Our Instructors

Linda Traver

Owner and Founder, Linda started teaching Tiny Tots at the YMCA in the 1970’s as well as group exercise classes.  She holds a degree in Physical Education from NCCC and also holds certifications from the American Red Cross which include lifeguarding, WSI, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, AED, and First Aid, AEA, and the Swim University.  She is a member of the USSSA, AEA, and Idea Health & Fitness Association.  Linda attends many workshops for continuing her certifications and learning new and exciting techniques.  She has taught swimming lessons and aerobic classes for over 35 years and is an experienced “Mom”.


Julie Traver

Julie Traver is currently a teacher’s aide for the Charter High Schoolfor Applied Technologies in Buffalo. She has her Elementary Education Degree from Buffalo State College. She also teaches and choreographs ballet and is an accomplished ballerina herself. She has been teaching for Fitness First for 15 years. She is certified by the American Red Cross in lifeguarding, Water Safety Instructor, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, AED, and First Aid. Julie is always smiling and knows just how to get a child to achieve a skill through her knowledge of working with children. She is a very patient, and caring instructor. When she is teaching swim, aerobics or water fitness her grace and beauty shine.


Sue Bilquin

Sue started teaching for Fitness First in 2004. She is a 1990 graduate of Niagara University with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce. Sue is currently employed at the Charter High School for Applied Technologies in Buffalo as the Attendance Coordinator/Secretary. Her certifications include lifeguarding, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, AED, and First Aid. Sue is an accomplished swimmer herself and prefers to teach the higher levels of the American Red Cross skills. Her report with her students is fantastic as she challenges them to achieve their passing cards.


Andrea Heuer

Andrea has a long history with the Fitness First Program. She was a student herself for a great number of years and completed each level. While as a lifeguard for the program she began her training and when certified began teaching for Fitness First. She primarily teaches American Red Cross Level 1,2, and 3. Andrea earned her BA for Middle School Education and English Language Arts. She also holds a  Masters Degree in literacy, grades 7 thru 12  from Niagara University. She is a full-time middle school English teacher at a local school. She is certified in CPR for the Professional Rescurer, AED, and First Aid.  Andrea loves the time she spends with her “swim kids” in this very unique type of classroom and the children enjoy her just as well.


Kathy Zasucha

Kathy is a retired Physical Education teacher. She swam competitively in age group and on a collegiate level. She coached the Lockport Girls Swim team for 15 years. She has taught learn to swim for over 35 years. She is certified by the American Red Cross in lifeguarding, Water Safety Instructor, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, AED, and First Aid. Kathy has many different techniques when it comes to teaching. She has a knack for getting her students to understand and perform the skill she is teaching. Her love for swim shows all over as she is instructing.


Theresa Kasper

In the 1980’s Theresa began her journey into swim instruction when her children were swimming competitively for the Catholic Grammar School Swim League and the Niagara Falls YMCA. She became a Sacred Heart School Swim Coach, Lifeguard, Water Safety Instructor and supported both leagues as treasurer and eventually became the President of the Catholic Grammar School Swim League until 1997. Theresa volunteered as a swim instructor at the Niagara Falls YMCA from 1987 and when the Niagara Falls Y merged with the Buffalo/Niagara Y (2006) she became paid staff. Once the Niagara Falls Branch closed Theresa taught several sessions at the Ken-Ton Y and Independent Health Family YMCA. Then she joined Fitness First by Linda in the fall of 2015. Since Theresa retired from her post as a City of Niagara Falls Administrative Assistant she has supported Fitness First by teaching aquatic fitness, adult and children’s swim classes at Howard Johnson’s and Stella Niagara.


Nina Sweet

Nina’s love for swimming began when she was a student in Linda’s Water Babies class in 1982. Since then, she swam and lifeguarded most of her life, as well as coached the Stella Niagara swim team for two years while in college. She holds a degree in Health and Human Services, Early Childhood education from SUNY Buffalo, and certifications in Water Safety Instructor, Lifeguarding, CPR, AED, and First Aid from the American Red Cross. Nina is currently a stay at home mom and joined Fitness First in 2016. Nina is energetic, patient, and encouraging, and enjoys watching her students grow their swimming skills and accomplish goals they didn’t think were possible.