Burden, Clark Sign 3 Unit Deal to Bring Big Blue Swim School to New Jersey

by SwimSwam Partner Content Off

November 26th, 2019 Learn to Swim

Courtesy: Big Blue Swim School

PARAMUS, N.J. — Premier swim school franchise Big Blue Swim School is coming to northern New Jersey next year as part of a three-unit deal signed by husband-and-wife franchisees Chris Burden and Penelope Clark. The avid swimmers come from a background of business management, marketing, and finance. While Burden and Clark are still working with Big Blue Swim School’s development team to secure prime real estate in the three New Jersey territories of Paramus, Clifton and Union, they plan to open their first location next year.

“We are thrilled to be bringing Big Blue to the northern New Jersey community,” said Burden. “We have a deep passion for swimming and know how much joy, enrichment and confidence the essential skill can bring to a child’s life. The Big Blue executive team is fantastic and their approach to swim instruction is designed not just to teach skills but to help empower the kids and make them enthusiastic about the activity.”

Big Blue Swim School was founded by U.S. National Champion swimmer Chris DeJong after he missed qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team in 2004 and 2008 by three-tenths of a second—just behind Michael Phelps. Big Blue takes a holistic approach to swim instruction, developing critical life skills like confidence and self-esteem consistent with children’s developmental levels. Big Blue is now positioned to become a dominant player in the $3 billion/year swim school industry thanks to key differentiators such as LessonBuddy™, a proprietary and easy-to-use lesson management platform and customer self-service mobile app; a proven curriculum; and optimized operational model involving data-driven capacity planning.

When the Manhattan-based couple decided to look into franchising, Big Blue’s concept of promoting pool safety and providing unparalleled swim instruction drew them in immediately. As parents themselves, Burden and Clark are well-aware of how difficult scheduling can be and loved how the brand makes it easy for families to coordinate swimming lessons—and how much work is taken off of a franchise partner’s plate as a result.

Their addition to the Big Blue franchise system is also heralded by the executive team.

“Chris Burden and Penelope Clark are perfect additions to the Big Blue team,” said Big Blue Swim School’s Chief Development Officer, Scott Thompson. “Their business and marketing experience set them up to be amazing franchise partners in New Jersey. In addition, our data-driven real estate assessment, pre-opening marketing strategy and executive leadership-provided support position the couple for continued success.”

As New Yorkers, Burden and Clark identified northern New Jersey as the perfect market for Big Blue Swim School development because of the tremendous number of families and young children that live in the suburbs of New York City and who are looking for convenient and community-friendly swim instruction.

“Swimming is an amazing fitness activity that has the potential to be a life-changing experience for children,” said Clark. “We can’t wait to bring our past business experience to this new opportunity and embrace the Big Blue mission of inspiring Life’s Big Moments for kids in the communities we serve.”


Big Blue Swim School was founded in 2009 by competitive swimmer Chris DeJong. The first location opened in Wilmette, Illinois, followed by four additional Chicagoland schools. In 2017, Level 5 Capital Partners acquired a stake in the brand. Through that investment, Big Blue plans to grow through franchising to 150 pools by 2021. Big Blue Swim School’s real estate expertise, strong brand, proprietary technology, and leadership support, coupled with its best-in-class consumer offerings, position its franchise partners for long-term success. To learn more about franchise opportunities with Big Blue Swim School, visit http://YourBigMomentStartsHere.com.

Big Blue Swim School is a SwimSwam Partner. 

Comments are closed.