You are currently viewing Goldfish Swim School: Delivering an Unmatched “Golden Experience” for Kids and their Families
Chris McCuiston | CEO & Co-founder | Goldfish Swim School

Goldfish Swim School: Delivering an Unmatched “Golden Experience” for Kids and their Families

Beyond being a valuable life skill, swimming is also about creating fun memories, building confidence and developing fitness skills.

Undoubtedly, swimming is a perfect sport to learn, especially for kids. But swimming becomes even more exciting for children when it is learned in a fun, safe and stimulating environment. This is exactly the experience Goldfish Swim School provides for parents and their children.

Recognized as the premier learn-to-swim franchise concept, Goldfish Swim School provides swim lessons and water safety instruction to infants and children ages four months to 12 years. Each school offers swim lessons and programs using a proprietary philosophy, The Science of SwimPlay®, to build life skills both in and out of the water, using play-based learning in a fun and safe environment.

Growing From Small Business into a Large Franchise Network

Born and raised in Birmingham, Michigan, high school sweethearts and co-founders, Chris and Jenny McCuiston, chose their small city to open a swim school and have since watched it grow into a national franchise system.

Started in 2006, Goldfish Swim School has grown from one school to a franchised network spanning more than 120 schools across North America. Each school’s #1 focus and main priority is always the same – educating children on water safety while teaching them how to swim and respect the water.

Tragically, drowning remains the number one cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1-4. Every day, at least three children in the United States fall victim to the dangers associated with water-related accidents, leaving millions of families questioning what they could have done to prevent the unthinkable. Goldfish Swim School is more than a business. It is a water safety advocate providing education to families in an inviting and safe place where kids overcome their fears, learn to swim, and respect the water – all while having fun. Goldfish Swim School aims to bring greater awareness to water safety and the importance of swim lessons, as they have the ability to help reduce the risk of childhood drownings by 88%.

While it is and always will be its core mission to teach water safety, the Goldfish team truly ends up playing a critical role in the whole development of children – in the pool and in life.

Ensuring Franchisees See Extraordinary Results

Goldfish Swim School continues to prove itself as a top-rated and the most established swim school in the franchise space. Its ability to go above and beyond with every detail to create a GOLDEN Experience! is unmatched by the competition. Goldfish’s core values extend from its members to franchisees, and its Franchise Office Support team is also committed to going Above and Beyond to ensure its franchisees see Extraordinary Results. It is this level of best-in-class support that drives prospective franchisees to continuously choose Goldfish.

Goldfish Swim School’s franchisees can count on its unique one-on-one support from regional representatives in three key areas: Marketing, Curriculum and Franchise Business Consulting. Consultants in these roles are well-versed in their areas of expertise and are always available to assist franchisees.

Goldfish Swim School’s swim lesson programming is also second-to-none. The brand recognizes the need for quality, fun swim instruction. It has spent years developing The Science of SwimPlay® to produce successful students, and this proven process translates to success for its franchisees.

Being Innovative and Adaptable in Unprecedented Times

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacted Goldfish Swim School as it had to close all its schools across North America temporarily, but what was even more dramatically impressive was the way in which it innovated and adapted to best support its franchisees and members during that time.

Goldfish Swim School acted swiftly to provide top-tier support to its franchisees. The Franchise Support Team immediately jumped into action and developed an interactive COVID Support Site to offer vital information such as legal insight, financial resources, downloadable marketing templates, operational guidance, reopening support, etc.

Core pillars of Goldfish Swim School’s consumer communication strategy during the pandemic centered on empathizing with members, educating them on changes and creating new ways to interact with their communities, ultimately assuring the stability of all schools. Furthermore, Goldfish joined forces with a network of swimming partners to work as an Aquatics Coalition through USA Swimming to lobby for the safe reopening of purposeful, instructional aquatics.

With strategic adaptations, the Goldfish franchise network was able to offset the impact of COVID-19. Goldfish Swim School emerged Safer and Stronger Together ™ as its enrolment numbers now exceed that of pre-COVID – teaching more than 150,000 children each week to be safer in and around the water.

CEO Chris McCuiston mentions that the pandemic has brought forth an entrepreneurship boom – and that, paired with the strong cultural demand for quality swim lessons, is fueling Goldfish Swim School’s growth.

Goldfish Swim School is experiencing a strong 2021, having recently signed agreements to develop in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New York, Texas, and Virginia, in addition to opening 10 new schools year-to-date.

Using Values as Guiding Light for Business Decisions

Positive work culture is critical to ensuring the success and future growth of the business. For Goldfish Swim School, this means rallying around its core values and using them as a guiding light for all business decisions.

As a visionary leader, Chris aims to prioritize organizational clarity and ensure franchisor-franchisee alignment on core values and the overall mission and vision of the company.

As a result, Goldfish Swim School has built a culture of transparency that has created a strong sense of accountability among team members. Being open and honest has allowed Goldfish Swim School to build a team-centric culture where its people are inspired, valued and encouraged to produce high-quality work to help grow the brand.

Making Swimming Accessible to All Children

As a purpose-driven business with a life-saving mission, Goldfish Swim School feels corporate social responsibility is an essential part of its brand DNA. It is committed to community giveback through its ‘Float It Forward’ fundraising campaign.

As an official partner of the USA Swimming Foundation, the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming, it launched the campaign to aid in its commitment to raise $1 million for the USA Swimming Foundation. The Foundation supports swim lesson providers with resources, materials and grant funding to allow the opportunity for every child across the country to learn to swim. Collectively, its schools and Franchise team have raised more than $230,000 to date.

Delivering Golden Experience to its Members and Guests

In conclusion, Chris asserts, “While tech and innovation reign supreme for pandemic pivots, we must not lose sight of human connection, emotion and empathy as it relates to the customer experience. The business environment has changed, and the way you service your customers must be elevated. It is critical to go above and beyond with every detail to take care of your members and guests. We know it guides our GOLDEN Experience! which drives our members to continuously choose Goldfish, so we will continue to prioritize and invest in customer service. From a franchise development perspective, we’ve built an incredible infrastructure for growth and are poised for long-term success.”