Share This Page

British Swim School in Cranberry teaches swimming basics

| Saturday, July 19, 2014, 5:45 p.m.
A British Swim School instructor guides the parents of infants through a lesson at the facility.
A student takes a plunge into the pool as British Swim School instructors look on.

As much fun as sports can be, there is more of an emphasis on safety than ever before. Some sports have had an evolution of helmets or pads, but for those who compete in aquatic sports, or just love swimming recreationally, the British Swim School that recently opened in Cranberry (and another location in Valencia) helps young swimmers learn the most basic techniques of swimming.

What sets the British Swim School apart is that it takes on students as young as 3 months old.

Through a meticulous, gradual and gentle process, it teaches swimmers to roll onto their backs and float — the most important water safety survival skill.

“(Our program) is all about progression,” said Ryan Grindle, an instructor at the school. “We slowly work it so they are comfortable putting their face underwater. … We get them to put their chin in, then their mouth, and eventually their ears and eyes. Once they are comfortable with them, we get them floating.”

The gradual process helps take some of the fear out of the equation. Grindle said there are elements of play time as well for the younger swimmers and babies.

“We make it fun for kids,” he said. “We have a three-step process — the blastoff, the torpedo and Humpty Dumpty. The kids work up to jumping in and floating by themselves. It is amazing how it all comes together.”

Grindle said that with the babies and young kids, the parents are right there in the pool to help ease any tension.

“The parents know their kids, what they can do, and what they are afraid of,” he said. “There can be tears and they can be scared, but usually by the second or third lesson that goes away.”

One misconception of the school is that the teachers will dunk the kids to get them acclimated. Grindle said that is not the case.

“The environment is fun and gentle,” he said. “We don't rush the kids.”

The lessons are 30 minutes long and can be taken up to twice a week.

According to Grindle, he and other instructors have 120 hours of training. He said that having a fun and energetic personality is also a prerequisite for the job.

Becky Grindle, the group's operations manager, along with Traci Brown, Teri Choban and Ryan Grindle own the business.

“We opened the first school in Cranberry at the Hyatt Place, and a second is in Valencia at the Woodlands of St. Barnabas,” Becky Grindle said. “We have a third franchise in Robinson and a fourth is coming to the Woodlands in Wexford, scheduled to open Sept. 3.”

To date, Becky Grindle said 500 children already have come through the program, and there are 300 still enrolled.

“We specialize in safety,” she said. “All of our teachers are CPR and lifeguard certified, and all of our teachers are major college graduates.”

The lessons cost $95 for an eight-week session at one lesson per week, or $150 for two lessons per week.

In addition to teaching basics, Becky Grindle said there are lessons that have the older kids practice swimming in their clothes, to get the feel for what that is like. Instructors also teach the best way to remove clothes in the water to prevent from being weighed down.

British Swim School Pittsburgh is owned by Steel City Aquatics Group, LLC.

“British Swim School is honored to welcome Steel City Aquatics Group to the growing list of franchisees recognizing that water safety and survival is a real problem, but one that can be avoided with proper training,” Rita Goldberg, founder and CEO of British Swim School said.

For more information on the British Swim School, visit britishswimschool.com.

Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jeclark@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.