January 2023

Vol 7: Issue 1

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The Shadelands Scene

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On May 28, 2023, American Swim Academy (ASA), originally Fremont Swim School, will celebrate 50 years of saving lives and instilling a life-long love of the water for generations of swimmers. The family owned and operated business was founded in 1973 by Jack and Donna Alberti and is still owned by the Alberti family 50 years later.

The idea of opening the original Fremont Swim School was Jack’s dream, and with Donna’s encouragement, they took out a second mortgage on their home and took the plunge.

The custom-built, indoor pool was built in a 3,000-SF warehouse in Fremont and operated May through October. Jack and his brother-in-law, Doug Johnson, taught the classes while Donna handled the books, and in their first year of business, they enrolled about 35 students. In an era of outdoor pools, Fremont Swim School was the only indoor school, which allowed for extended days, hours, and classes. 

Under the leadership of the Alberti family and a visionary management team, Fremont Swim School had expanded to two locations (Fremont and Livermore) by 1984. The following years continued to see growth, and in 1987 the Albertis sold the business to their son, Matt, who had been an employee since the age of 11.

During the early days of ownership, Matt did most of the work himself, running the business and overseeing staff and pool maintenance. In 2006, he hired MJ O'Donovan as a consultant to help take the business to the next level, and it wasn’t long before she became the COO of the company. He is the first to acknowledge MJ as the creative spark and architect behind ASA's success today in a landscape now flush with indoor pools and youth athletic organizations. While Matt is still owner/president, MJ was named CEO in 2021.

Today, ASA employs more than 350 swim instructors supported by more than 60 management and staff members. In 2022, ASA enrolled 10,300 students across all five schools. And during these 50 years, the organization still remains family owned and operated. 

The business name changed to American Swim Academy in 2006 and has grown into a highly regarded athletic organization with five locations in Fremont (1973), Livermore (1984), Newark (1995), Dublin (2006), and Walnut Creek's Shadelands SportsMall (2020). All schools are open seven days a week, year-round. 

"Swimming is a life skill,” says Matt. "It’s the only youth sport that can literally save your life.”

Matt recalls one story from a customer: “She was very emotional as she told me about seeing her toddler at the back door, soaking wet. She had been getting her house ready for a party and never saw her son slip out the back door and fall into the pool. He was able to get to the edge and pull himself out. I don’t want to think about the outcome if he hadn’t had lessons,” says Matt. “Those are the stories that motivate us to keep doing what we do.” 

American Swim Academy

Shadelands SportsMall

2650 Shadelands Drive

Suite C


Matt (l) and Jack (r) Alberti, worked together for more than 45 years growing the American Swim Academy, formerly the Fremont Swim School. Jack passed away in 2021.

Many of the school’s former students have become ASA swim instructors themselves, including Linda Bailey (l), who was an original AQUAbaby in 1974 and went on to become the director of training and development for all five schools.

The Fremont Swim School made the news in 1986 for its innovative approach to teaching water safety to babies and toddlers.

Former ASA student Kenny Oei has moved through the organization as swim instructor and current assistant director.

Matt and his team are still working on plans for the 50-year anniversary celebration on Sunday, May 28, 2023. Look for party plans in future issues of The Shadelands Scene.

Read more about the American Swim Academy in the December 2019 issue of The Shadelands Scene.


Lauren Edberg, TCRG, Director of Rohan Murphy Irish Dance Academy, launched her flagship dance studio in Danville in 2017, where she helps keep the heritage of Irish dance alive through classes, performances, and competitions.

Last summer, Lauren opened a second location, this time in Walnut Creek, in the Shadelands SportsMall at the Ultimate Fieldhouse. Here she offers beginner classes for children and adults, introducing them to the basics of Irish dance and Celtic music, with plans to offer classes for multiple levels, as she does in Danville.

"Irish dance is such a lively art form and has become quite popular as a fun activity and competitive sport, and not just in North America and Ireland," says Lauren. "The Irish people spread out across the globe in the last 300 years and we took Irish dance and music with us."

Rohan and Murphy are Lauren's mother and grandmother's maiden names, and the name of the school is an homage to them.

"They are the two women who introduced me to Irish dancing. My grandmother put me in Irish dance classes and from Day One I loved it," says Lauren, who went on to dance and compete from ages 4 to 25 before deciding to open her own school.

“Most people have two visions of Irish dance. People either picture clogging like a leprechaun or Riverdance,” says Lauren.

“The way we teach Irish dancing, performing, and competing is very different from either of those. There’s a lot of athleticism involved. Our approach is a combination of gymnastics and ballet and it takes flexibility and strength to perform the routines."

Even though Irish dance has modernized and become competitive over the last 100 years, "at the core, we are teaching Irish heritage and culture through music and dance," says Lauren. "Our goal is to share these art forms and keep them alive."

For information about classes and to register, visit Rohan Murphy

Irish Dance Academy.

Lauren Edberg (r) has been dancing Irish dance since the age of 4; was certified through CLRG, the Irish Dancing Commission, in 2013; and has been teaching children and adults since 2017.

Rohan Murphy

Irish Dance Academy

Shadelands SportsMall

Ultimate Fieldhouse

2675 Mitchell Drive

Walnut Creek


Holly Blank (right center) teaches Irish dance at Rohan Murphy's new Walnut Creek, Ultimate Fieldhouse location.

Rohan Murphy Irish Dance Academy helps keep Irish dance alive through classes, performances, and competitions.


Next month is National Cat Health Month, so it’s a perfect time to plan a visit to the vet for a wellness check-up, focusing on the health and well-being of our feline friends.

“Cats are experts at masking signs of aches and pain, and discomfort and illness for long periods of time,” says Jill Christofferson, DVM, owner of Walnut Creek Veterinary Hospital. “A cat’s natural instinct is to be stoic and to hide its pain so as not to appear weak and at risk to potential predators.

"Because of that, many cat owners trust their cat is healthy and simply don’t notice changes in habits or behaviors that veterinarians can see right away or discover upon exam."

Some cat owners don't take their cats to the vet because of the stress and challenges of getting a cat into the carrier for a car ride, says Dr. Christofferson. “The good news is that there are safe sedatives, such as gabapentin, that can ease the anxiety of a cat’s vet visit."

"Vets check cats from top to tail, checking their teeth, listening to their hearts, and feeling their bellies and glands for trauma or disease," says Allison Grange, DVM, who joined Walnut Creek Veterinary Hospital in May 2022.

Cats are fastidious groomers, so when vets see a decrease in grooming resulting in an unkempt coat, they regard this an indication of silent suffering from any number of conditions, from fleas, to skin anomalies, to arthritis or internal issues that are easily missed by owners.

"A cat's appetite can go down due to dental issues,” says Dr. Grange. “Or they become obsessed with food or water, eating all the time but losing weight, which can be an indication of hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or renal disease, which blood work can determine. It isn't just about a cat being a finicky eater or overeater."

"I see many cats with tooth resorption, where the structure of the tooth is slowly broken down, and it’s very painful," says Dr. Christofferson. "Owners don't often notice because they don’t generally look in their cat’s mouth or know how to spot dental or gum disease or fractures if they do."

Masters of disguise, cats rely on their owners to keep them safe and in good health. That means providing food and shelter, play and affection, attention to their daily health and habits, and an annual trip to the vet to maintain good health and quality and quantity of life.

Vets can determine why a cat is exhibiting subtle symptoms such as slowly losing weight, not grooming as well or as often, or little desire to move around.

Walnut Creek

Veterinary Hospital

540 Lennon Lane

Walnut Creek


Veterinarian Dr. Allison Grange listens for heart murmurs and respiratory issues.

Vets look for eye problems such as corneal damage or glaucoma, not easily spotted by owners.

Dr. Grange examines this cat's teeth, noticing tooth resorption that can affect eating habits and result in pain and weight loss..


In 1958, on a United Airlines flight from the East Coast to San Francisco, Ed Bressoud (bre-SOO, the "d" is silent), a Major League Baseball shortstop with the San Francisco Giants who was returning home from the All Star Game, met Carol Mathews, a flight attendant for United based out of San Francisco. The mutual attraction was immediate.

"I had boarded the plane and saw her back there," says Ed. "And during the flight I asked her, 'When we get back to San Francisco, would you go out with me?' She say 'Yes.'"

They had dinner at a San Francisco North Beach restaurant, saw Phyllis Diller at a comedy club, and capped the evening with Irish coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe—and married eight months later.

"We hit it off very well," says Carol, with a smile.

Together they raised a family of four, built careers they loved, and traveled the world playing golf, and this year will celebrate 64 years of marriage.

After 32 years in Los Altos and another 32 years in San Ramon, Ed and Carol decided to leave the trappings of a large house and moved to Viamonte at Walnut Creek last September 2022.

They distributed most of their furnishing and personal items to their children, who helped them through the transition, and are now enjoying their new home with new friends and adventures.

Ed's professional baseball career spanned 1956 to 1967, when he signed with the MLB right out of high school and went on to play for the New York and San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals.

He retired from baseball in 1967, the year he and the Cardinals won the World Series. His prized World Series ring is one of the treasures he recently passed on to his son. With a degree in kinesiology, Ed worked the next 20 years at De Anza College in San Jose as a coach, teacher, and division dean.

Carol retired from the airlines, but never lost her wanderlust spirit, so she became a travel agent and tour guide. And it is their shared love of travel and the game of golf that ushered in the next chapter of their lives as they traveled the world, taking people to extraordinary places to play extraordinary golf.

They traveled to Australia, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Ireland, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, and throughout the United States. For their 30th anniversary, they bought motorcycles, enjoying open roads and experiencing the world in a whole new way.

Though the golf clubs and motorcycles have been put away, the repartee between Ed and Carol and the joy they feel in each other's company continue to illustrate their lasting love as they travel through life together.

Viamonte at Walnut Creek

2801 Shadelands Drive

Walnut Creek


Ed and Carol Bressoud, married 64 years, are new residents of Viamonte at Walnut Creek.

After a few months of courtship, the baseball player and the flight attendant married in 1959.

Ed's first at bat in the major leagues was a base hit against Hall of Fame pitching ace Warren Spahn and the Milwaukee Braves, 1956.

Ed and Carol traveled the world playing golf with tour groups they organized, pictured here in Mexico in 1973.

Ed and Carol, pictured in 1974, have raised a family of four, done work they enjoyed, and traveled the world with friends and colleagues.


The food drive at Kaiperm Credit Union benefiting Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa, a nonprofit that's been feeding the hungry since 1983, continues through January 15, 2023. The big food drive barrel is located in Kaiperm's lobby, just inside the front doors at 325 N. Wiget Lane, Suite 130.

Please consider picking up a few extra non-perishables the next time you make a grocery run, and then visit Kaiperm on your lunch hour to help keep the pantry shelves stocked and our hungry neighbors fed.

Suggested items:

• Bottled water

• Peanut butter

• Mac & cheese

• Tuna, rice, beans

• Pasta, pasta sauce

• Snack cups, snack bars

• Canned proteins, fruits, veggies

Please, no glass or expired food.

Donating food is an easy way to make a profound difference in the lives of others.

Kaiperm Credit Union

325 N. Wiget Lane, Suite 130

Walnut Creek


Kaiperm food drive runs through January 15, 2023, for the benefit of our hungry neighbors.


Contra Costa Crisis Center, a longtime Shadelands member and community resource founded in 1963, is a nonprofit organization that connects anyone in need to local health and human services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by operating the free 211 Information and Referral line and the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

The mission of the Contra Costa Crisis Center is to keep people alive and safe, help them through crises, and provide or connect them with culturally relevant services in the community.

The Contra Costa Crisis Center relies heavily on its dedicated volunteers to help people in psychological or emotional distress by providing support, counseling, and hope.

One of those dedicated volunteers is Steve Grimes, who has been a Call Center volunteer since 2016, answering the 211 Information and Referral line and the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Additionally, Steve volunteers his time as a Grief Support Group co-facilitator within one of Contra Costa Crisis Center’s grief support groups.

Steve's Story:

On March 9, 1996, my family’s life changed forever. Kevin, our almost 16-year-old son, and I were on a Boy Scout outing. In the late afternoon, Kevin fell unconscious and died. He developed septic shock caused by torsion of the small bowel, a twisting of the intestine.

Early on in my grief, I would have been happy if my heart stopped beating and I could be closer to Kevin in Heaven. As I moved through my grief, I knew that there are so many reasons to remain here on Earth until it is my time to pass on.

The Contra Costa Crisis Center helped my family learn to manage our tragically changed lives by offering 8-week grief group sessions.

We met other families who had lost children. It was comforting to know that we were not alone and we learned from each other through our grief and conversations.

When I retired in 2016, I knew that I wanted to volunteer at the Crisis Center and hopefully be able to help others.

Contra Costa Crisis Center


On call 24/7/365

211: Information & Referral

988: Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Trained Contra Costa Crisis Center volunteers answer 211 calls, the toll-free number to call 24/7 for help and information about local health and social services.

Steve Grimes, a Contra Costa Crisis Center volunteer since 2016, was named the Crisis Center's 2022 Volunteer of the Year.

The work at the Center is very rewarding and I enjoy being around other people with similar values. Through work we gain greater empathy and compassion to help others. I would rather have Kevin back but I know that is not possible. I keep Kevin very close to me through my volunteer work.

Volunteering is one way to make sense of grief and to make a difference in someone’s life. Interested? Visit Contra Costa Crisis Center, or email Volunteer & Training Manager Kaitlyn Coughran at kaitlync@crisis-center.org.


Join the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce for the next monthly Civic Affairs Forum, a free and informative webinar focused on matters of economic development and issues that affect our businesses and our community.

The Future of Office

in Walnut Creek

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

9am to 10am | Virtual only

Panel discussions | Q&A

Moderated by

Ed Del Beccaro, EVP

TRI Commercial

Real Estate Services


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar. More details at Civic Affairs Forum and in the February issue of The Shadelands Scene.

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