys fencing and track.

Emily W.

Emily

Emily started teaching with Aqua Essence in 2019. She is currently studying at the University of Manitoba. She plays the trumpet, piano, and guitar. Her favourite stroke is back crawl.

Jessica R.

Jessica is currently studying at the University of Winnipeg. She started working with Aqua Essence in the fall of 2020. In Jessica’s spare time she loves camping and spending time outdoors.

Emma W.

Emma W

Emma is currently pursuing a Kinesiology Degree at the University of Manitoba, with hopes of entering into the Masters of Physiotherapy program after her degree. Emma has been teaching swimming lessons since 2016, and started working with Aqua Essence in 2020. In her free time Emma enjoys golfing, spending time with family and friends, and being active! Emma’s favourite swim stroke is front crawl.

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