Bryant's Jordan Cosman sits in the Fisher Student Center.
Jordan Cosman ’28 will take his enthusiasm for helping people to the next level this fall as he pursues Bryant’s 3+3 Juris Doctor program.
First-year student makes a splash with swim program for individuals with disabilities
Jul 02, 2024, by Emma Bartlett

Jordan Cosman ’28 has always had a passion for swimming and teaching others how to stay safe in the water. That’s why, in his junior year of high school, the incoming Bulldog contacted his hometown’s Parks and Recreation Department about expanding its swim program and teaching individuals with disabilities the fundamentals of swimming and water safety.

“The program stemmed from my brother, who has severe autism and is nonverbal,” says the native of South Windsor, Connecticut. “There really aren’t many swimming resources out there that are directly targeted toward individuals with disabilities.”

A swimmer since age seven, Cosman spent the past four years as a member of his high school’s varsity swim team and was named captain in his senior year. When he wasn’t propelling himself through the water during practices and meets, Cosman worked as a swim instructor at Veterans Memorial Park.

Receiving grant funding for his proposed initiative, Cosman spent the winter of his junior year developing an adaptive curriculum that could cater to each student’s needs depending on how they were feeling that day and what they were willing to try. Signups launched several months later, and the program filled within 15 minutes. After an hour, says Cosman, the waitlist was double the program size.

“The demand showed me the importance of the program and that it was something the town needed,” says Cosman, who was eager to start working with his nine new pupils.

Cosman’s swim students ranged from a six-year-old child with Down syndrome to a 75-year-old man who had age-related tremors and never learned to swim but wanted to do so for his grandchildren. The sessions were two weeks long and each swimmer received eight 30-minute private lessons.

According to Cosman, the program consisted of six levels. In the beginning, he worked on making sure each swimmer was comfortable and understood the dangers surrounding water. After that, they’d work on strokes and kicks and progress onto floating and treading water. The more advanced levels focused on increasing endurance and getting to a point where the individual was swimming without help. The last level highlighted the competitive side of swimming.

Taking his enthusiasm for helping people to the next level this fall, Cosman — who aspires to be a lawyer — will pursue Bryant’s 3+3 Juris Doctor program within the College of Arts and Sciences. Created in partnership with Villanova University, the accelerated program allows direct entry into law school for qualified students.

“It’s a great opportunity to pursue because I've always been interested in the business side of law. Combining those two interests was big for me,” says Cosman, who served as his high school’s class president and contributed to a voter registration drive. “The ability to advocate for people and give them a voice in very difficult times is something I hope to do.”

Reflecting on the college search process, Cosman says he was adamant about attending a big school. When his mom suggested he tour Bryant, he pushed back; however, once he arrived on campus, he fell in love with the university.

“It was the atmosphere — everyone here seemed happy. I came on a hot day, and everyone was around the pond with their friends,” Cosman says. “That sense of community was a big draw for me.”

Attending Orientation this past June, where the sun reflected off Bryant Pond as groups of first-years bonded throughout ice breaker activities, Cosman enjoyed immersing himself in the college experience and receiving a sneak peek of the campus’s day-to-day operations.

“I'll definitely feel more comfortable coming back here on August 29,” Cosman says. “I got to meet different faculty and staff members, so having friendly faces around when I first get here is helpful. Also, having met a bunch of other students, I'll now have people to go to the dining hall with or hang out with.”

Until the day he starts unpacking boxes in his first-year residence hall and looks to join clubs like Mock Trial and Student Government, Cosman will serve as pool supervisor for Veterans Memorial Park. After the success of his program last season, the initiative is returning with more instructors.

“Seeing the growth of your students is a very rewarding experience,” Cosman says. “Having been on the lifeguard side of things and seeing, unfortunately, countless rescues have to happen, making sure everyone has the ability to learn how to swim is important.”

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