The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

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Summer Swim Lessons Planning

A great New Year’s resolution for swim school owners may be to simply plan better than the year before.   Like Santa Claus, I’m making my list and checking it twice!   So what am I doing right now?  Here’s my first draft of my “To Do’s” for my 2012 Learn-to-Swim season:

1. I email my current staff to find out which Swim Instructors will be back to teach for our spring and summer sessions, and how often and at what times they can teach.

2. I create a Staff Schedules for all eight of this spring and summer’s locations.  In the beginning planning stages, I just use a basic word table to organize and project how many new swim instructors I will need to hire, train, and mentor.

3. I “tweak” last year’s Help Wanted ad (if needed) and I pay to have it published in the Daily Gamecock (our local university’s newspaper).  I NEVER provide my phone number in the ad.  I provide my email only.  I will call them IF I like their pre-interview questionnaire which I will get to in a minute.

4.  I set the dates of this year’s classroom staff training.  This year I will lease a conference room at the Columbia Wingate Hotel on Sunday March 11th, 18th, 25th, and April 1st from 1PM – 6PM.  All new instructors will be required to attend.  All returning instructors are encouraged to attend and are paid a minimum wage for attending.  New instructors are not paid, however, their certification cost is “on me.”

5.  I respond to every swim teacher candidate who emails me expressing their interest in the swim instructor position (which is the first step of my hiring process).  I email them a “Pre-Interview Questionnaire.”   My questionnaire includes items such as contact info., summary of experience, availability for spring and summer, ability to attend all training sessions and mentoring sessions, and the phone number of their previous two employers).  This helps me weed out candidates who wouldn’t work out and waste my time interviewing.  I only want to interview candidates who sound great on this pre-interview questionnaire.

6.  I schedule Interviews at my office.  I pencil in all candidates I like that and are ready to accept the position.  I ask them if I can have their permission to submit their information for a background check at that time.  Once I fill all my swim instructor positions, I continue to offer “potential positions.”  I always offer the next half dozen or so applicants free training with a potential position.  I invite them to attend the training with the understanding that I may or may not have an immediate opening.  Those candidates who do the training always make a really good impression because it shows me that they are very enthusiastic about the position.  In addition, it never fails that candidates who accept the job end up changing their minds or their plans for whatever reason.  When that happens, you have an enthusiastic instructor trained and ready to go!  If it doesn’t happen, then I didn’t break any promises and they benefited from the free training.  And nine times out of ten, you eventually get them on board, and both you and your new instructor feel blessed!

So this is the beginning of my “To Do List” for the summer.  Of course there are many other items, i.e., website updating, determining which local events to be an exhibitor, where to advertise, etc. that will come up.


The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University Online Swim Instructor Certification  and curriculum, make sure to visit us at

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

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January 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm
  • January 6, 2012 at 1:54 amAnita Velez

    Thank you for your publications are a good help for me and my staff at our swim school. Have a great 2012. Anita

  • February 4, 2012 at 11:58 amCurt Hoffman

    I am very impressed with Coach Jim’s comments, advise and knowledge. I have a newer swim school and am learning every day. With Jim’s help MN kids are learning to swim and have fun!



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