Goldfish Gets A Gold Star: Part 1


A couple months ago, I reported that Atia and Asher would be taking swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School in Roscoe Village. They were novice swimmers, only comfortable in the water when safeguarded with floatation devices, as most three- and five-year-olds are with limited pool exposure and no formal training. The kids have always loved the water, and now they’d be confident in it. Big plus! From me, I’d be less worried about them every time they stepped foot in a pool. Double-big plus!


So we signed up for six weeks of classes – one 30 minute class each week.

The kids were separated by age. Asher was with the younger kids in Lane 2, lead by Coach Joe, and was one of the two kids in his group – I loved that! Atia was with the older kids in Lane 1, lead by Coach Andrew, and she was with three others for a total of four kids in her class.


Though only moments before they were jumping for joy from pure excitement, the moment they were greeted by their instructors, they froze and the thrill vanished. Hesitantly they approached the water, stepped in and sat on the ledge with their classmates… or at least Atia did. Asher misjudged the ledge and wound up falling in startling himself – tough way to start the class – and looking to me to save him. I knew that he’d be fine if he just gave it a chance, so I encouraged him with a, “You’re okay, buddy. You’re doing great. No biggie. Everyone falls in the water” schpeel.


The instructors were great with the kids, making it easy for the kids to warm up to them. In no time they were doing drills and practicing different skills – kicking their legs, putting their faces in the water, floating on their backs while resting their head on the instructor’s shoulder.

Asher floating

There was no fear in my kids’ eyes, just excitement and eagerness. I loved seeing that and I was impressed by the progress they made as they completed each task. Asher was whizzing through things, but Atia was a little slower – though no fault of her own – because her class had twice as many students. I know that four kids to one instructor was an acceptable ratio for safety, but it left each of the kids sitting on the ledge for a big portion of the class. I honestly have to say I wasn’t thrilled with that aspect. With the class only being 30 minutes long, each minute is precious.

Another minor issue I had was getting to the location on time. Our class was in the late afternoon and no matter which way I went traffic was horrible (obviously no fault of the school’s) – we were actually late for our second week because of it – so I expressed my concern to the front desk and immediately they offered to help by placing us in a different class on a different day. Unfortunately there was no time slot that the kids could take together, so they generously offered us a semi-private class. I’m not sure that’s the standard solution, but it worked well for us and I was very grateful.

The kids wound up with a new coach – Ms. Claudia – and from the first moment, she was beyond wonderful; the kids adored her. She really worked her magic and in no time the kids were swimming independently. I captured some video of a few of the classes to show their quick progress. Look at ‘em go!

Asher Swimming

Atia Swimming

We’re big fans of Goldfish; it’s certainly no ordinary swim school. It left such a good impression that the kids are already asking about next summer’s swim camp. I’d say that’s a pretty good endorsement.

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