V O L U M E 3 0 | I S S U E 2 2 019
U N I T E D
S T A T E S
S W I M
S C H O O L
A S S O C I A T I O N
INTUITIVE TEACHING: PAY ATTENTION!
USSSA Community Impact Committee Makes Their Debut
SAVE YOUR ENERGY
Why is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Statement a Big Deal?
Splish , Splash , & Learn to Swim www.dolfinswimwear.com @dolfinswimwear
IN THIS ISSUE TABLE OF CONTENTS 3
Letter from the President
5 From the Desk of the Executive Director 7 5 Ways to Use Video to Get and Keep Swimmers 8 8 SAVE YOUR ENERGY: PART 2 COVER & TABLE OF CONTENTS PHOTO CREDIT
Save Your Energy: Part 2
12 Intuitive Teaching: Pay Attention! 14 Why is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Statement a Big Deal? 18 A Mobile App Provides a Better Experience for Swim Schools and Parents 20 Understanding Economic Principles Can Help You Get What You Need in Your Swim School Business 22 Ask Al
25 Community Impact Committee 27 Fuel Your Fire with USSSA
ASSOCIATION HEADQUARTERS 7100 E. Cave Creek Rd., Suite 109 Cave Creek, AZ 85331 480.837.5525 email@example.com usswimschools.org Executive Director Lisa M. Zarda, CAE, CNAP Editor Monica Martin ASSOCIATION OFFICERS President John Kirk, Little Otter Swim School Vice President Tracy Koleber, Nitro Swimming Treasurer Buffy Folise, Chicago Swim School ASSOCIATION DIRECTORS Brad Grzelka Atlanta Swim Academy Bobby Hazen SAF-T-SWIM Melissa Taylor Small Fish Big Fish Swim School Matt Young Hubbard Family Swim School USSWIMSCHOOLS.ORG | 1
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LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT “ Organizations are never limited by their team, they are limited by their leader.” Dave Ramsey I recently had a chance to attend a conference with some great speakers which led me to think about the need to elevate oneself. “Organizations are never limited by their team, they are limited by their leader.” -Dave Ramsey Those words land kind of hard but they ring true to me. Many times, we want to blame other circumstances for failures in our businesses. But if we look at the situation, we can usually identify some things we could have done which would have resulted in a better outcome. One of the great things about the Association is that we have a circle of friends to reach out to when confronted with tough times. The challenge is to elevate your thinking. This can be a hard task. It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day things that scream for our attention. We must resist and concentrate on the things that will lead us to our goals. By elevating ourselves we can elevate our lives. Schedule some time to work on this. You could read a book, listen to a podcast, go to a conference, or find a circle of like-minded people that you can go grab a coffee with. It is the most important thing that we can do. You must envision your future and plan a way to achieve it.
JOHN KIRK President US Swim School Association
USSWIMSCHOOLS.ORG | 3
FROM THE DESK OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR “ We rise by lifting others.” Robert Ingersoll So true! What an amazing perspective to have on life. One that your USSSA Staff discusses and tries to be mindful about in daily interactions. In what ways can you seek to lift others up around you? Is it a fellow staff member, someone in your family or maybe a friend facing adversity? Could it be as simple as a random act of kindness for a stranger? If you really think about it, helping others or paying it forward is the best way to lift your own mood and rise up from your daily routine. I’ve seen USSSA Members lift each other up on a number of occasions and that’s one of the things I admire most about this association. There have been numerous school tours, time spent chatting at an event or over the phone. Personal notes and gifts sent to a fellow member during the tough times. Community is one of the core values of USSSA and such a vital part of what makes this association so unique. Thank you to all of you who have reached out to help a member in need or answer a question. As a community we can lift each other up and in doing so elevate the swim school industry and watch it soar even higher!
LISA M. ZARDA, CAE, CNAP Executive Director US Swim School Association
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5 WAYS TO USE VIDEO TO GET AND KEEP SWIMMERS
BY BETH ZIESENIS YOUR NERDY BEST FRIEND
DID YOU KNOW THAT EIGHT IN 10 CONSUMERS HAVE BEEN CONVINCED TO MAKE A PURCHASE AFTER WATCHING A BRAND’S VIDEO (VIA WYZOWL)? Schools can benefit from upping their video game… and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are some quick and buget-friendly video tools to enhance your website, email communications and more.
1 MAKE A MOVIE IN AN INSTANT: ANIMOTO Animoto is one of those tools that make swimmers and students go “WOW” and look at you in wonder. The premise is incredibly simple: Gather 10 or more pictures and/ or videos, throw in a title and choose a theme and soundtrack – then push a button. Presto! Animoto instantly creates a perfectly timed, perfectly professional, perfectly awesome video to showcase your events and services. It’s so fast that you can take pictures of your event’s opening reception then have the wrap-up video online by the time they check the social media feed one more time before bed.
Beth Ziesenis is Your Nerdy Best Friend. She is the author of several books on technology including “The Big Book of Apps.” Her popular keynote at the USSSA Spring Workshop 2019 offered more tips like these. A handout from the session is available on the USSSA Member Resource Pool.
COMBINE VIDEO CLIPS INTO A SMART HIGHLIGHT REEL: MAGISTO
MAKE AN EXPLAINER VIDEO: POWTOON
Magisto is almost as easy as Animoto, but it’s twice as smart. Just upload video clips and images, such as clips of your staff busy at work, and choose a theme. Magisto uses artificial intelligence to analyze the content, finding the best clips and highlights automatically. Within five minutes, you’ll have a share-worthy montage of your clips and pictures. Magisto is also helpful for walking through online demos and showcasing testimonials.
4 SHARE NEWS WITH A SOCIAL VIDEO: LUMEN5 AND AUTOMAGICAL
Most videos are viewed at work where people are hesitant to turn on the audio. Don’t mute your message… create a video with key words and phrases that appear over your footage. You can use sites like Lumen5 and Automagical.ai to transform blog posts and industry news into dynamic captioned videos.
Have you seen those videos where hands move words on the screen and draw cartoon characters that pop in and out? Those explainer videos can help you, well, explain your products to and services to swimmers and sponsors. Wyzowl’s survey found that 91% of consumers have watched an explainer video to learn about a product or service. Powtoon is a do-it-yourself site that lets you use a template to create the perfect explainer video. You can choose from different themes, looks and messages to get started, then personalize it with your own words, logos, product images/video and more.
5 TALK DIRECTLY TO SWIMMERS WITH VIDEO EMAIL: LOOM
Make your email stand out in an inbox with a personalized video. Loom makes it easy to create a quick video that you can send with a click. You can even create an instant thumbnail to give the recipients a preview of your message to them.
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BY KAREN AND TIM CLAY SWIMWEST SWIM SCHOOL
SAVE YOUR ENERGY: PART 2 In the first energy efficiency article in Ready Set Swim (Vol. 30, Issue 1, 2019), I provided an overview on how utility companies bill for energy used. Understanding this is an absolute necessity for determining energy efficiency projects that represent a good use of money and is core to what follows.
5 CITIES SWIM SCHOOL SOLAR PANELS
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The article also shared several simple energy savings improvements that any swim school can do whether you own or lease a facility, which by most peopleâ€™s standards, would represent a good return on your investment. The article also briefly mentioned a couple of other projects that SwimWestâ€™s energy auditor identified as worth-while, purely from a cost savings perspective.
Specifically, there are two projects that have since been completed or will be done in August and include 1) the replacement of our existing boilers that heat the facility and our pool; and 2) replacing our circulation pump motor with a more efficient unit equipped with variable frequency drive (vfd) controls. This project also includes replacing the sand filters with new units that can handle a lower turn-over rate without jeopardizing water quality. The SwimWest boilers were near the end of life and plans were underway to replace them regardless. Timing was in our favor as the energy auditor reviewed these plans and was very helpful in helping us locate a highly efficient boiler that would give us excellent energy savings, years of dependable service, and fit within the budget. The auditor determined the energy cost savings of installing the highly efficient boilers to help leverage a rebate of more than $6,000, or about 10% of the total project cost. The rebate was available because SwimWest’s electric utility participates in Focus On Energy—an energy efficiency and conservation program for Wisconsin utility customers that was created by state law in 2002. Focus On Energy, like similar programs in many other states, provides financial incentives to help off-set part of the cost of installing highly energy efficient devices. If you plan on installing highly energy efficient equipment anyway, its free money! Additionally, the annual energy savings will be approximately $1,150 for the entire life of the system, which should be at least 20 years. With a modest cost increase of approximately $10,000 for the highly efficient units, SwimWest expects to see a ROI in about three to four years. In August, SwimWest will be replacing its sand filters due to age and to lower the pool turn-over rate from 3.5 to 5.3 hours when in use, and 6 hours (minimum state code requirement) when unoccupied. Part of this project also includes installing a new highly efficient circulation pump equipped with variable frequency drive controls. In lay terms, the speed of the motor will be increased or decreased (use less energy) depending on when the pool is occupied. Circulation pumps generally work 24 hours a day and don’t need to work as hard when a pool isn’t occupied.
UTILITY COST BREADOWN
SWIMWEST ROI ESTIMATE STANDARD PANEL CALCULATION 1kW = 1,336 kWh/year (based on geographical location) Annual savings ($0.091 utility rate) = $122/year/kW 10 KW SYSTEM (STANDARD PANEL) $1,220 savings per year
13,360 kWh/year or about 1 month of electric use Estimated cost: $17,690 Estimated Life of Service: 20 years ROI: 14.5 years
Natural Gas Cost Water Cost
This will also help with intermittent water quality issues associated with a turn-over rate that is currently too high. SwimWest did look at the possibility of using cold water to backwash the filters, the costs for plumping new piping and water storage and the physical space requirements precluded this as a viable option. The estimated energy savings for this project is at least $1,600 annually or about $16,000 over the life of the motor. Excluding the cost of replacing the worn out sand filters, the ROI should be in 3-4 years and SwimWest will receive a $600 rebate from Focus On Energy. With all of these projects and those mentioned in the first article, SwimWest’s costs will be nearly $115,000 (before rebates). Most of these costs would have been incurred regardless. However, SwimWest’s deliberate effort to evaluate the cost effectiveness of its energy uses clearly shows that, at least in these examples, you can meaningfully lower overall operational costs, with a measurable benefit of reducing your environmental footprint. In SwimWest’s market and clearly across younger generations, environmental stewardship matters. SwimWest’s marketing plan now includes a focus on environmental stewardship to target environmentally conscious consumers to help the top line.
SwimWest spent its available capital on projects that provided the best use of its money from an operational and energy efficient stance. There are several reasons why swim schools may be interested in installing solar panels to generate their own electricity or for heating water. In SwimWest’s case, an analysis of total utility usage shows that, while natural gas is the predominate resource used on a BTU basis; electricity consumption is the largest utility expense (see Figure 1). Last year, SwimWest spent $17,600 for 194,400 kWh of electricity. While a large cost the combination of lower electric rates for the business and expected average performance for the solar panels, it’s hard to make a business case. The estimated ROI is 14.5 years that in the best of circumstances will provide 1/10 of the facility’s power needs. However, it’s certainly worth re-evaluating in the future as the price and efficiency of solar panels will continue to improve at the same time electric rates are likely to increase. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed PVWatts™, a non-biased calculator, to estimate solar energy output based on the geographical location. Figure 2 represents the estimated ROI for SwimWest using the calculator and the facility’s electric rate USSWIMSCHOOLS.ORG | 9
of 9.1 cents per kWh. A swim school’s geographical location, the price paid for electricity, incentives, and the installation price are the key variables that will significantly impact the ROI. External drivers pushing solar development include state and municipal laws in place or under consideration to do things like establishing net-zero electricity (or all energy in some cases) building codes for new construction that includes highly energy efficient design standards coupled with the on-site generation of electricity. Collectively, the intent is, on a net basis, to fully off-set or potentially even exceed (sell excess electricity to the utility) the amount of power that is purchased from the electric utility. Other swim schools may want to install solar panels for greater environmentally sustainability, even if the ROI is many years out, or the amortized costs exceed the cost of purchasing power from a utility company. For others compelled by pure economics, in many places the potential to lower energy bills is cost justifiable. According to numerous sources, the average cost to install solar panels today is about $3.05 per watt or $30,500 for a stationary 10 kW system and falling. After the 30% federal tax credit, the cost drops to $21,350. There are likely other incentives offered by your utility or other government programs that will further lower the cost. States with high electric rates where solar output is high will also help strengthen the economic case. Whatever the reason for your interest, it is important to do your homework. Does your state or municipality have renewable energy mandates and do they apply to you? What about zoning laws? Does your utility have experts that can help you determine whether it’s the right move for your business? Does your state, city, or utility offer financial incentives in addition to the federal 30% investment tax credit (note that the federal tax credit percentage begins to decrease beginning in 2020 and reaches a floor of 10% in 2022)? In Wisconsin, the Focus On Energy program also provides up to $5,000 for projects serving a commercial business, based on the size of the system. Know how much you pay for electricity and what your utility pays you for excess power generated. 10 | USSWIMSCHOOLS.ORG
Geography also matters. While Wisconsin is a lovely place, it isn’t sunshine every day. Snow covers all surfaces, including solar panels. For installations here, that can mean more maintenance and a lower capacity factor—an industry term that expresses the percentage of time a solar panel actually produces electricity. In Wisconsin, that is somewhere around 20% of the time, and varies depending on the source. Talk with a reputable solar installation company and ask lots of questions. Ask to contact commercial customers they have done work for. Solar panels don’t last forever, what’s a reasonable life expectancy? What are the maintenance requirements and what does that cost? How much space will you need for the panels? Do you have the space and is it better to be on the roof or ground? Can they help quantify the environmental benefits of the power they generate? Are there safety considerations for your customers, contractors, and employees? Based on local experience and similar technology, what is the actual capacity factor? All of these things will help you to determine whether installing solar water heating or solar panels for generating electricity makes sense for your business. An important thing that I have learned is that my electric utility has renewable energy experts that provided valuable advice at no additional cost. That over building a solar system to sell back power to my utility isn’t economical—the system should be sized to meet my energy demand, not exceed it. Some states require utilities to purchase excess power generated by their customers at their retail rate, or even at higher rates in some places, but that’s not true in my case. That my variables such as the price I pay for energy and a system’s capacity factor varies widely in comparison to swim schools in other states, and will affect the economics and environmental benefits. I also realized early on that I needed to work with professionals I could trust. While this isn’t rocket science, it’s still complicated and with making any business decision to invest tens of thousands, due diligence is very important. The cost and benefits of energy efficiency projects will indeed
vary from place to place and is a combination of many factors. Finally, talk with your swim school peers that have installed solar panels. They will be some of your best sources of information. I reached out to a few swim schools that have installed solar panels and asked them a few questions and what follows is a summary of their comments. MAKING WAVES SWIM SCHOOL ONTARIO, CA (TORONTO AREA) JACK MURPHY (905) 450-1344 Two Solar Arrays: • Installed 2012, 10kW, cost $84,000, buy back rate 81.3 cents, electric rate 9 cents, ROI 9 years • Installed 2013, 10kW, cost $63,000, buy back rate 62 cents, electric rate 9 cents Comments: • Reason for installation was greater environmental sustainability for future generations. • Almost no maintenance issues other than snow removal. • Roof location makes it difficult to remove snow (no output if snow isn’t removed). • Ability to show positive impact on the environment via on-line application. 5 CITIES SWIM SCHOOL ARROYO GRANDE, CA JEFF PURCHIN (805) 481-6399 One Solar Array: • Designed to replace 80 percent of electric use. • Installation cost was $28,000. • The state provided an incentive for 13% of the system cost. • Estimated ROI was seven years. Comments: • Design capacity estimate was overzealous, offsets 65% of electricity used. • ROI is nine years, not seven that was based on design estimates. • Very little maintenance, no issues with hail damage. • Do negotiate on price, there is a potential for considerable savings. • Once a skeptic, now a believer. My final energy efficiency article will focus on lessoned learned from our industry peers in Amsterdam, Netherlands and Lünen, Germany. Until then, Auf Wiedersehen.
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BY ANYA HALL LITTLE WHALE SWIM SCHOOL
INTUITIVE TEACHING: PAY ATTENTION! The swim school industry is growing fast. It’s time to up our game in this new competitive market. How do we separate ourselves from our competitors? We pay attention. We’re in the service industry, therefore we must provide excellent customer service. How do we do this? We first identify our customers. We have both internal customers (our staff) and external customers (our families). Then we can identify the needs and expectations of these customers: • What makes your staff motivated to come to work? • What makes your parents feel good about paying for lessons? • What makes your swimmers excited to get in the pool?
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STAFF: Provide your staff with the knowledge to feel confident about what they’re doing in the water. Educate them on the WHY’s of your curriculum. This is usually part of an extended training program, after staff have learned the initial skills and layers of your program. Once teachers master the basics, a secondary round of training is recommended. This is when we teach our swim staff the “why’s” behind what we do. In this secondary training, we go over “catch phrases” to use when correcting parents in parent and me classes. We educate them on how to customize their basic lesson plan to address each individual students’ needs. And then we do it again, and again, reminding our teachers that they are professionally trained. They know what to say and do because we prepare them with our extensive, ongoing training. PARENTS: Beyond front desk customer service, how are we educating parents on what they’re getting for their tuition? There are many avenues to do this (e-blast newsletters, blog articles, social media, etc.) but human contact makes the biggest impact. Our deck support staff is the front line of parent customer service. They act as liaisons between teachers and parents by providing feedback on their child’s progress (or plateaus). Beyond the curriculum
details, our deck staff are encouraged to develop relationships with the parents, making parents more comfortable asking questions instead of going straight to YELP or cancelling lessons when they have a concern. STUDENTS: These little guys are the easiest customers to serve. Children are so transparent if you pay attention. Meeting their needs should be organic to anyone working with young children. Now that we have our internal customers (staff) equipped with knowledge and confidence, the only thing left to do is to let the children teach the teachers by recognizing student cues. For example: • Notice a child arches her back every time she’s submerged and comes up rubbing her face? She’s probably getting water in her nose. Try using a nose plug or snorkel mask. • Notice a student comes in with round bandaids on his shoulders? Ask him if he went to the doctor, then show him empathy and maybe skip climb outs that day.
Creating a customized experience that is unique to your program will help separate you from the competition. Identify your customers and pay attention... they’ll show you how to be the best swim school in town!
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS A3 Performance | p13
Neptune Benson | p24
Aquam | p21
Pool Guard | p17
CES | p26
Proven Promotions | p11
Cressi | p6
RCPS Really Cool Pool Stuff | p28
Dolfin | Inside Front Cover
Risk Management Services | p4
Finis | p2
Snyder Insurance Services | p29
iPlay | p24
Tri Swim | p21
Jackrabbit Swim | p11
USA Swimming Foundation | p26
Mobile Inventor | p19
NEW MEMBER LIST CAPITAL CITY AQUATICS & SPORTS THERAPY Zachary Wagers Topeka, KS LITTLE FINS SWIM ACADEMY Shelby Griffin Elmwood, LA SPEER SWIM SCHOOL Emily Speer Broomall, PA
WHY IS THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS (AAP) STATEMENT A BIG DEAL? BY KATHY HUBBARD HUBBARD FAMILY SWIM SCHOOL, INFANT TODDLER COMMITTEE MEMBER
Swim Safer! Remember the Safer 3!
Swim lessons can reduce drowning by
Safer Respon se Lear n CPR and First Aid! Always have a phone nearby
Identify risk areas Install bar riers, fences
Safe r Kids
Provide constant adult super vision Enroll kids in swim lessons with qualified, professional instructors
Since 2000, the AAP has gone from saying children under 4 are not ready for swim lessons to now stating, “It is important for pediatricians to address drowning risk for their patients.” As swim instructors we watch children learn-to-swim every day. We take it for granted. We need to understand the journey we have all been on to convince the AAP that there are incredible benefits to teaching infants and toddlers how to swim. This is the first time that pediatricians are being encouraged to address and support water safety and swim lessons. 2019 AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS REVISED STATEMENT
“ Children and parents need to learn to swim. Basic water competency swim skills include the ability to enter the water, surface, turn around, propel oneself for at least 25 yards and then exit the water.”
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AAP RELEASE ON THE NEW STUDY “It is critically important for us to collaborate with families and communities to protect kids from drowning,” said Ben Hoffman, MD, FAAP, Chair of the AAP Council on Injury, Violence & Poison Prevention. “Pediatricians should be talking about water safety routinely during well-child visits. By having families share their personal stories, we hope, will help connect with parents who may think it could “never happen” to them. Tragically, it can happen to anyone.” AAP’s website HealthyChildren.org, now includes water safety advice based on children’s developmental stages, and recommendations on choosing a good learn-to-swim program. How did this affect swim instructors: This is amazing progress. Pediatricians talking about water safety & swim lessons during well-child visits! Organizing groups to talk about drowning prevention! Setting a goal of 25 yards!
WHY ARE WE SO EXCITED? HERE IS A QUICK SUMMARY OF THE JOURNEY.
2000 AAP STATEMENT 1. Children are generally not developmentally ready for formal swimming lessons until after their fourth birthday. 2. Aquatic programs for infants and toddlers should not be promoted as a way to decrease the risk of drowning. How did this affect swim instructors: This was extremely harmful - many pediatricians felt that they could not recommend swim lessons to children under the age of 4. They believed that if parents put their children in swim lessons they would be less observant as they would think their kids could swim so more drownings would occur. 2009 NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH (NIH) STATEMENT “In this study, we found a protective association between past participation in formal swimming lessons and risk of drowning in children aged 1 to 4 years. This can be interpreted as an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning among those with swimming lessons” How did this affect swim instructors: Very scientific study but the headlines were “Swimming Lessons Do Not Increase Drowning Risk in Young Children. Study allays concern that
lessons could increase risk by reducing Parent Vigilance”. Yep - the 2000 study had pediatricians and parents believing that taking your youngster under the age of 4 to swim lessons would increase the risk of drowning. This study was huge. It allowed the AAP to change their mind! 2010 AAP REVISED STATEMENT SWIMMING LESSONS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN “Children need to learn to swim. The evidence no longer supports an advisory against early aquatic experience and swimming lessons for children of any specific age. However, the current evidence is insufficient to support a recommendation that all 1- to 4-year-old children receive swimming lessons. How did this affect swim instructors: This statement made national news. AAPNews & Journals summed up the news releases. “For years, pediatricians have advised against swimming lessons for young children. New research, however, indicates that there is no reason to wait until after a child’s fourth birthday if the parent feels the child is developmentally ready.”
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS JULY 29-AUGUST 1, 2019
ASSA NATIONAL CONFERENCE CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA usswimschools.org/events
SEPTEMBER 20-23, 2019
OWNERS CIRCLE CHICAGO CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
SEPTEMBER 24-26, 2019
USSSA NATIONAL CONFERENCE MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN usswimschools.org/events
JANUARY 13-17, 2020
2ND INTERNATIONAL SWIM SCHOOLS SPECTACULAR SINGAPORE usswimschools.org/events JANUARY 18-22, 2020
OWNERS CIRCLE BALI INDONESIAN ISLAND usswimschools.org/events
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THANK YOU ANNUAL SPONSORS
A MOBILE APP PROVIDES A BETTER EXPERIENCE FOR SWIM SCHOOLS AND PARENTS BY TY MCDOWELL FOUNDER AND CEO OF MOBILE INVENTOR, INC.
“ I know that if it isn’t faster and easier, it won’t be better for me. And that applies to almost everything. So faster, easier, better became my mantra as I considered what PRO Swim’s mobile app should be.” SARA BISKIE, OWNER AND FACILITY MANAGER OF PRO SWIM ACADEMY 18 | USSWIMSCHOOLS.ORG
Access to services offered to parents through smartphone technology gives your business a modern, high-end appeal and streamlines swim schools’ business processes. LEADING WITH MODERN OPTIONS A mobile app provides a competitive advantage that gives you leading edge technology. It gives parents ease and convenience that other swim schools don’t provide. And that is priceless in a market where high-end options and personal services are valued. The edition of Smart Insights (11 July, 2018) stated it this way: “The implications are clear - if you’re not able to reach your audience through mobile search or display, or you’re not providing a satisfactory mobile experience, you will miss out compared to competitors who are.”
The mobile app gives parents access to what they need more quickly than going to a website – even if that site is mobile friendly – and that is great for parents. But there are advantages for the swim school too. For example, the fact that the mobile app is on the device where parents do everything else keeps them engaged with the school. Just seeing the app icon may remind them of registration or to refer you to their friend who is standing in the Starbucks line with them. The ease of mobile class registration and payment accelerates a business’s cash flow. “We partnered with Mobile Inventor five years ago, to provide our clients with a parent friendly mobile app that interfaces with the Jackrabbit system. This is a great feature and allows our clients to register and pay for classes.
It also puts the school’s brand on a parent’s phone which is a great way to promote the school’s brand to its clients,” Mark Mahoney of Jackrabbit Technologies. The mobile app’s flexibility allows swim schools the ability to change up their look and their information to coincide with topics that are current with parents. This is a very simple way to maintain the personal touch. The app must provide a messaging feature that allows a business to quickly communicate with their clients in the event of facility closure due to weather or other urgent news. LETTING THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG A mobile app is a tool for swim schools to use. Like any tool it must be promoted to parents and students so that they know about it. PRO Swim knew that promotion of their new amazing app was important so they set to work on a plan. About two months ahead of
launch, Sara made sure that their mobile app information was included in the loops that ran on their facility’s TVs. She used the same information promoting the app in her email newsletter that she distributed to everyone. These promotional messages directed parents to the website page dedicated to information about all of the app’s features, benefits and download instructions. When their website was clicked on with a mobile device, it invited them to download the new app. PROOF IN THE NUMBERS A mobile app should offer statistics as to its usage so that a business can measure the app effectiveness. App statistics should be given in real time describing app usage in daily and monthly detail. App statistics should include enrollments, downloads, and active users. Each app page should be evaluated against number of downloads which equates to the level of importance that users place on it.
“We’re very pleased with the response to the app. Parents think it’s cool and fits right in with the quality we provide in high-end swimming lessons. At the end of the day, I had to be sure that we were staying true to my faster, easier, better mantra and giving our parents an app that would really appeal to what is important to them.” Sara Biskie, Owner and Facility Manager. A mobile app offers: • Leading edge technology for a swim school. • Personalized user experiences in a modern, high-end option. • Ease of use through simple clicks to important tasks and processes such as class registration and payments. • Quick-to-complete processes. • Verification of app effectiveness through measurable statistics. • Easy ways to obtain app through App Store and Google Play.
UNDERSTANDING ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES CAN HELP YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED IN YOUR SWIM SCHOOL BUSINESS BY KENNETH J. ZARDA
Economics is often referred to as the “dismal science.” We live in a world of limited resources and unlimited wants and needs, as economists we study the choices we make based on that simple fact, or as the Rolling Stones succinctly put it, “You can’t always get what you want.” Yet understanding this truism does allow us to focus on our choices and hopefully making choices that ultimately serve us better. How many times have you thought, “I’ve spent a lot of money on this, I should finish this up.” If you’re like me, you’ve fallen victim to the sunk cost fallacy. Sunk cost fallacy is the idea of a cost that has already been paid and can no longer be recovered, but we use these spent resources in determining whether to move forward. It’s easy to fall victim to this mistake. It’s all around us, we have seen politicians use the argument to continue programs that haven’t work. They will argue more resources and time are required to achieve our goal. Chances are we already know adding more resources and time to the goal are unlikely to achieve the goal, but to quit now would be to waste those previous resources. Actually the waste would be to commit further resources, for the costs we paid are already gone and can never be made up, thus they should not factor into our decision. As difficult as it may sound, putting aside our sunk costs and looking at a decision critically with an eye to future costs is one that will help us most. Another economic concept which I think is critical is marginal costs and marginal benefits. In economics the idea of marginal refers to the next one item. So marginal costs are costs that result in adding just one more school, one more class, one more teacher, or one more student. The marginal cost must be weighed by the marginal benefit that arises from the additional cost. It seems pretty obvious that the benefit must outweigh the cost, but actually so long as marginal benefit outweighs the cost, you add another unit until they balance out. In conjunction with marginal costs comes another cost, opportunity costs. Usually when we think of costs, we are thinking of fixed and variable costs; costs that result from running a business. These are important costs. As I point out to students, you can sell an outrageous amount of goods or services, but if you can’t control your costs it won’t matter. Yet I think opportunity costs, are equally important. Opportunity costs looks at the cost of any action. This is where the adage of “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” (TNSTAAFL) comes from. The cost results from what we have given up. A free lunch, actually requires we give up our time, thus it is not free. In business an opportunity cost might be, would my resources and time be better spent adding another class or do I have another use for those resources that could result in a better return. Opportunity costs are highly personal. An example of how personal they can be is that a person may take a job that pays much less which results in more time spent with a child. We can’t assume to know another’s opportunity costs, instead we should learn to respect them.
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More commonly when we think of economics we think of supply and demand. We have all had to draw the models in school but there are some ideas we can draw from those models. At the school where I work at, we sell out our student parking passes ($100 per year, only for seniors) in a very short period of time and end up with a waiting list for the spots, a shortage. If I were to draw a model representing this situation I would draw the supply and demand curves with a line representing the current price below the equilibrium. What I would do is to lead my students to discover that to get rid of the shortage, we should raise the price of the parking spots until there is no shortage (or waiting list). As a small business owner we constantly have to look at our price and ask if they fit our business. If we have a wait list is that a signal that our price is too low? We know we can’t always get what we want. Yet with the help of economics we understand what our costs are and hopefully we make more informed choices. And as the Rolling Stones said, “If you try sometimes, you’ll find you get what you need.” Kenneth J. Zarda is an experienced school teacher currently teaching AP Economics and AP Government at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, AZ. He holds a Master of Arts - MA focused in Economic Education and Entrepreneurship from University of Delaware Lerner College of Business and Economics. He enjoys time with his wife, two kids and dog. Ken is an avid Packers fan/owner and will happily talk economic theories with anyone who will listen.
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IN THE LAST ARTICLE, YOU MENTIONED DIGITAL TEST KITS WITH NEW FEATURES, AND WE AREN’T SURE WHAT IS THE RIGHT TYPE OF TEST KIT WE SHOULD BE USING FOR OUR BUSY SWIM SCHOOL. HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE BE TESTING, AND WHAT OTHER THINGS SHOULD WE BE CONSIDERING?
Welcome back to our “Ask the Expert” feature, designed to assist you with issues related to swimming pool water, mechanical equipment, space conditioning and code compliance. Ask a question, and we will try to answer to the best of our ability. There are a wide variety of test kits available today, and there is no one “right” type of test kit, and each has its positives and negatives. There are also some important considerations that are often overlooked. Here is a quick review:
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WHY TEST? This is an easy one. Daily testing is required in most local and state codes, and there are even more stringent requirements in the CDC’s national Model Aquatic Health Code (AKA the MAHC). The MAHC is quickly becoming viewed as a best practice guideline regardless of your location or type of pool operated and refers to test kits as “Water Quality Testing Device” or WQTD’s. But testing provides much more – that is the ability to prove that you were operating your pool to a safe level at the time bathers were in the water. ARE ALL TEST KITS CREATED EQUAL? No, but until recently there wasn’t really a way to separate good from bad, except an opinion. Along comes the MAHC which recommends that test kits be tested and certified to a level 1 accuracy based on NSF 50 test kit guidelines. This requirement is still relatively new, and as of May 1, 2019 there are only (3) L1-rated test kit on the NSF list, and many of the popular test kits have not achieved L1 rating, and some may never be capable of achieving. Check out the list at NSF International www.nsf.org NSF Product and Service Listings / Equipment for Swimming Pools. WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO TEST FROM? It is beneficial to use the controllerbased testing port where available. Why? This gives you the best overall mix of pool water including the entire perimeter of the pool (gutters or skimmers) and the bottom (main drain). This is especially true if you are going to compare against your chemistry control system, or plan to make system calibrations. The health department might test from the pool itself, and a periodic test poolside is encouraged so that you can assure you’re maintaining the correct levels in ALL areas of the pool. When testing in the pool, you should:
1. Draw sample from at least 18 inches (45.7 cm) below the surface of the water, and 2. from a water depth of between 3 to 4 feet (91.4 cm to 1.2 m) when available, and 3. from a location between (not in front) of water INLETS. OTHER TEST KIT CONSIDERATIONS? You also may want to watch your test kit storage procedures as reagents go bad if stored in high temperatures (like your car trunk) for a significant period of time. There are also expiration dates for each batch of reagents, so it is important to purchase them in smaller amounts and rotate your stock using FIFO (First in First Out) methods so that you don’t use outof-date reagents for your critical tests. HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU TEST FOR VARIOUS PARAMETERS? When using a functioning and accurate chemistry controller, you can test every 4 hours optimally. If your system is equipped with a direct-reading PPM sensors, alert notification, PPM/ORP bracketing, or other advanced features, we’ve seen customers test as infrequently as once a day with great results for many years. It’s also best to keep track of the ORP at the time of each test. Less automated pools should test every two hours per many codes. This will allow you to make corrections in chemical levels without letting the reading drift too far from the legal limits. Other parameters like Total Alkalinity (TA) and Calcium Hardness (CH) should be tested weekly, and Cyanuric Acid or Stabilizer (CYA) should be tested monthly, or more often if you have a pool leak (shouldn’t be used in indoor pools anyway). Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) should be tested quarterly. Salt should be tested weekly if saline is used and monthly if bleach is used, so that you can add or drain water to stay on target. Copper/ silver tested daily if ionization is used as both are toxic at certain thresholds.
HOW ABOUT DIGITAL KITS? Reliable new digital test kits with NSF L1 ratings are available today and are used by leading swim schools. These test kits allow you to test 11-parameters using precise pre-filled disks in only 60-seconds and allow you to verify calibration in seconds. They can also provide you with an email alert if ANY out-of-range water parameter including Calcium, Alkalinity, Copper, Iron, Phosphates, and Stabilizer, as well as pH and Chlorine and Combined Chlorine. Imagine how valuable this might be if you’re operating a group of schools and can’t be there for each and every test. Readings are also stored in a secure cloud-based file for better “proof of testing.” CONCLUSION! Testing is a critical part of your everyday swim school operation. It is the only way that you can PROVE that you are providing a safe facility. So, operating a million-dollar swim school with a $30 kit that has been sitting in your trunk for a year may not be the wisest move, and you will probably want to step up your game to a more serious approach. New digital kits may cost $800, but the value of providing the safest and most appealing water for your patrons may obviously be worth the most professional approach possible. Hope that helps! Please feel free to forward your questions and comments through the Association office, or directly to me, via email at email@example.com. Best Regards, Alvaro G. Mendoza
TEST AND RECORD YOUR READINGS DAILY No matter which kit you use, it is important to document your readings on an official log sheet form, so that you can prove code compliance and see patterns developing. USSWIMSCHOOLS.ORG | 23
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COMMUNITY IMPACT COMMITTEE BY BRAD GRZELKA OWNER ATLANTA SWIM ACADEMY
BRAD GRZELKA, NEW CHAIR OF THE USSSA COMMUNITY IMPACT COMMITTEE OFFERS A NUMBER OF CHARITY FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES FOR HIS COMMUNITY FROM YELLOW DUCK SALES FOR HOPE FLOATS TO FOOD DRIVES.
I am so excited to be appointed as the Chair for the Newly formed USSSA COMMUNITY IMPACT COMMITTEE. It is a huge honor to help with causes that I hold so close to my heart and constantly incorporate into my personal life as well as my business. This position is in addition to serving on the Spring Workshop Committee for the 3rd year in a row. Iâ€™ve had a blast helping raise the bar with the Spring Workshops and I am grateful for the opportunity to do the same here. For many years I have been continually creating and executing Special Events and Programs to help the community. I am always on the lookout for something new to add to our growing yearly traditions. I love giving back and helping others in need and strive to share that with the younger generations by getting everyone involved. The primary focus of this committee is to bring members together around creating a positive impact in our communities with 501c3 non-profit organizations that have complimentary missions. The goal of the committee is to organize USSSA member efforts to have an impact with learn-to-swim families and their community. I have had the pleasure of working with a great group of industry people who have volunteered their time to help with our goal. Our current committee members are Jacquie Ferneau (Deep Blue Swim School), Kristina Wesselink (British Swim School Central Maryland), Cindy Tonneson (SwimKids Swim School/Hope Floats), Sara Biskie (Pro Swim Academy/ Stop Drowning Now), Mary Kerr (Aquatic Adventures Swim School), and Tammy Anderson (Aqua Pros Swim School). Our 1st group project was to put together the Tacos for Charity party supporting Stop Drowning Now and Hope Floats charities that took place the day before the 2019 San Diego Spring Workshop. Tammy Anderson was gracious enough to host and help coordinate this charitable party. Committee members donated items for the raffle and helped get donations from vendors for the silent auction. We had 3 Vendors (Team Unify, Jackrabbit Swim, and Finis) step up and sponsor our food and drinks for the party allowing even more money to be raised for the 2 benefiting charities. In the end the party was a huge success, we raised over $5,200.00 for Stop Drowning Now and Hope Floats and had a great night of networking and socializing. A win, in my book. What is next for the CIC? We plan on putting together more charitable events in the near future. We also hope to share and motivate all swim schools to get involved and give back to their local community. We plan on putting together ideas and tools to help busy swim schools get started and help make an impact. So, in closing, my challenge to all swim schools: take time to create fun programs and activities that give back and get the kids involved, help show the younger generation how helping others can make you feel awesome!
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FUEL YOUR FIRE WITH USSSA
BY LISA ZARDA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, USSSA
Fuel Your Fire for the swim school business at this three-day national conference for swim school owners, managers and instructors. Join our knowledge sharing community as we descend on what Vogue calls the Midwest’s coolest (and most underrated) city, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Food, beer, arts and entertainment await as you explore this lakeside city while learning best practices and new innovations in the learn-to-swim industry.
This year is packed with sessions that will provide you with information you can take back to your school and use right away. Back by popular demand, our lead off keynote presentation is from the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center on the topic of Service Excellence Culture. For those of you that enjoyed their presentation last year, this year’s presentation will cover many of the questions you asked with details on how to onboard and empower your staff. The keynote on day two is presented by Rich Specht on the topic of Understanding the Power of Choice and Human Kindness to motivate and inspire you to greater heights. And you won’t want to miss our day three keynote, Eric Chester with his presentation, On Fire at Work: Ignite Passion Without Burnout. In Eric’s session you’ll discover the secrets and strategies that legendary companies use to consistently attract top talent to their organizations with minimal recruiting; engage employees so that they’re motivated to work harder, perform better, and provide outstanding service; and significantly reduce costly turnover and develop hourly young talent into long-term leaders. You will also learn from two Coutt’s Family Scholarship recipients on the topics of Ways to Save Money with Energy Efficiency with Karen Clay, SwimWest Swim School and Data That Drives Strategy & Decision Making with Becky Fowkes, SwimKids Swim Schools. Breakout sessions this year include timely and valuable information for swim
schools including, Teaching Survival Skills with Gentle Persuasion with Karen Nance, Watersafe Swim School; Tips to Dealing with Media presented by recently retired TV news anchor Kathy Mykleby; How to Develop a Growth Strategy for Your Swim School with Emily Smith, Jackrabbit Swim; and Using Social Media to Get Swim School Clients presented by Josh Scott, SwimSRQ, just to name a few. You will also find opportunities to continue to build your swim school community and connect with two receptions, two lunch and learns, Awards Banquet and much more! Getting into town a little early? Join fellow swim school members on a river boat cruise on Monday, September 23rd at 2 pm. Details and registration link are available on our website. Before the start of the conference, take advantage of these additional training opportunities on Monday, September 23rd: USSSA Infant Toddler Workshop, USSSA Special Abilities Workshop or the CPO® Certification Course. You will find details and cost on our website. Our host hotel, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, offers something for everyone! The luxurious hotel rooms and suites at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino are the perfect way to unwind and relax. Located in the hotel lobby, the Stone Creek coffee bar is one of nine restaurants on property and offers a variety of locally roasted fresh-brewed coffees and teas, espressos, cappuccinos and
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signature beverages, as well as hand-made pastries and baked goods made from scratch. Grab a drink and play at Potawatomi’s newest bar, The Curve, located near The Buffet on the Four Seasons side of the casino open until 1:30 am on weekdays/2 am on weekends. And speaking of casino, the casino is located on the first floor off the lobby and offers Poker, Slots, Bingo and Off Track Betting. The Northern Lights Theater welcomes diverse entertainment acts and features the BonkerzSM Comedy Series and popular “Tribute to the King” shows, in a smoke-free room that makes you feel as though you could reach out and touch your favorite stars. Ready for a little adventure? The hotel shuttle service is also available to various hot spots in downtown Milwaukee.
THE MIRACLE MILE DOWNTOWN CHICAGO OWNERS CIRCLE
USSSA Swim School Owners are invited to attend this special downtown Chicago experience the weekend prior to the USSSA National Conference in Milwaukee, WI, September 24-26, 2019. USSSA Owner Members will have the opportunity to stay at the stylishly renovated, nouveau Sofital Chicago Magnificent Mile hotel and mingle with peers while attending a workshop, round table & local swim school tour. Space is limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Our host hotel presents an opportunity for you to experience the wonder of the Windy City through a creatively re-imagined French lens. Single and double occupancy rates are available and include: 3 nights at a boutique Miracle Mile Hotel, 2 lunches, 1 dinner, Twilight Architecture River Cruise, Local swim school tour (transportation provided), Owners Circle Best Practices Roundtable and Registration fees. You can register online, visit the National Conference event page.
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