September 26, 2011 2:38 pm ET
The Kid’s First Swim School has opened its doors, or pool if you prefer, for business in the Merrit Point Shopping Center in Dundalk.
The concept and marketing of this business venture is unique in a variety of ways. The swim school is America’s largest provider of year round warm water swimming instruction, with over 50,000 students.
The company was founded in 2000 by Gary Roth and now has 11 schools in Maryland. Each franchise is independently owned and operated.
While parents ushered their children in the front door clutching bathing suits and goggles, I was greeted by one of the owners Rich Tempera who gave me the guided tour. The dressing rooms were large and accommodating. The clean smell of fresh paint was still in the air. There was a viewing area where parents could watch the instructors work with their children in the art of swimming. I say that because there is science behind the swimming stroke.
As you will see in the photos, the pool is spacious. The depth runs from 2 feet to 4 feet 9 inches and the water is maintained at a steady 90 degree temperature.
I sat down with Dan Muffoletto, another one of the owners and driving force behind this new business venture in Dundalk. I mean it when I use the word driving, – as in golf – because this business concept was born on the Sparrows Point golf course. You see the four owners and their wives are members of the Sparrows Point Country Club. You know the old saying about the number of business deals done on golf courses. Along with Rich and Dan, the other partners include Bob Wittstadt and Don Kennedy.
“We chose Dundalk because it is a water based community,” Dan said. “The demographics in the number of parents and children made this a perfect fit.” Dan was also adamant about the goal of making all children safe around water which is abundant in Dundalk.
Dan explained the science behind the Kids First teaching program. “In walking or running, it’s a one to one ratio in arm swing to stride,” Dan said demonstrating the motion. “The swim stroke is a one to six ratio meaning the feet kick six times to every arm stroke.”
Each instructor must attend and pass a Kids First training program. I spoke with three of the Kids First instructors, Scott Eder, Megan Fasler and Megan Gutridge. Each instructor was preparing for a lesson with their students and eager to get started .
The parents I spoke with were excited about the opportunity to have their children learn to swim not only the right way, but to overcome any fears they may have about the water.
Stacey Britton saw the sign, checked out the facility, liked the price and thought this was the perfect opportunity for her young child. Bryan Hughes’s two children, eight year old Lacey and her four year old brother Madison were eagerly awaiting their first lesson.
The pool is available for seniors, parties and other special occasions. For more information call (410) 285-0052.