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    Judge’s Comment: I really like the staff development and the forward-thinking aspects of this organization.

At SWIMkids USA, the secret to success is small classes, a cutting-edge water-disinfection method and marketing efforts that are helping to make the Mesa, Ariz., facility a household name in the community.

The school includes three indoor pools between 3- and 4.5 feet deep. Upon entering the facility, patrons are greeted by the scent of coconut, the sounds of steel drum music and the sight of brightly colored, beach-themed murals. It’s all designed to make families feel as if they’re taking a beach vacation, whether they have come for lessons or recreational swimming.

To further enhance the class experience, pool systems are state-of-the-art. SWIMkids uses supplemental ultraviolet disinfection and salt-chlorine generation.

Additionally, management strives to keep swim classes small, typically three students to one instructor. This allows for lots of one-on-one and hands-on instruction.

To make an impact on the community and draw more people into the facility, the SWIMkids’ staff is branded as water safety experts. They undergo rigorous training and regularly speak to local groups and school children about water safety and the benefits of learning to swim. They provide water safety materials free to the public and host “Water Safety Days,” which provide free swim lessons to the public. Because of staff members’ expertise, they are frequently interviewed by the media.

To keep regular patrons informed of upcoming events, SWIMkids publishes a monthly newsletter called the Wet Gazette.

All these efforts have served SwimKids well. Started in a backyard pool in 1998, it now serves more than 2,000 clients annually.