Swim Lessons: They’re Not So Seasonal
It’s a common misconception that swim lessons are just a seasonal business, rising in the summer, and falling in the winter. Many simply believe that when the days are hot and best spent by the water, swim lessons are in their prime.
But why would swim lessons, a valuable life skill, have a right or wrong season? Here’s why swim lessons are actually a year-round means for survival, and why the myth must be put to rest.
The Deceit of Seasonality
To be fair, swim schools with pools that function strictly outdoors are more affected by seasonality. In Florida, summer is said to be the low season for outdoor pool lessons. It’s hot and humid, plus it’s rainy season, so the threat of thunderstorms are constant. Alternatively, as the weather cools down to a nice temperature in Florida, it’s already becoming impossible for outdoor pool activities up North - where temperatures can be close to or below freezing.
From a business perspective, an outdoor pool-dependent swim school is a challenge. It’s hard to see skills progress because weather may cause kids to drop out, and revenue is inconsistent. For that reason, most swim schools have chosen to build their businesses around indoor, heated pools. Not being affected by weather, swim schools have the ability to conduct year-round lessons. Revenue does spike in May and June, as children are getting out of school, consistent with many other businesses that leverage their free time, but things don’t go dark when the school bell draws them back.
Not Just the Parents
Parents aren’t the only ones with this misconceived notion - franchisees can be impacted, too. It can be dangerous for franchisees to fall into the trap that swim lessons are strictly a summertime activity. Because of this, it’s important that any diminishing results that they may be seeing aren’t unknowingly blamed on seasonality.
Franchisors initiate better results by helping their franchisees properly promote the right message at the right time. This is furthered as franchisees leverage opportunities not just during summer but throughout the school year, educating students on water safety through classroom visits, events, and sponsorships.
Although indoor pools should cover all seasons, the biggest challenge is changing long time beliefs.
Many parents believe that swimming during the winter is dangerous, or that moving from warm water to cold weather can make a child sick. Others believe the opposite: that temperature changes may help improve blood flow, speed up muscle recovery damage, and strengthen the immune system.
The fact remains that children are not more likely to catch a cold from swimming during the winter. Viruses cause colds - not exposure to sudden changes in temperature.
Additionally, many forget that people often travel to warmer places in the winter time. It’s during these beach vacations that water safety is crucial to having a safe time spent away. With that in mind, the best way to combat the misconception of swim lessons being seasonal is to educate everyone on the importance of year-round swimming safety.
Drowning is the leading cause of death for children under 5 and it’s 100% preventable
In a country with approximately 10.4 million residential pools, 7.3 million hot tubs, 125 thousand lakes, and 3,500,00 miles of rivers, there is no season for drowning. Every body of water presents a potential threat.
Although children are the most vulnerable for drowning, the Red Cross states that more than half of all Americans (54%) either can’t swim or don’t have the basic water survival skills.
The fallacy that swimming skills are merely a fun activity must be corrected. People must recognize that these skills are critical for survival.
At British Swim School, we’ve chosen to interrupt the seasonality discussion, with our own approach. We believe in educating parents and helping them set the expected goals for their children before Day 1. When enrolling, parents are asked what goals they want their children to achieve. Water safety is one goal, and parents are constantly reminded of that by all involved in handling their children.
We focus on understanding how close or far the children are from being safe, by tracking the child’s progress directly and marking their caps. This also clarifies what skills the children have already attained, and those that need to be developed. Season has no part in the safety formula.
Overall, the more that swimming is understood as a life skill, the less that seasonality is even considered. It comes down to cultivating the right mindset for both customers and franchise owners, and ensuring that every person, regardless of age, ability, or season has the opportunity to be water-safe.
Greg Longe is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of British Swim School, a franchise company with almost 40 years of experience teaching water survival skills to children and adults in over 20 states across the county plus Canada. A long-time franchise professional, Longe joined British Swim School in April 2019, excited to support the brand mission of “survival of the littlest.”