By Christine Graf
Goldfish Swim School has opened its second Capital Region location in North Country Commons at 1208 Route 146 in Clifton Park.
Franchise owners Dan, Tim, Jim, and Brian Gilbride operate a total of 11 schools including one on Wolf Road in Colonie.
Established in Michigan in 2009, Goldfish Swim School has more than 150 locations throughout the United States and Canada. They offer year-round swim lessons for children 4 months to 12 years, using a curriculum that was designed to teach swim and safety skills through guided play.
According to assistant general manager Caitlin Laviano, the Gilbride brothers opened their first location about five years ago after recognizing that there was a very high demand for quality year-round swim instruction.
“We are a perpetual swim school which means we are year-round and that we are not session based. If someone books into a class, they book a day and time and they are in that indefinitely until their child goes up a level or until they decide to no longer take lessons with us,” she said.
Laviano swam competitively for 17 years and worked in sports administration before relocating from Florida to join the team at Goldfish Swim School. The school is staffed by two full-time managers as well as 25 part time employees.
In order to ensure that each child receives individualized attention, the maximum student-to-teacher ratio is 4 to 1.
On average, classes cost $120 per month.
“Our class sizes are small, and are pools are kept super warm,” said Laviano. “We have shiver-free lessons, and our pool is kept between 90 and 91 degrees. It’s very comfortable for all of the swimmers, and they can be sitting on the side and not be cold as they are waiting for their turn.”
Lessons last 30 minutes, and if a child has an excused absence, they receive a make-up token to attend a class on a different day or at a different time.
Parent/child lessons are offered, designed to provide children with life-saving skills as well as to help them improve coordination and balance and build stronger muscles.
“Parents are in the water with them getting them very comfortable as they are learning those water safety skills,” said Laviano. “We also work on building strength in fun ways. They are having fun while building their core strength and building their grip strength.”
When a child turns 2, the parent can continue with parent/child classes or enroll their child in an independent group lesson. All children ages 3 and up are enrolled in group lessons.
According to Laviano, more than 750 students have enrolled in classes during the two months that the school has been open.
“We’re very happy with the support we’ve gotten from the Clifton Park community as well as surrounding communities. We’re hoping to grow and to support this community as much as we can. We also do water safety presentations for the community that are free. We do them for schools, community groups, and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.”
Goldfish Swim School’s three-lane, 25-yard pool can also be booked for Saturday birthday parties. Parties can be booked three months in advance.
Family swim times are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays between 12:15 and 1:15 p.m., as well as on Sundays from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. The cost is $5 per person with a maximum of $15 per family, and membership is not required.
For more information, visit www.goldfishswimschool.com.