New Swim School To Open In Okemos

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With the holidays right around the corner, throwing on a bathing suit and taking the kids for a swim may be the last thing on your mind. But in just a few weeks, a new swim school is opening in Mid-Michigan and it hopes to get kids in the water even during the winter.

Right now, the pool at Goldfish Swim School in Okemos is under construction, waiting to be filled with water. The school plans to open on Dec. 5th for the first day of lessons.

"I can't wait for people to see the finished product," said Jeana Parker, a manager on-duty. "It's obviously still under construction here, but there's nothing really like it in the area."

Other pools and fitness centers may offer swim lessons, but Goldfish says its classes improve the experience, teaching kids ages four months to 12 years old how to swim. The first Goldfish Swim School launched in Birmingham in 2006, and the company has since grown to five locations in Michigan. There are 10 more franchises in development right now across the Midwest, including the Okemos location,

The Goldfish pool is always kept at 90 degrees, so no more shivering in cold water. The pool is never more than four and a half feet deep, and the classes are designed with a student-teacher ratio of four to one.

"We have a curriculum here at Goldfish that's really focused on the children's developmental needs and helping them learn how to swim at their own pace," said general manager Rebecca Burlingame. "But definitely challenging them, and pushing them to improve every week and be safe in the water."

One of the owners of the Okemos location, Jack Barbac, is a father of three. He fell in love with the teaching methods and the environment at Goldfish after taking his kids to the school in Birmingham.

"The facility is just a wonderful, scenic, Caribbean-type scene," Barbac explained. "To bring that to Michigan year round is a real treat not just for the kid, but for the parents too."

Barbac says teaching kids to swim helps keep them safe in a state with thousands of lakes and so many opportunities to swim. Goldfish also believes learning to swim can be an invaluable life skill.

"I think the most rewarding part is not only seeing them learn to swim, but the confidence that goes along with that is priceless," Burlingame said. "I mean, when they learn to swim, they feel like they can conquer the world and learn anything after that."

Goldfish instructors work with kids at every level, from beginners to kids looking to swim competitively and improve their strokes.

Class registration is open now. For more information, visit: Goldfish Swim School.

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