Swimming! A fun staple of hot summer days for kiddos and parents living in the south—especially this year, as most of us spent the last several months cooped up inside with limited excursions. Since swimming is one of the safer public activities to enjoy during the current COVID-19 pandemic, an outing to the pool is a welcome change from quarantining!
However, hitting the neighborhood pool or aquatic center may look a bit different due to coronavirus restrictions. Many have restricted hours and reduced staff, including fewer lifeguards; several public pools have remained closed, leaving lots of parents desperate to keep their kids cool—and themselves sane—in the Georgia heat.
Swimming is a crucial safety skill—one that is more important right now than ever! Accidental drownings are the number one cause of death in children under the age of four. With lesser-staffed public facilities and a greater number of swimmers at beaches, lakes, and at-home pools, there’s an increased risk for waterborne accidents and injuries.
That’s the biggest reason I wanted to get my children comfortable and proficient in the water as soon as possible. If that’s not motivation to invest in swim lessons, I don’t know what is!
I had already heard glowing reviews about Goldfish Swim School from friends whose kids had been enrolled at the Sandy Springs and Johns Creek locations. When I learned Goldfish was opening at the recently redeveloped Roswell Village, I couldn’t wait to take my two children, ages four and 21 months, to check out their new facility and start working on swim basics.
Tucked away in the back corner of the shopping center, we hardly expected to be transported to a tropical oasis upon entering the school! The well-lit reception area features an array of goggles, rash guards, and Goldfish gear for your young swimmer. Vibrant-colored, clean tiki-hut style changing rooms fill area beyond the lobby, along with a resort-like parent observation deck with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the large indoor pool.
Once inside the temperature-controlled aquatic area, you’ll see multiple classes happening in the sectioned lanes of their “shiver-free” pool. Instructional tools and toys line the ocean-themed muraled walls, and “bubbles” hang from the ceiling, helping to distract and comfort little ones learning to back float. These details make the Goldfish Swim experience fun and exciting for the whole family!
Most impressive, though, is the quality of instruction. Focused on providing a sense of safety, while also improving swim proficiency, the instructors engage your child in skill-based games and challenges that build their self-esteem and comfort in the water…and all while having a blast!
We joined the Goldfish family just a few weeks before Governor Kemp issued the shelter-in-place order in mid-March. They responsibly shuttered operations for the duration, providing parents with detailed communication on their re-opening status and preparations. Their emails clearly demonstrated a commitment to family, staff, and swimmer safety, and the transparency of the information made me feel confident in our children returning to classes for their early July re-opening.
While our Saturday morning sessions pre-COVID hummed with a busy hustle and bustle of student swimmers, staff, and parents on-site, the school is a bit quieter and calmer during class time now—a result of reduced class sizes and expanding lane area to reduce exposure risk. The parent observation deck has been reconfigured, as well, with chairs sufficiently spaced for social distancing (BONUS: better viewing of your child’s swimming progress!).
All employees wear masks, including the instructors, who have clear face shields suitable for water wear, providing a barrier to protect students in the pool. To avoid crowding in the changing areas, every other “tiki hut” is closed, giving families more ability to socially distance in between classes and employees the opportunity to focus their sanitizing efforts more effectively.
Since attending Goldfish, I’ve noticed both of my children become much more confident in the water; my four-year-old daughter can back float without assistance for several seconds and is already learning how to dive! My toddler son, who began with more anxiety in the water, now loves to do Superman Glides and is mastering climbing out of the pool.
The combination of a fun, playful setting, with dedicated, professional instructors who have a passion for swimming make the Goldfish Swim School in Roswell a must-visit place for local parents and their kids. Even if it’s just to take advantage of their one free class offer to get out of the house for some fun at a safe, well-maintained aquatic center, I highly recommend taking the plunge!