Local swim coach becomes real-life superhero to young swimmers navigating new waters

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Posted at 12:44 PM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-05 12:44:30-04

CLEVELAND — There is one swimming coach who has become a real hero to his students. From student to lifeguard and finally a teacher, Coach Andre Morton’s journey to helping children who may not have access to swimming lessons all started in the pool.

Almost every child has a favorite superhero, and 4-year-old Amir is no exception.

His grandmother Lynda Nelson said he loves superheroes, especially when he can see himself behind their masks.

“He's into Spider-Man, Black Panther, Captain America,” she said. "Miles Morales, who is the melanated, black Spider-Man."

And now Amir has the real deal.

"And then we introduced him to swimming, and Coach Andre, who became his new super hero,” said Nelson.

Morton’s passion for swimming started early when his parents put him in the YMCA swimming program.

"Once I learned I picked it up pretty quickly and from there I just had a natural knack for teaching people," he said.

When the pandemic forced pools to close, Morton didn’t give up. He started a new team up with Ohio Pools and Spas, where kids like Amir can learn the ropes of the water.

"A lot of children, a lot of our children, don't get the opportunity to go to a swimming pool because there aren't swimming pools in the area,” said Nelson.

Amir’s grandmother said finding Morton has been a game-changer.

"When he's [Amir] in the water, he's amazing. He's confident, he's very assured of what he's doing and how to do it,” said Nelson.

Every day Morton said he feels lucky to make an impact in a child’s life through swimming.

"It's humbling and I'm honored at the same time,” Morton said. "My job is just to keep shining that light, keep shining that light.

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