The Nation’s Premier ‘Learn to Swim’ Provider Expands Footprint in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
By Jacob Brown
September 27, 2022
September 27, 2022
British Swim School Opens New Pool to Combat Staggering Drowning Deaths in the South Florida CountyBritish Swim School, the nation’s leading “learn to swim” franchise company, continues its nationwide expansion with the opening of its newest franchise location inside the LA Fitness on Donald Ross Road in Palm Beach Gardens. This is the company’s 19th franchise in the Sunshine State. Drowning deaths in Palm Beach County were up 91% compared to last year, according to the medical examiner’s office, and it’s the hope of new franchise owner Kelly Martinez to bring those disturbing numbers down through its 40-year-strong survival skills training program. Martinez started working at British Swim School under fellow franchise owner Howie Berkowitz seven years ago as an instructor and rose to the position of Aquatics Director. Berkowitz saw the passion and drive in Martinez for helping children survive and thrive in the water and asked her to come aboard as a partner. When Berkowitz almost lost his 2-year-old son to drowning, he made it his mission to become more involved in ‘Survival of the Littlest’ through British Swim School.
“The experience was very traumatic for me,” said Berkowitz, co-owner of British Swim School of Palm Beach Gardens. “I suffered from PTSD after coming very close to losing my son. About a month after my son started attending classes at British Swim School, I purchased my first franchise location. I was so impressed by the program and mission that I wanted to become more involved.”Berkowitz owns three other British Swim School locations in Florida and Long Island, New York combined, making Palm Beach Gardens his fourth franchise location. The school offers swim programs for children as young as 3 months old and teaches a three-part curriculum focused on water acclimation, safety, survival skills, and swim stroke development. A study conducted by America’s National Institutes of Health shows that participation in formal swim programs, such as those offered by British Swim School, can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children ages 1 to 4, who are the most at risk for death caused by drowning. Like many British Swim School locations across the country, the Palm Beach Gardens location will also offer swim lessons to adults. Nearly half of adults can’t swim well enough to survive in the water. That’s according to a Red Cross Survey that shows less than 50% of Americans can’t perform all five life-saving skills, including floating or treading for one minute.
“Our hope is to get more involved in our community so we can help raise awareness around the importance of swim safety for both adults and children,” said Martinez, co-owner of British Swim School of Palm Beach Gardens. “We understand Palm Beach County has seen a large jump in drowning deaths, and we hope to provide a space that helps swimmers of all ages feel confident in the water.”The Palm Beach Gardens location opened its doors to swimmers on September 15 and will join the growing team of franchise locations that span more than 250 British Swim Schools across the United States and Canada.
“Having an Aquatics Director become a franchise owner is wonderful to see,” said Melissa McGarvey, British Swim School National Aquatics Director. “Kelly has a passion for this business, and I know families in the South Florida area will be able to benefit from her expertise and experience.”