Anita Pope

I was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Florida when I was 5. I grew up in Alachua, Fl (outside of Gainesville). After graduating college and getting married in 1997, I moved to our beautiful community where I remain today. I have been involved in athletics since a child and continue to enjoy them daily. I love attending local fitness classes, biking, yoga and any outdoor activity. I also love the beaches and the beautiful waters for boating.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
My husband and I moved to the Lakewood Ranch area in 1997. We have three children. Parker,18 who just graduated from Lakewood Ranch High school, Paxton,17 who attends Lakewood Ranch High School and Ingrid, 12 who attends Nolan Middle School. As a family we love spending time with our two dogs and our horse. We enjoy spending time on our boat or just going to the beach.

Q: Please tell us about your current, past, or future career. What do you love most about what you do?
Upon graduating from college with a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology, I worked with the Sarasota County Head Start program as the Social Service Coordinator. However, my first experience with Infant Swimming Resource was so profound that in 2004 I became a Certified ISR Instructor and began teaching these life-saving skills. Since 2004 my job has not only been to teach your child ISR Self-Rescue and swimming skills but to create in our community an awareness of water safety. In 2012, I took my passion for teaching these life saving skills and opened Swim Gym of Lakewood Ranch off of Lena Road. I am personally and professionally committed through public education to be a voice for vigilance around all aquatic environments. I continue to teach and also train new instructors for Swim Gym and Infant Swimming Resource, our national company.

Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in our community?
We are blessed living in this area with all the wonderful restaurants. I love Valentino’s Pizza, Lucky Pelican, the Granary and First Watch as a start. Honestly, there is no shortage and so many more that we enjoy.

Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
I have lived and worked in the area for 23 years.

Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
It’s the parents that I see daily at Swim Gym. I have met so many amazing families from all walks of life. The parents who have lost children to drowning or other tragic accidents. The parents for have lost a spouse or are fighting a terminal illness and still make the commitment to ensure their children have these life saving skills. These are the people who I find deeply intriguing.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I have always wanted to visit Australia for the sole purpose of seeing and holding a Koala Bear.

Q: What is one of your favorite movies? TV shows?
Green Book, 20/20

Q: What advice would you give to people?
Follow your own advice

Q: What is something on your bucket list?
Go to Australia and hold Koala Bear

Q: What is your go to band when you cant decide what to listen to?
George Strait

Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community?
On Main Street in Lakewood Ranch there was a book store called “Little Book Worms” where my kids and I spent so much time when they were little.

Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
George Strait, I just love him..his music..his story.. The Granary because I love pancakes for lunch.

Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
The endless beaches

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
I see myself living here and teaching children to learn life saving swimming skills.

Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
When I read a magazine I always read it back to front.

Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
Spain

Q: Favorite month? favorite holiday? and best single day on the calendar?
December, Christmas and the day I found out my cancer was gone in 2004.

Q: What would you rate a 10 out of 10?
Our community

Q: Who inspires you to be better?
My mother, my kids and my swim families.

Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
The ocean breeze and fresh baked bread

Q: Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Family, friends and food