Swim schools founded by elite swimmers are expanding.
Big Blue Swim School is opening its fifth location in the greater Chicago area, and the Tom Dolan Swim School is preparing its second outpost in Falls Church, Va.
Big Blue was founded by U.S. National Swim Team member Chris DeJong and fellow competitive swimmer John Lonergan. Likewise, Tom Dolan’s namesake school is owned by the Olympic gold medalist.
Both schools espouse a more pleasing, parent-friendly aesthetic, emphasizing modern, open spaces to better accommodate families out of the pool. Gone are the garish colors and cartoonish mascots that typify the average swim school. DeJong describes his facilities as the “Apple Store” of swim schools.
“It’s not a Chuck E. Cheese's,” DeJong said.
Similarly, Tom Dolan’s schools boasts open parent viewing areas, play spaces for siblings, and even lighting that emphasizes “well-being,” according to a press release.
For its part, Big Blue Swim School plans to open 150 locations by 2020 through franchising, touting a proprietary app that allows parents to track children’s progress and schedule siblings for classes at the same time. That means parents of multiple children will not have to schedule lessons for different days.
Big Blue’s first franchisee will open five locations in the Denver area later this year.