More than 10 years ago, two high school sweethearts began dreaming about creating a place where kids could come to learn how to swim and be safer in and around water. Their dream became a reality on March 20, 2006 when they opened their first Goldfish Swim School in Birmingham, Michigan — and the rest is history, as they say! Stop by the Birmingham location and celebrate the 10-year anniversary with us on March 19, 2016 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. (and pssst…it’s open to the public!).
When Chris and Jenny McCuiston were just tadpoles, swimming around in the big sea they called high school (Seaholm High School in Birmingham, to be exact), they began dating and fell in love. Jenny was a competitive swimmer who attended the University of Arizona and used her fantastic swimming skills to compete in two Olympic trials!
After college, the couple married and moved back to Birmingham — where Chris was working in finance and Jenny was teaching and doing private swim lessons. Her love of swimming never dwindled, and then she heard about the idea of swim schools.
The wheels began turning.
The Birth of Goldfish Swim School
“When she brought the idea to me, my initial response was, ‘Are you nuts?’” said Chris, of Jenny’s idea of creating a swim school in the area.
But Chris, with his finance background, started putting numbers to paper. The duo did tons of research and traveled around the country to learn about the industry before deciding to take the plunge.
“Jenny ultimately had the vision and the dream,” said Chris. “Jenny knew this area was in need of something like this.”
And she was right. She knew parents care about their kids and want them to be safer, and she knew kids love being active. Jenny and Chris realized that by creating Goldfish Swim School, kids would be able to learn how to swim and how to be safer in and around the water — in a very specialized way, since they would offer perpetual lessons all year — and focus solely on swimming. Plus, they made sure the water would always be set at 90 degrees. These little perks and touches are what make Goldfish Swim School a cut above.
Goldfish Swim School Opens…and Continues Growing and Growing
When the first Goldfish Swim School location opened in Birmingham in 2006, there were 510 kids enrolled and 25 employees.
“We attribute a lot of the initial success to the connections we made throughout the community,” said Chris, the CEO and Co-Founder, Goldfish Swim School Franchising, LLC. “We tried to do as much as we could for everyone, to get our name out there.”
And that they did! Two years after opening the first Goldfish Swim School location, Chris and Jenny, the Co-Founder, Goldfish Swim School Franchising, LLC, were approached about franchising their business. The second swim school opened in 2009 in Farmington, Michigan.
Today, there are 29 locations open and operating in 11 states (and could likely turn into 40 by the end of 2016!). Each week, 41,500 kids learn to swim at a Goldfish Swim School location — and are interacting with more than 800 employees who use integrity, compassion and trust to help kids while providing WOW! customer service.
“Our goal is to align with great people around the country and teach as many kids as we can to learn to swim and be safer in and around the water,” said Chris, who notes the GOLDEN experience the school provides in so many aspects. “You’re allowing people to start a new career or new investment, pump more money into the local communities, provide employment, and provide a safer experience for kids when they go out on the water.”
A Good Family Fit
Jenny and Chris know from personal experience, too, that Goldfish Swim School does allow for extraordinary results — because they have four boys (ages 7, 6, 3 and 2) who are doing swimmingly: Their oldest son graduated from Goldfish Swim School and has started swimming for a local swim team, where he recently had a successful meet!
“We’re so thankful for the people that have believed in us and what we’re doing,” said Chris. “Businesses, schools, and staff have dedicated time to teaching other people’s kids how to swim and be safer in the water. Jenny created the vision, but it wouldn’t be possible without the people spending their time and money here.”
Time to Celebrate!
Head over to the Birmingham, Michigan Goldfish Swim School location on March 19, 2016 for the 10-year ANNIVERSARY PARTY! From 4:30 to 5:30 and again from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. there will be two sessions of open swim, in addition to fun stuff like face painting, balloons, prizes, raffles and more! The celebration is open to everyone — you don’t have to be a member to enjoy the festivities! (But if you’re interested in becoming a member, find a location near you and sign up!). Just make sure you give us a call at (248) 644-1914 to reserve your swim time!