GLEN ELLYN – As a child, Alex Tyler remembers spending many a summer swimming at his local pool.
"My mom would drop me off at the pool in the summer at 8 a.m., and she'd pick me up at 8 p.m.," Tyler said. "And I'd probably be dead tired. I had a blast."
Tyler, the franchise owner of the newly opened Goldfish Swim School of Glen Ellyn, hopes to convey the joy of swimming to area children through his school, which recently opened at 545 E. Roosevelt Road in the Market Plaza shopping center in Glen Ellyn. The swim school is among more than 65 locations open or in development nationwide.
This is his second Goldfish Swim School. In August 2013, he opened a Goldfish Swim School in St. Charles.
A grand opening splash bash for the Glen Ellyn facility will be from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. June 25. The free event will feature open swim, facility tours, complimentary scoops from Kimmer’s Ice Cream and a variety of activities.
The school is geared toward children 4 months old up to 12 years old. For many of the kids, this is the first time they have been in a pool.
"We're really good at getting kids over the fear of swimming or just water in general," Tyler said. "Really, it's separation anxiety. It's the first thing they've done without their mom or dad. We expect crying. We're not scared of a child crying. And we love the idea of getting them over that hump and having fun. Before you know it, they're floating on their back, they're floating on their stomach independently and we're moving forward."
Tyler said they want to make sure a youngster's first time in the water is a pleasant experience. That includes learning how to swim in a shiver-free 90-degree pool.
"We don't take kids under water for the first three lessons or however long it takes," he said. "We make sure they're ready to do it."
The first thing the instructors teach the kids is how to react if they are in trouble, such as if they would ever fall in the water. Parents are welcome to watch their kids during their lessons in a designated viewing area.
The school currently has 15 employees, but it is looking to hire more. Those who apply should be "great with kids," Tyler said.
"We like to hire teachers, people who are interested in teaching, and then we'll teach them how to teach kids to swim," he said. "But we want really good kid motivators. We put all our instructors through 40 hours of training at a minimum. So when they come out of our training, they know exactly what they are doing. They're also lifeguard certified in that training. That's aside from the 40 hours."
He believes the swim school is a good fit for the Market Plaza shopping center.
"We're bringing in a lot of new faces to the strip mall," Tyler said. "I'm really happy with how this turned out. We've got a great location."
If you go
What: Goldfish Swim School of Glen Ellyn
Where: 545 E. Roosevelt Road, Glen Ellyn
Hours: noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Info: 630-446-9100; glenellyn.goldfishswimschool.com