Bo Tanner

Dawn “Bo” Tanner is her name. What’s so inspirational about her? She’s a swimming instructor at a boys’ boarding and day school. Most people won’t think that an old lady of 58 years of age would be capable of teaching. Well, that’s not the only discrimination that Bo received, she is not just 58 years old, she’s also in a wheelchair.

Even though she contracted polio as a 9-month-old baby, she didn’t take life bitter. She remained a strong individual and viewed her disability as an ability rather than a hindrance. Eventually, she overcame all odds and made the swim team in her high school. Apart from that, she was named as the most inspirational athlete in her high school.

After getting married and having kids, she became a lifeguard and conducted swimming lessons at a private airport. Then, she was appointed to coach a US Swimming-registered swim team in Western Massachusetts. One fine day, the swim coach at Eaglebrook, Rick Goerlitz, called Bo with a specific problem: A young girl suffering from spina bifida wanted to swim. Bo went down to the school and got in the water to help the girl. The girl’s mother believed that without a float, her child would not be able to swim. However, by the end of the lesson, the girl was swimming without a life vest. In 2003, Bo coached the disabled USA team at the Junior National Games in Adelaide, Australia, where the same girl took the victory. Till now, that girl still holds the  US record in the under-20 year-old group for the 500-yard freestyle event.

Bo Tanner

Presently, she is still at Eaglebrook school, where she coaches the swim team, dive team, and water polo team as well as teaches sports and nutrition, lifeguard training, Games and CPR. For a longer version of the article, you can check it out here.

If an old lady in a wheelchair is capable of such achievements, everyone is too! It doesn’t even matter if you have a phobia of water. The most important thing is that you have the heart. With that, you’ll be able to accomplish anything in life that you set out to do. Bo is such a inspiration and motivator to the people around her, so why shouldn’t you too? If she can swim, so can you. Check out our available lessons at and perhaps one day, you’ll be able to share your story too!