There’s a new pool school coming to town.
Goldfish Swim School, which currently operates facilities in Birmingham and Farmington Hills and will open franchises in Ann Arbor and this year, plans to add Macomb Township to its list of locations in 2012.
While Goldfish cofounder Chris McCuiston said it is still too early to name a location in Macomb, customers can expect the future venue to be an 8,000-10,000-square-foot facility featuring a specialized 4-foot-deep pool.
“Our schools look like a Caribbean beach house,” McCuiston said. “Our facilities have taller ceilings and are very colorful. It’s almost like walking onto a beach.”
In all Goldfish schools, the pool’s temperature is kept around 90 degrees and all chlorine is produced on-site, a practice McCuiston said is safer for children.
As for the decision to expand into Macomb, McCuiston said it was largely based on the area’s demographics.
“We like family-friendly communities,” he said. “A lot of children under the age of 12. A lot is dependent on the community itself. We like communities that support family-friendly businesses and (in which) the families support each other and are involved in a lot of activities.”
While swim school is the business’ primary function, Goldfish facilities can also be rented out on weekends for birthday parties.
“We rent out the entire facility for their party,” McCuiston said. “It’s customized to their needs.”
McCuiston said the programs taught at Goldfish are unique in that the school’s swim curriculum is entirely the creation of his wife, Jenny, who was a champion swimmer in high school and college and qualified for two Olympic trials.
“It’s very developmentally appropriate for various ages, whether you’re 6 months or 8 years old, we don’t have the same curriculum for any age,” he said. “Because we focus on swimming, a lot of people are there to monitor the kids. We provide a paper progress report and watch the kids every single day.”
Goldfish swim programs are divided into five groups: baby (which require adult participation), toddler, beginner, advanced and recreational swim team. Baby classes start teaching children as young as 4 months old and the recreational swim team is open to children as old as 12 years of age.
“Really, we’re bringing water safety and awareness to all the families that we serve,” McCuiston said. “Not only are kids safe in the water, we’re also building confidence and happy swimmers in the process.”
While the Birmingham location sees more than 2,000 students a week, class sizes are kept small with a student-teacher ratio of 4 to 1.
Classes cost $78 a month, which pays for one class per week.