SouthWest Aquatics is a private, family-owned aquatics facility in Winter Garden, Fla. It was established in 2000 to combat central Florida’s drowning statistics and provide a family-friendly atmosphere to learn proper swimming techniques. Today operators offer swim programs for different ages and skill levels.

The facility’s multifunctional layout is designed for basic training, stroke development, swimming competitions and water polo.

To accommodate each user group, SouthWest includes a 10-lane, 25-yard, outdoor competition pool. It’s functional for USA Swimming-sanctioned meets and has an advanced built-in cooling system to provide a better training environment in the summer heat. There’s also a shallow-water teaching pool heated to 90 degrees. Both pools have electric and solar heating systems for year-round swimming.
The design of the pool room is aesthetically pleasing, with elephant gray and white trim. Large sliding glass doors ensure a quality experience all year. 

At SouthWest Aquatics, there’s no open swimming; clients come to lessons, swim team or water polo practice. Every instructor is certified in CPR and first aid. Plus, a CPR and first aid instructor is on site to keep all staff members up to date on certifications and skills. In addition, the coaching staff is ASCA-certified.

Business is generated primarily by word-of-mouth from clients who have watched their children learn to swim.

“Our most successful marketing campaign is the referrals from the 30 local doctors’ offices — including local pediatricians, pediatric dentists and surgeons, many of whom have enrolled their children in our swim programs,” says Maureen McGinty, marketing coordinator. Her efforts include postcard mailings to local families, plus writing articles for, and advertising in, newspapers and magazines.

To foster community service, six years ago SouthWest Aquatics operators founded a nonprofit organization, The Gift of Swimming. Its mission is to provide access to drowning prevention resources and help educate the community’s underprivileged, mentally or physically challenged or otherwise disadvantaged. McGinty says more than 2,000 children have been sponsored for swim lessons through the organization.

What’s next for SouthWest Aquatics? The company owns the empty adjacent lot for expansion purposes and, McGinty says, “Hopefully, we will see an additional 50-meter pool in the near future.”


JUDGE’S COMMENT

“Drowning prevention is stressed, and that is vitally needed in our industry.”

AMENITIES

One 10-lane, 25-yard outdoor competition pool and an indoor, heated therapy/toddler pool.

PROGRAMMING

Learn-to-swim, competitive swimming/diving, lifesaving, water polo, Master’s swimming, scuba/snorkeling, adaptive aquatics.