Chris DeJong: From Elite Swimming To The Big Blue Swim School

From Chris DeJong, Co-founder, President & CMO at Big Blue Swim School

  • Five-time U.S. National Champion swimmer and American record holder in 800 freestyle relay
  • Competed for eight years as a member of the U.S. National Swim Team, with multiple All-American and All-Big Ten recognitions

There’s a subtle but undeniable rhythm we swimmers use to dry off with our towels. It’s as unique and rehearsed as our technique in the water. It’s etched onto us from years of practice, like goggle marks after a long set. That transition from our more familiar aquatic homes to life on dry land becomes permanent as we dry off one final time and enter our post-competitive swimming lives.

For me, that transition occurred after the Olympic Trials in 2008. Bewildered, shocked and disappointed, I shuttled off to Omaha’s Eppley Airfield for my flight home like so many others before and after me – without a clue of what to do next.

Eventually, I found direction by sharing my passion for swimming. I began giving lessons, mainly to younger kids, and in the process, started having fun in the water for the first time in a long time. With the help of some friends at Imagine Swim School in New York City, I was able to discover how to stay connected to swimming while also making a living.

I developed a curriculum under the banner Big Blue Swim School and have expanded it into a full-service, learn-to-swim experience for families.

Because teaching swimming is so rewarding, I struggle to even call what I do a “job.”

We create big, confidence-building moments in a child’s life that they carry with them in and out of the pool. At Big Blue, our stated mission is to show kids they can do anything by unlocking their full potential in the water.

Parents love how their kids learn to love swimming while also making progress fast. We make learning fun and provide real-time feedback to parents through our proprietary software platform that makes running lessons as easy as the last day of taper.

Today I’m proud to announce that we have started expanding Big Blue nationally through franchising.

We’re excited for this new opportunity to bring the experience of Big Blue to even more families throughout the country.

In addition to our comprehensive manager training school, we will handle a franchisee’s real estate search, lease negotiations, construction management, pre-opening lead generation and ongoing marketing to allow our franchise partners to focus on the daily execution of our refined operating system. We’re looking for motivated individuals with a passion for kids and for making a difference in their local community.

When I dried off for the last time in Omaha, I thought I would be leaving swimming forever. I didn’t realize that was impossible. My big moment was staring me in the face. You never really leave swimming. The habits, the toughness, the mindset of a swimmer is yours forever. You painfully earn it through years of countless laps in the pool.

If you’re not ready to dry off, or maybe it’s time to get wet again, then take a look at this awesome opportunity. You never know, your big moment may start here like mine did.

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