Swim Teaching Image

Swim School Retention

Retention in your swim school

Maintaining and growing the number of swimmers in your program is essential for effective business operations. The number of weekly lessons and comparing them from term to term, block to block or season to season, is a hot topic for discussion during swim school management meetings. How to generate more weekly lessons is usually the main focus but the easiest way to grow your swim school is to keep the customers you’ve already got. According to www.marketingwizdom.com the average business loses 20% of its customers annually by failing to attend to customer relationships. Do you know how your retention rate stacks up? 

Customer retention starts with the first interaction you have with a potential client and continues as you build a relationship with them. Some swim schools are great when it comes to the initial sign up of a customer but drop the ball in building an ongoing relationship with the swimmer and their parent. This type of situation means that the swim school is always trying to chase more business and find new customers. So maybe it’s time to change the topic at management meetings to; how are we building relationships at our swim school?

Communication is the key in building good relationships. Planning a calendar of communication to your families is a great idea and mixing up the way you communicate to maintain engagement is important. Your swim school can utilise newsletters, phone calls, emails, social media, notice boards and text messages just to name a few. During your communication you can educate and excite your swimmers and their parents on upcoming events, special offers, magic moments like swimmers of the month, achievements, staff profiles and customer feedback. When you are communicating with your customers you are trying to reinforce why they are doing business with you. Learning swimming and water safety skills will take a long time so building good customer relationships is essential. Make sure that parents understand the social, emotional and physical benefits of learning to swim. Learning to swim is a gift that will last a lifetime.

Customer retention is about more than just providing good customer service but exceptional customer service. If you build a good reputation and develop relationships with your customers they will become advocates for your swim school. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising. It feels so good when you get a phone call at the office from a referral because one of your existing clients has recommended your swim school and the teachers.

There are some key points for swim schools to remember.

  1. Customer retention has a direct impact of profitability
  2. The quality of the service you provide leads to satisfaction which in turn leads to customer loyalty
  3. Keeping swimmers in your program is essential for water safety education and skill development

As a swim school you should also look at managing relationships. Ask yourself these questions. How do we manage feedback from swimmers and families? How do we support swimmers and their families? The goal of managing relationships is to turn all our customers into long term clients. Because long term clients are less included to switch competitors, less price sensitive, purchase other products or services and like we said above initiate free word of mouth.

Relationship management is not just about managing relationship with your customers but with your staff as well. Everyone in your team has to be on the same page. The good news is that not only is customer retention good for business but it is good for staff moral as well. Customer retention gives employees more job satisfaction and makes their job easier. So get started today and switch the focus to swim school retention. Because happy employees and happy customers makes a happy and profitable loop!

To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!


Laurie Lawrence


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Sun Protection in your Swim School

Do you have a Sun Protection Plan at your Swim School?

Swim Schools are operated in all types of environments, many of which are outdoors. For this reason swim school operators must be committed to reducing the amount of UV that our employees and cliental are exposed to.

UV is dangerous because if you are exposed to too much of it, it can cause;

  • Sunburn
  • Skin cancer and
  • Eye damage

While swim schools cannot completely eliminate the risk of UV they can be committed to controlling the risks by adopting suitable guidelines, policies and procedures. It is very important that swim school operators understand the duty of care that they have to their staff. For this reason it is very important that staff be provided with a variety of personal protective equipment (PPE) for sun protection.

This PPE equipment may include;

  • Sunscreen, SPF 50+
  • Hat (full Brim sun safe)
  • Sunglasses
  • Clothing eg Teaching shirt, rash shirt with UV protection

Employees should also be taught to apply sunscreen correctly. When using sunscreen it is always recommended to ensure that you;

  • Apply it to a clean body
  • Apply 20 mins prior to sun exposure
  • Apply plenty of sunscreen approximately 6 teaspoons to cover entire body
  • Reapply every 2 hours

Skin cancer found early can be successfully treated. Therefore swim schools should encourage their staff to;

  • Become familiar with your skin
  • Check entire body, even parts which are not exposed to sun
  • Look for changes in shape, colour and size
  • Seek a doctors opinion as soon as you notice anything unusual

World Wide Swim School recommends that all swim schools head over to the Cancer Council website to learn more about sun safety and policies and procedures at the following link www.cancer.org.au


To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

Let me know some of your swimming stories while on holidays! Comment below.

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Swim Clinics for Fast Tracking and Learning Skills

Organising swim clinics at your centre can be a great way to enhance swimmer’s skills and knowledge on specific strokes in a concentrated period of time.  Swim clinics can be run for a variety of sessions and options – from frightened beginners to specific strokes.  This article will concentrate on running a breaststroke clinic for swimmers at a swim centre but clinics can be run for any number of strokes or skills (eg diving, deep water, any of the strokes etc).

Breastroke kick with board

Clinic Logistics

  • Organise a date – a day or time that regular lessons are not running is best but if this isn’t possible try to run clinic on a day with lots of pool space.
  • Decide how many clinics will run (this will depend on numbers of swim school and ability of swimmers).  Suggestion – 2 different clinics back to back: 1 for swimmers who are being introduced to breaststroke and 1 for swimmers who are competent in breaststroke and looking to improve.
  • Decide on a price – An inexpensive amount will give families an incentive to attend.  Pricing is up to the individual centre.
  • Create a booking/enrolment sheet. Suggestions for booking sheet:- Childs Name/Level/Age/Paid
  • Inform clients of clinic details –  Try to give at least 2 weeks notice so clients can clear their schedule.  It also gives an extra week or two if clients are away to get the information out.
  • Decide on staff.  Suggest 1 “leader” on the deck and staff in the pool for manipulation.  Ensure staff are prepared and educated on responsibilities.
  • Prepare a lesson plan with the flexibility to change a little on the day of the clinic depending on the ability of those attending.
    Run the clinic and enjoy!

clinicsClinic Program

Skills taught in clinics should be isolated and practiced repeatedly so that swimmers perfect each skill.  Breaststroke can be a difficult stroke to teach if it is rushed through so remember to go slow and perfect each skill before moving on.  Each swim school has a different way of teaching breaststroke – make sure all swimmers are ready to move on before introducing a new skill.  Or keep one group practicing with an instructor while moving the other group on.   Consider teaching arms and legs separately and once swimmers have those skills perfected move on to teaching arms and legs together.  Land drill is a very effective way

Choosing participants

The swim clinic will focus solely on breaststroke skills and drills.  It is important that swimmers are physically capable of attempting breaststroke swimming and emotionally capable of working in a large group.  Ensure swimmers are attending the correct clinic.  Is it to introduce new skills or perfect existing technique?  Instructors will be the best people to target specific swimmers  – they may be having trouble with their breaststroke or show potential in their skill development.  Clinic can also be available to any swimmers/parents wishing to participate.
Swim clinics are a fantastic way to fast track swimmers skills and introduce new strokes for your swim school.  If run effectively they can also be a great team building experience while learning additional skills and enjoying time with friends and instructors.

To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

Let me know some of your stories from the pool deck? Comment below.

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Do you need a deck supervisor at your swim school?

A deck supervisor is a great asset to many swim schools, especially when your office and administration staff, are separated from the pool area. The deck supervisor is often the vital link between management, parents, teachers, lifeguards and community members. If trained properly the deck supervisor can also provide quality control over the learn to swim program, ensuring that children are grouped into the correct class levels and teachers are providing quality lessons to customers. Because deck supervisors have such diverse roles and responsibilities, ideally they require both teaching and administration experience. The deck supervisor is a great support to swimming teachers because they can facilitate communication with the parents who are often eager to discuss their child’s progress, but back to back lessons prohibit this discussion with the class teacher. Deck supervisors will need to be knowledgeable on all areas of the program, policies and procedures so that they can facilitate all communication within a swim school.

Employing a Deck Supervisor

When employing a deck supervisor, management should ensure that they select a person who is comfortable and capable of undertaking a leadership and human resources role. In fact AUSTSWIM has recently introduced a new qualification to service the exact skill set that is required to perform this role. Information about the AUSTSWIM Aquatic Service Officer course can be found on their website at the following link http://www.austswim.com.au/Training/AquaticServiceOfficer.aspx. This course is open to all current licensed AUSTSWIM Teachers of Swimming and Water Safety.  On completion of the course requirements candidates will be issued with a Statement of Attainment for the following units of competency from the Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package

– Provide customer service
– Work effectively in sport and recreation environments
– Undertake risk analysis of activities

Providing Professional Development

Providing professional development opportunities is essential to keep employees engaged with their job, provide quality services to customers and to ensure that the learn to swim industry is perceived as a professional field. Australia is leading the world in this arena with programs and facilities which are world renowned. It’s exciting that today we are seeing more and more people taking up this occupation as a career rather than a part time job and pathway to establish another profession. Swimming is a way of life for Australians whether they are participating for professional sport or recreation. Swim school operators are in a unique position where their business is actually contributing to the health and safety of the Australian community.

The Learn to Swim Industry

The learn to swim industry has a huge responsibly to provide a professional service to the Australian community. Of particular concern is always ensuring the health and safety of those who are participating in the swimming lesson. The deck supervisor can assist plant management, lifeguards and teachers with their duties by overseeing safe and effective practices within the swim school. In terms of business growth, the deck supervisor can assist with class retention by gathering feedback and manage complaints. The deck supervisor can also maintain quality control within the swim school by identifying areas where staff require additional support or training. So now is time to ask yourself this question again. Do you need a deck supervisor at your swim school? Perhaps another question to ponder is: “Am I using my deck supervisor to their full potential”?

To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

Let me know some of your stories from the pool deck? Comment below.

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Swim staff training – Start Now

The summer swimming season is here in Australia and as Swim School owner operators it’s essential to make sure you have the best staff possible to meet the needs of your clients. Your swim school numbers should be growing simply by the change in temperature. But you need to keep these customers happy by providing them with the best possible swimming lesson available. You don’t want unsatisfied customers because you haven’t put enough time and effort into staff training.

Staff training doesn’t have to be difficult

Staff training can take many different shapes and forms whether it’s practical or theory, face to face or online, short sessions or long session. In fact a combination of all of these, are ideal to meet the needs of all the individuals on your team. Delegating the role of staff training can also be a great opportunity to give responsibility or recognition to a more senior or experienced member of your organisation. Sharing ideas, reviewing performances and regularly communicating with your team is the best way to keep everyone on the same page and maintain consistency within your staff and program.

Swim School Operators

As swim school owner operators it’s also important to ensure that you have maintained all your records and checked to see that all your staffs qualifications and professional accreditations are up to date. While this is an ongoing job as peoples qualification will expire at different times, it’s a good idea to check with everyone to ensure that they are on top of their own responsibilities. While it’s obvious practice to sight a new employees qualifications and credentials, it’s very easy to simply overlook those employees who have been with you for a long time and just assume that they have maintained their accreditation. A change of address or a memory lapse can easily result in the expiration of peoples qualifications. Remember the CPR qualification needs to be updated every twelve months. If you can get a service provider to come in and refresh all your staffs CPR qualifications at the same time it makes things a little easier.

So if you don’t know where to start with your staff training you’re probably not using World Wide Swim School to its full potential. Sure this newsletter is great but there are so many more activities available inside the WWSS hub. Visit this link and check it out http://worldwideswimschool.com/product/swim-school-professional-development-hub/

If you think you’d like to suggest some training products that would help you please feel free to contact us and we will get started on then straight away [email protected]


To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!


How do you class sizes in your swimming lessons? Comment below.

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Laurie talks with Brooke Hanson

Laurie sits down to talk with Brooke Hanson OAM, Olympian and AUSTSWIM Ambassador.

Brooke talks about her journey in swimming, missing the 1996 and 2000 Olympic games through to her success in the following Olympics and what were the important lessons she learnt through her mixture of disappointments and success!

What was it that drove Brooke to continue on with her Olympic dream, that inspired her to never give up until she made her dreams come true.

Brooke talks about why her role as AUSTSWIM Ambassador it is important to her and the near drowning’s she experienced as a child and the role her family plays in her love of swimming and drowning prevention.

Brooke talks about her move to the Gold Coast with her family and how being part of the lead up to the Commonwealth Games through her new city.

Watch this short video of Laurie talking with Brooke Hanson

Give us some of your stories after competitive swimming? Comment below.

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Soak It Up 2015 – AUSTSWIM Conference

World Wide Swim School and Kids Alive are exhibiting at the ‘SOAK IT UP’ 2015 National Aquatic Education Conference held at Twin Towns by AUSTSWIM on Friday 25th – Saturday 26th September.

Laurie Presenting

There are few who do not know of Laurie Lawrence or his spirited personality, sense of humour and zest for life. Swimming and water safety play an important part in Laurie’s life. In swimming, his career highlights include swimmers gaining standout performances at Commonwealth, Olympic and World Championships. In the water safety arena, Laurie is a tireless advocate and innovator for drowning prevention; particularly for infant and preschool children and their parents. Generous in time and spirit, Laurie is a valued supporter of AUSTSWIM.

Share 40 years of successful swimming and water safety teaching techniques as Laurie imparts his effective and eminently achievable approach targeting your career, students and their parents. Laurie has unique insight into the essential attributes of AUSTSWIM Teachers of Swimming and Water Safety, and guides you towards a GOLD AUSTSWIM career pathway.

To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

We would love to hear your swimming success stories as the result of hard work and persistence. Please share in the comments section below.

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Variety in the swimming lesson

We recently did a staff training session with the teachers at Laurie Lawrence Swim School about how to create variety in the swimming lesson. This came as a result from feedback we sometimes get at the front desk about children becoming bored with their swimming lessons. The educator in me is slightly defensive, because I know that children thrive on routine and swimming is a very complex skill that requires repetition if we are going to create a quality swimming stroke. By bringing this topic to the forefront I didn’t want to see my teachers lose focus on skill building where we progress only to the next stage when the child has competently mastered the prerequisite skill. But there was really no need to be defensive because when we brainstormed this topic I realised that there are plenty of ways to ensure that there is variety in the swimming lesson without comprising on our skill building values. This is what we discussed.

Swim Lesson Planning

Swim Lesson Planning is vital to develop learning goals for the group. Remember to review and reflect your plan to ensure that you’re on track, because alternations may be necessary depending on the ability of the children or the class dynamics. You don’t need to be overly specific in your lesson planning but it’s important that you know what your lesson focus is from week to week. If you don’t have it written down it’s very difficult to remember what skills you worked on the previous week, especially when you teach several shifts. If you don’t have a plan it’s very easy to revert to the same old boring lesson plan and students will become bored.

Location, Pool Space and Formations

It may be an idea to vary the location of you lesson. For example move from shallow to deep water or vary the distances that the children swim. It’s important that children learn how to perform their swimming skills in deep water particularly when they have only been learning in the shallow water. Furthermore short distance swims is ideal to develop good skill execution but the children and parents will also delight in trying to swim longer distances. Remember to always rope off your teaching space to ensure the safety of your class and help with class control. Don’t forget the different types of swimming formations to keep it interesting as well. Circling the land, wave formation, relay or circuits all give variety to the lesson.

Swimming Equipment

Try to select different swimming equipment to keep it interesting like pool noodles, kickboards, pullbuoys, dive rings, floating mats and hoops just to name a few. Remember any equipment used should aid in the children’s learning. Don’t use equipment to waste time but use it to meet your lesson focus. For example if your focus is to develop kicking skills, get the group to kick on a noodle, follow the lead kicking with the board, have short relay races kicking with the board, refocus kicking on the ledge, do a long lap kicking and walk back and practice kicking with a board roll on your back. There is a lot of variety here to keep the class interested. Maybe even a little bit too much to fit into one half hour lesson!

Warm Up and Final Activity

Traditionally we like to start all our classes off with breath control and kicking on a shallow ledge or side of the pool for 3 to 5 minutes. I still believe this is the ideal way to start the class because it acclimatises the children to the water and also gives any late comers an opportunity to join the group with minimal distraction. It is important however that we use this warm up to set the stage for the rest of the lesson. For this reason, use the time to move through the group greeting the swimmers, correcting, manipulating and praising great work. Excite and engage the children by having them count with you for the count of ten as they kick. Make little competitions for example all the boys kick and then all the girls kick. Smile and let them know how excited you are for the upcoming lesson.

Make sure every class finishes on a positive note. This will excited the children for the following week and leave them feeling good about the lesson they just completed. Make sure to manage your time so that you can finish with something fun. Children love diving for rings but this activity takes a fair bit of time. Very often the teachers are leaving this until the last minute or two and this makes the class run over or students miss out on a turn. Calling mum or Dad over to watch the last race of the class can get everyone excited and feeling good.

Remember don’t try to put too much into one lesson. Children do need to be given time to perfect the skill. But do read the children’s body language to see when you need to change activities. If you notice that they are starting to get fatigued or if behavioural problems start to arise it’s usually a good time to switch it up.


To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!


We would love to hear your swimming success stories as the result of hard work and persistence. Please share in the comments section below.

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Review of the 8-12 month Swim Class

This month I’d like to share with you a video of an 8 to 12 month old swimming class at Laurie Lawrence Swim School. I’d encourage you to show this video to the teachers at your swim school to get ideas and open up a forum for discussion which is relevant to your centre. Sharing information, opening up lines of communication and brainstorming ideas is fantastic for morale and keeping everyone on the same page. This particular video focuses on the swimming lesson warm up.

Class Background

The babies in this video have attended regular weekly swimming lessons with their parents since they were 4 months of age. The parents have a vital role to play in the swimming lesson, because at this very early age, they are the teacher. For this reason I believe that the “swimming teachers” role becomes that of a water safety educator, they impart knowledge to the parents so that early introductions to the water are conducted in a loving and safe manner.

Social referencing is at its peak during this 8 to 12 month developmental stage. For this reason the more relaxed the parent is with their baby the better they will become in the water. The swimming teacher must encourage parents to:

  • Hold their baby softly
  • Keep them low in the water so they feel buoyancy
  • Smile and enjoy the time together
  • Read their baby’s body language

Warm Up

You’ll notice we start the swimming lesson with a kicking activity on a shallow teaching ledge. We like to open the swimming lesson in this way because it gives a definite start to the class, allows the teacher to greet all students and allows any late comers time to join the group without interruptions. This activity can easily be duplicated in open water, with the back against a wall, and without a teaching ledge. Manipulative kicking is important because we are teaching the baby word action association, where they learn what kicking means and how to do it. All manipulative kicking is followed by an opportunity for independent practice. During the very early stages the baby’s reflexes will be controlling the kicking action. That is, they will be kicking their legs in response to the stimulation of the water. But as the baby grows with age, this will be replaced with them consciously performing the kicking action.

Conditioning should be included in the warm up of every swimming lesson for children under the age of 2. This prepares baby for the underwater activities like submersions and free floats which happen later in the swimming lesson. Early attempts at conditioning can be done with a small cup of water. But as the baby becomes proficient, we can extend their breath control by using a bucket. The swimming teacher must ensure that the parents understand that conditioning is a prerequisite to all underwater work. If children are not responding positively to conditioning, then baby should not be submerged. Teachers should also encourage parents to incorporate conditioning into the daily bath routine as they will be very helpful for the swimming lesson. Before all submersions parents and teachers should ensure baby is,

  • Holding their breath on the verbal trigger words
  • Happy and confident with water on the face
  • Not resisting in anyway

Another great activity to include into the warm up is the upright seated kick. In this instance the parent can easily manipulate the legs as they walk though the water and the baby can clearly see what kicking looks like. As they return to the ledge the baby is placed in a prone position for their independent practice. They baby will love the freedom to kick, splash and exercise in this position. Teachers should encourage parents to hold children high up under the arms to ensure that their centre of gravity is aligned and they don’t get that overbalanced feeling. Remember the baby’s head is quite large in proportion to the rest of their body so if you hold the torso it will not feel as comfortable and balanced.


I hope this video has given you some useful information which can be used as a springboard for discussion within your own swim school. Review and reflection is a vital component in the pursuit of excellence. Our job as swimming teachers is so important because we are directly influencing the water safety ideas and attitudes of families that we come in contact with. The happiness seen on the parents and children’s faces is the icing on the cake.

To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!


We would love to hear your swimming success stories as the result of hard work and persistence. Please share in the comments section below.

FREE 3 Part Video Series…

Watch Laurie take a group of frightened beginners for their first class Now!!!!

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Hypoxic Training and Shallow Water Blackout

Shallow water black out in its most simple term is the loss of consciousness from extended breath holding.

In competitive swimming

In competitive swimming athletes are at high risk especially when doing repeated sets where they are pushing themselves to go further in their underwater work. This is used in preparation for competition because the underwater dolphin kick is more efficient then swimming on the surface of the water.

To raise awareness of shallow water blackout, Head Coach of North Baltimore Aquatic Club Bob Bowman, stared in a YouTube video which explains even experienced swimmers can become a victim. You can watch this video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=13&v=ODo0815FNK4 .

To assist swimming coaches, The Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association shared its position statement regarding Hypoxic Training and it can be read at the following link http://www.swimming.org.au/visageimages/Hypoxic%20Training%20Policy%20Position.pdf .

Regardless of age or ability

All swimmers regardless of age or ability should be educated to

  • Never swim alone
  • Always take a breath when you feel the need to
  • Never play breath holding challenges

Swimming world magazine also did an online article to highlight the tragic incidents that can result from shallow water blackout. http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/shallow-water-blackout-the-silent-killer-of-swimmers/

For more information we suggest heading over to the website http://shallowwaterblackoutprevention.org/. Their mission is to prevent senseless deaths from underwater blackout through awareness and education. On their website you can see facts about shallow water blackout as well as videos, information, pool signage and brochures to help in raising awareness of shallow water blackout.

To learn more about Laurie’s teaching methodologies – Professional Development Hub


We would love to hear your swimming success stories as the result of hard work and persistence. Please share in the comments section below.

FREE 3 Part Video Series…

Watch Laurie take a group of frightened beginners for their first class Now!!!!

Get it FREE Now