Diving Deep into Building Capacity: The La Connexional Swimming Program (LASP) Journey

updated on 28 March 2024

Got selected to participate in an 8 week LASP swimming program. I remember day one I was petrified of the water..but by week 3 I somehow overcame that fear and made it to the deep end...I have seen some vids and pictures shared in the group of other participants and it's amazing to see their progress..Thank you Leshan...you're an amazing instructor...your patience, skills and positive drive are impeccable 💙. I hope this program continues so other people including children can benefit from the skills we are learning...Thank you La Connexional for organizing this program!

Photo by Buki Visuals of LASP Program Participants
Photo by Buki Visuals of LASP Program Participants

Nomvula was not sure she'd be able to conquer her lifelong fear of water. Then she joined the La Connexional Swimming Program (LASP). With its focus on cultural sensitivity and understanding, Leshan (LASP Lead Instructor) taught Nomvula more than just the breaststroke – it empowered her by being patient and supporting her at every step of the way.

This groundbreaking pilot program, spearheaded by instructor Leshan, was born from a vision of inclusivity and accessibility. It recognized that for many, the relationship with water is deeply tied to various fears. LASP aimed to create a safe, welcoming space for learning essential lifesaving skills while curating an environment that encourages its participants to surpass their fears.

LASP Participant and Lead Instructor Leshan | Photo by Buki Visuals
LASP Participant and Lead Instructor Leshan | Photo by Buki Visuals

Through patient instruction and culturally adapted lessons, Nomvula and others started their journey. Week by week, their initial fear transformed into confidence. The community-driven effort, supported by AIPERG and diligently coordinated by Amina, was fueled by collaboration. Imagine the dedication of everyone involved behind the scenes!

LASP's success even reached the airwaves of CBC, inspiring others. But this is just the beginning. We envision a future where everyone in our community can feel the power and freedom of swimming. A future where a program like LASP is the norm, not the exception! 


With the support of APIRG, the La Connexional Swimming Program (LASP) Pilot ran from April to May 2022. Pending funding, the La Connexional team hopes to bring back the program. The team is thankful to our first LASP cohort and to the CBC team (Mark Connolly, Tara McCarthy, Kim) featuring a story on the program's impacts.

Where's the option to give more than 5 stars?! La Connexional neverrrrrr disappoints! I have been to so many of their events and it is never a dull moment! I've recently completed their La Connexional's Adult Swimming Program (LASP) which was an 8 week FREEEEE program that teaches adults how to swim and be confident in the water. One of the goals I had set for myself this year was to gain a lifelong skill and I gained that and MOREEEE.

In week 1 - I went from being afraid of being in the water ...literally (I guess the fear of drowning mostly) to
1. Actually LEARNING how to swim ( on my stomach and on my back)
2. Gaining the confidence of being inside the water and swimming alone
3. Having fun and now planning on making Swimming my new Cardio
4. Conquering my FEAR and making swimming a means of rest and relaxation! And sooooo much more!!

I am just beyond grateful to have been given this opportunity and shoutout to the La Connexional team for making this happen! I really hope that they keep this program going as I know soooooo many people that would benefit from it! And don't forget it was Freeee....you simply can't beat that . Thank youuuuu for your time and effort La Connexional Team! GOD bless!


Laconnexional puts on the most amazing community events and programs! I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Laconnexional Swimming Program (LASP), coached by Leshan Masikonte. Leshan was such an awesome coach! He helped me overcome my lifelong aquaphobia. I am eternally grateful that Laconnexional gave me the opportunity to learn how to swim and be comfortable in the water, for FREE!

If you have never been to a Laconnexional organized event, please look them up. You won't be disappointed!

Riwo - LASP Participant

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