MEET
OUR TEAM

Get to know your local Saf-T-Swim leadership team!

Cindy Helsley, Vice President

I recently joined Saf-T-Swim as Vice President, having previously spent 25 years as an Operations Executive in retail and consumer goods companies. I am excited about joining Saf-T-Swim, whose 35 year mission of teaching kids life-saving skills, and whose dedicated Instructors and staff, many who learned as kids to swim at Saf-T-Swim, are passionate about making a difference in their student’s lives every day. At Barnes & Noble I worked closely with K-12 Schools, providing educational in-store programs, fundraising, and book drives. I also volunteered as a mentor in a program for underprivileged kids. Through that experience I realized the importance of supporting our kids by building their confidence and giving them the skills necessary to navigate an ever-changing, competitive world. Experience at top notch retailers enabled me to deliver sustainable results across key performance areas and become adept in overseeing a wide variety of operational responsibilities focused on delivering outstanding customer service and optimizing employee development and performance. I received my MBA from Pepperdine and BA from the University of California, Los Angeles. When not traveling to my favorite cities in Mexico, Europe and across the U.S., I enjoy volunteering, spending time with my husband, Randy, sailing, gardening, and swimming!

Chris Gagne, District Manager

I was hired in April of 1991 as a swim teacher while I was in college and rose through the ranks to the District Manager position. I recently finished year 29 at Saf-T-Swim, working on 30. I am the husband to a beautiful woman who manages our Riverhead facility and she gave me 3 beautiful children, Brody, 10, Hudson, 6 and Piper 2. After receiving my bachelors degree in biology and finishing year 3 with Saf-T-Swim, I was offered management position at the East Northport (now Commack location). I went on to manage the Syosset, East Meadow and Port Washington locations before being offered the DM position. I truly love what we do as a company and what I do and feel a sense of accomplishment and reward providing the life saving services that we give. I feel even more a sense of reward from the relationships we, as a company and me, personally, develop with our students, their families and our staff.

Bobby Hazen, District Manager

I have been working for Saf-T-Swim for 22 years, I love what I do. I love developing relationships with my families, my students, my employees, and my colleagues. I helped develop an early education water safety elementary school campaign and program called “ReesSpecht The Water” using our Saf-T-Swim mascot SPLASH. I am a proud member of National Drowning Prevention Alliance. I am currently on the board of directors in United States Swim School Association and ReesSpecht Life. I am a former member of the USSSA Infant Toddler Committee. I graduated Tarpon Springs, Fl high school in 1985, did a few years of college and still am a loyal Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan and season ticket holder. I moved to Long Island in 1987 and am happily married 22 years to my beautiful wife Lisa and together we have an amazing 13-year-old daughter. My passion has been to teach every child life saving water safety skills, so maybe one day we can End Drowning Now and have no more horrible tragedies. I love what we do and look forward to helping educate every Long Island family and child To Love and Respect The Water.

Vinny Gerstel, District Manager in Training

Hi my name is Vinny Gerstel and I am currently the District Manager of the Deer Park, Melville, and Westbury locations. I started at Saf-T-Swim in August 2004 at the East Meadow location and then went on to manage the Deer Park, Coram, and Melville locations before becoming a District Manager in December 2019. I have two amazing children, Scarlett age 7 and Keegan age 6. We enjoy going to the pool/beach, playing games, playing Mario kart, and watching movies. In addition, I have two bonus children also Rhea age 4 and Devaney age 2 and I have been fortunate to be a part of their lives for a while now. I also have a wonderful girlfriend Chelsea. In our little time away from the kids we enjoy going out to eat, binging shows, and going to the movies. I fell in love with what I do at Saf-T-Swim because of the nature of the relationships we develop. Seeing the families come in week after month after year and watching the kids grow is the absolute hands down best part of the job. The relationships I have personally built over the past 16 years is what keeps me coming back for more. Of course seeing the kids obtain the necessary life saving water safety skills is amazing too and when you see them do it at a young age and be so confident you know it’s a job well done.

SAF-T-Swim
SWIM SCHOOL

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