Dublin Villager

Goldfish Swim School opens first central Ohio venue

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JENNIFER NOBLIT/THISWEEKNEWS
Lisa Armitage and her family recently opened Goldfish Swim School at 6175 Shamrock Court in Dublin. The family moved from Michigan to start the business that offers lessons for infants and children.
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A new school in Dublin has a classroom heated to 90 degrees and rather revealing uniforms.

Goldfish Swim School opened March 1 at 6175 Shamrock Court, Suite G, offering swim lessons for infants and children up to age 12.

The Michigan-based company is expanding -- the Dublin franchise is the second in the state and the first in central Ohio.

Lisa Armitage and her family decided to open their own Goldfish Swim School after four years of lessons.

"My family enrolled in Goldfish in Michigan," she said. "My children went through the program. We fell in love with Goldfish."

After lessons at Goldfish, Armitage said her children turned into "incredible, competent swimmers.

"We always dreamed of owning a family business one day," she said, adding her husband and in-laws have a history of coaching and swimming on teams, which made it a perfect match.

The family lived in suburban Detroit until last summer when they moved to Ohio to open a Goldfish Swim School.

"We heard incredible things about Columbus," Armitage said. "We decided Columbus was an excellent opportunity to bring something like this ... .

"We sold our house (in Michigan) in one day. We bought a house in Dublin in one day and moved in the summer."

The school was formerly office space, but after about five months of construction, it was transformed into a bright, warm environment for teaching children how to swim.

"We want to teach children to be safe in the water," Armitage said. "And one of our core values is to have fun."

Lessons are offered to children as young as four months and go to age 12. The school also offers a recreational swim team that focuses on skills and endurance rather than competition.

"Our lessons are perpetual," Armitage said. "They sign up to stay with us as long as they want.

"It's all about building skills and staying familiar with it."

Children learn skills from teachers that take 40 hours of classroom learning, shadow other teachers and complete safety training. Students move to the next level when they're ready, Armitage said.

"Each of the classes have four students to one teacher," she said. "In the baby classes, it's six students to one teacher because the caretakers are with the babies."

Classroom tools include balls, rubber duckies and lots of floating mats.

Along with the aquatic classroom, Goldfish offers on-deck showers, changing rooms and a hair-drying station. A large viewing area allows parents to watch their child during lessons and has wi-fi access. Toys for younger children are also available in the viewing area, as are two turtles for observation.

"Customer service is our No. 1 priority," Armitage said.

Goldfish Swim School is open for lessons Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the morning and evenings, with plans to eventually offer lessons seven days a week.

More information is available online at goldfishswimschool.com or by calling 614-407-3474.

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