A swimming teacher and partner in a successful swim school, over the years, Swimble founder Susan Proctor heard from thousands of parents on the challenges they face when getting their kids into swim classes. “Learning how to swim requires commitment from parents. And while parents are happy to do what they can to get their kids safe and happy in the water, it’s really a struggle to commit to that weekly class. Things come up; other activities, work demands, life in general,” she remembers. “Parents need more flexibility than swimming lessons, by their very nature, can offer.”
So Susan started to look for solutions to the problem – how can we make life easier for parents struggling to fit this vital part of a child’s education into their hectic schedules? That’s the issue for parents. What’s at stake on a wider scale is the safety of children: half the kids around the world don’t have the skills to keep them safe in the water.
Speaking with parents, it hit Susan that all these swim lesson issues would disappear, if she could translate everything she knew makes a successful swim lesson into a format accessible to every child. Susan’s lessons worked because they were step by step, visual, personal, and fun – couldn’t that all be achieved with an amazing app? Susan decided to test this theory out, and created a beta programme, providing kids with customised video lessons that took into account their specific experience and needs, and giving them the encouragement and engagement that made her IRL so popular. “And it worked!” says Susan.
Now, with pools re-opened, Susan is taking the DIY swim lesson movement forward, signing up hundreds of new Swimble clients across the UAE. She puts some of the demand down to concerns about the continuted spread of COVID-19. “Parents are nervous now about their kids coming into contact with others in group classes, and are looking for alternatives to that.”
So what is it that makes Swimble work? “The key ingredient, the one that had the most effect,” says Susan, “is making sure the lessons we provide are customised to their child’s needs, and presented in easy-to-follow, bitesized activities. The feedback has been amazing, parents are feeling that they’ve saved time and money and they’re seeing results from it too, and best of all, the kids really enjoying it.”