As a Naval officer in the U.S. Naval Academy, Will Graves is well aware of the importance of water safety. “I have been around water all my life. I’m amazed at how dangerous people are around water,” Graves said. Therefore, it’s not much of a stretch that Graves, who works in finance, and his wife, Gillian, a teacher, would decide as a venture to bring the Goldfish Swim School to Yorktown Heights, the first of its kind in Westchester County.
Having just opened its doors on December 10 in the Triangle Shopping Center, on the opposite end of ACME, it is the 79th Goldfish franchise built across the country, with 121 others in the planning stages. A few of those Will Graves said he is looking to open in other parts of Westchester.
“We are very excited to bring it to the area,” Graves said. “Yorktown Heights is the ideal location. It’s very child-friendly, very family focused. I think we did a great thing for this shopping center. It’s a great product. You’re selling to kids. There’s nothing better than seeing a kid happy.” The goal of Goldfish is to help kids ages four months to 12 years old build essential swim skills through what they call The Science of SwimPlay, a research-based philosophy that teaches through guided play in a fun, safe environment.
“It’s about confidence. It’s an activity that should give you confidence in the water,” Graves said. “This is a children’s activity that can be Amazoned away.”
The facility encompasses six former storefronts in the shopping center that the Graves’ searched for almost two years to find. It features a state-of-the-art chlorination and water recycling system. The water temperature in the pool is 92 degrees and the air temperature is 90 degrees. Open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Graves said almost 500 children have already signed up for swimming lessons.
“I would love to educate 10,000 kids a year,” Graves said. Most of the classes offered have a 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio and the pool is handicapped-accessible. Goldfish will have between 50 and 60 employees. Besides lessons, Goldfish offers Family Swim times for just $5 per person ($15 max per family). Those times are currently held on Friday and Sunday. In addition, Goldfish has birthday party packages for between two and two-and-a-half hours with certified lifeguards and a party coordinator on duty to oversee all activities. “We are attracting people from all over,” Graves said. For further information about the Goldfish Swim School, call (914) 440-3330 or visit www.goldfishswimschool.com.