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Local News

Swim school to open in Arboretum

Company started in Minnesota

SOUTH BARRINGTON – A family-operated swim school is set to make a splash in the Arboretum of South Barrington this year. Foss Swim School will be open for registration in December, with lessons starting Jan. 2.

The 7,000-square-foot facility will be built in a never-before-leased space, just southeast of the iPic Theater next to Wok ‘n Fire, founder Jon Foss said.

Foss, who runs the swim company with his wife, Susan, said the group’s ultimate goal is to never franchise. It also wants to expand into every market possible – providing high-quality instruction.

South Barrington will be the school’s fourth site in Illinois. Other communities include Highland Park, Libertyville and Lakeview-Lincoln Park. The school began in 1993 in Minnesota and expanded to the Chicago area in 2005. The Foss family now is celebrating more than 10 million lessons.

In addition to a 20-yard pool, patrons can enjoy family friendly changing areas, heated floors, an air conditioned view room and a swim retail store, Foss said.

Local swim parent Patricia Jacobsen said she is thrilled to hear of the new swim school. Her daughter, Kirsten Jacobsen, shattered state records in the Illinois High School Girls Swimming Association swimming finals in November.

“The more swimmers, the better,” Patricia Jacobsen said, adding small swim organizations were what launched her daughter into competitive swimming.

“It’ll be great for swimmers to learn proper technique,” Jacobsen said.

Foss, a former national swim coach, describes himself as an anti-drowning advocate “obsessed with swim technique and quality.”

“I’ve been amazed with the different techniques competitive swimmers use,” Foss said. “Some techniques are so interesting and unusual – and they work.”

After having several of his swimmers set national records in the late ’80s, Foss said his technique clinics soon prospered into lessons, spreading by word of mouth, and building swim schools then became his passion.

“This is our vision,” Foss said. “We love South Barrington, and we are in it for the long term.”

Foss Swim School lessons will be offered for swimmers or nonswimmers of any age – babies to adults, Foss said, adding noncompetitive meets will be at the school every weekend and family swim hours will be offered throughout the week, as well as break through clinics for anyone stuck on a particular skill.

Foss said hiring will begin this fall with each staff member receiving 60 to 70 hours of training at the school’s corporate office in Eden Prairie, Minn.

For information, visit

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