Goldfish Swim School Celebrates 10 Years in Ann Arbor

By Donna Iadipaolo

The local Ann Arbor Goldfish Swim School has taught over a million swim lessons since its opening ten years ago.

We interviewed Assistant General Manager at Goldfish Swim School, Ann Arbor, Natalie Swanson, to get the inside scoop of what special offers the school has for youngsters.

“Goldfish Swim School provides swim lessons and water safety instruction to infants and children ages four months to 12 years,” explained Swanson. 

“Classes are offered by specially trained instructors in a safe, child-friendly and fun environment using our research-based philosophy called The Science of SwimPlay®.”

Goldfish Swim School was established in Birmingham, Michigan in 2006, and Goldfish Swim School Ann Arbor first welcomed swimmers into the pool in 2011. There are now more than 115 Goldfish Swim School locations throughout North America.

Swanson and her family explained that they also have deep roots in Ann Arbor, she has been a “Goldfish mom” and now a manager for almost a year and a half. Her husband has been an owner of Salads UP downtown for almost a decade.

“Now I have this amazing way to connect and work with the youth in the community at Goldfish,” Swanson explained.

According to Swanson, the classes are small with a student-teacher ratio of four to one.  

A child receives a swim lesson at Goldfish Swim School in Ann Arbor. Photo courtesy of Goldfish Swim School.

The pools are “shiver-free” 90-degrees, and the water purification system is state-of-the-art. “Goldfish uses a perpetual lesson model so families can enroll at any time and kids progress through the curriculum at their own pace,” Swanson described. “Goldfish offers convenient scheduling options and families can easily book makeup classes when necessry.” 

In addition to swim lessons, Goldfish Swim School offers weekly family swims (for both members and non-members) and party packages.  

Facility highlights include an air-conditioned viewing gallery for parents to watch lessons, individual/private changing rooms, a blow-dry station, snack bar, retail shop, and warm, tropical décor.

There are also some very life-affirming reasons for children to enroll in swim lessons according to Swanson.

“Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for kids ages 1-4 so swim lessons are a must for every child,” Swanson described. “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children participate in regular, high-quality swim lessons starting at age one. There are a ton of emotional, developmental, and physical benefits to getting babies into the water at an early age. Most importantly, this is a wonderful bonding opportunity for parents who want to spend time splashing and smiling with their little one—while also introducing the basics of an important life skill.” 

According to Swanson, the winter months are a great time of year for families to be thinking about water and swim safety because kids who are going to be safer swimmers next summer should be getting started in lessons now.

“Swimming is an activity that requires consistency and regular practice to see progress,” Swanson described. “By starting lessons in the fall or early winter months, kids can see results in time for pool and beach season in June—or that spring break trip you are already looking forward to.” 

The pandemic has made certain classes more popular than others.

“Right now, we have seen a big increase in the popularity of our Glider 1 level which is a beginner class for children 5 years and older,” Swanson described. “Due to the pandemic, many kids are behind on their learn to swim journey, and now they are catching up. We are also seeing an increase in the popularity of our Jump Start Clinics when school is out. Our week-long Jump Start Clinics offer families a great option for those looking to make a month’s worth of progress in lessons in just one week’s time.”

Each child learns new skills differently and at his/her own pace so starting in swim lessons now is the best way to ensure progress by summer, according to Swanson. Goldfish Swim School has a proven curriculum that ensures that kids master water safety fundamentals and continually build on their skills. The Goldfish team celebrates each student’s progress each and every week.

The entire staff is excited about more and more swimmers joining their program every day.

“We continue to be passionate about ensuring that all kids have the skills that they need to be safer in and around water,” Swanson stated. “It has been a privilege to be a resource in this community for the past ten years. As we look to the future, our team is committed to continuing to serve the community as a water safety resource for years to come. We look forward to connecting with more and more swimmers each week as we continue to grow our program.”

Goldfish Swim School: 2107 West Stadium Boulevard Ann Arbor, MI  734-849-2038

First photo: Natalie Swanson and her son, Nash (3). Photo courtesy of Goldfish Swim School.