It’s summertime. Time to get outdoors, enjoy the sunshine, and finally get to the pool.
For parents, the pool is a fantastic way to get the kids outside, keep them entertained, and really soak up the summer months. But, if your kids haven’t yet learned to swim or swim proficiently, the pool can be a stressful, even scary, place. According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), there is an average of about 10 unintentional drownings* each year in the United States, and about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.
Maybe you’ve tried lessons, but they haven’t quite “worked.” Perhaps the pool was too loud, too cold, or the class was too crowded for your children to get the one-on-one attention they needed. If so, you don’t have to give up on helping your children learn to swim well and enjoying peace of mind at the pool.
Lessons That Really Work
SwimLabs swim school combines indoor, warm-water pools, highly-trained instructors, and the same training video-feedback technology used by Olympians to help swimmers of all ages and skill levels be safer, faster, and more efficient in the water. Each of SwimLabs’ warm-water pools includes multiple in-pool cameras and pool-length mirrors positioned to capture a 360-degree view of the swimmer’s stroke. The facilities feature video-analysis software and large screen monitors to provide instant feedback to swimmers, and a comprehensive video library of elite swimmers to allow any student to compare her stroke with the best in the world.
“The great thing about our approach is that we can service the entire lifecycle of a swimmer from toddlers to triathletes and elite swimmers,” said Laurie Abplanalp, director of franchise operations for SwimLabs. “We utilize all of our tools with every swimmer – mirrors on the bottom of the pool and video technology in addition to our instruction. As they get more competitive, we do a lot of stroke analysis, show them what they are doing wrong or right, and compare their stroke side by side with Olympic-caliber athletes.”
When Founder Michael Mann started SwimLabs in 2006, the original idea was to focus on competitive swimmers. But, SwimLabs quickly realized that the environment was very effective for kids as well.
"Using technology (cameras) for the learn-to-swim program is an invaluable tool for children who are visual learners," said Mann. "We can accelerate the learning process with experienced coaches who are trained to use the technology in the lessons."
“Our environment is really conducive to those just learning to swim. It’s smaller, quieter, and kids learn one-on-one with an instructor. Small pools mean we’re never more than an arm’s length away, and the warm water allows kids to focus on learning rather than shivering,” Abplanalp added.
Train Like An Olympian
When SwimLabs got started more than 10 years ago, only Olympic training centers had utilized video technology for elite swimmers, and even then, on an invitation-only basis. The technology was just starting to make its way into collegiate and competitive environments, but had not been available commercially for the general public.
“In the beginning, we had a laptop on deck by the pool, but it wasn’t conducive to a wet environment,” said Abplanalp, who has been with SwimLabs since 2007. “So, the technology has evolved immensely for the pool environment and by scope and scale to suit a larger consumer need. We are still the only company offering this type of technology to the public on a broad commercial scale.”
Though SwimLabs offers its unique approach and video technology to all students at any skill level, the company still attracts elite Olympic athletes including Missy Franklin, Kara Lynn Joyce, Chloe Sutton, and U.S. Olympic triathlete Susan Williams through its doors.
“The approach is ideal for competitive athletes because they tend to train and train without knowing what their technique is like or where there are greater efficiencies to be made,” said Abplanalp. “They can see their stroke from 360 degrees, and we can help them identify where they can be more efficient, gain speed and that extra edge to reach their goals.”
SwimLabs Lands in Littleton
SwimLabs operates 10 swim schools in six states and internationally in Istanbul, Turkey, with its newest opening this July in Littleton, Colo. As SwimLabs continues to expand, it remains committed to offering the best lessons and instruction available anywhere to its clients.
The Littleton location is owned by Tom and Heather Haugen and Stacey Alexander, all Colorado natives who have young children who learned to swim at SwimLabs. They were so impressed with SwimLabs for their kids, they decided to open a franchise to share the experience with other Colorado families. SwimLabs Littleton officially opens on July 10 and is currently taking registrations for classes. They will host a grand opening event on Saturday, July 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring Olympic swimmer Kara Lynn Joyce, facility tours, face painting, food trucks, and the chance to be the first to swim in the facility’s new pools.