Big Blue Swim School Enters 2022 With 201 Franchise Units in Pipeline and Plans to Open 11 Stores This Year

ATLANTA, Jan. 27, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — As it finished its last lap of 2021, Big Blue Swim School — one of the nation’s fastest-growing swim school franchises — opened four new locations, signed 13 leases, and awarded 82 units to eight new franchise partners for the year. Those deals included a partnership with Olympic gold medal swimmer Peter Vanderkaay and his brother, NCAA champion swimmer, Alex Vanderkaay, with a four-location deal in Detroit, a nine unit deal with Gary Cohen to develop stores across Boston, and a 21-store deal with Austin C. Smith to open locations in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. In 2022, the brand will leverage that momentum for its biggest development year yet, planning to sign agreements for another 39 units while building out its pipeline of 201 locations to open over the next several years.

Big Blue CEO Scott Sanders acknowledges that signing for 201 locations within three years of launching franchising is a validation of the brand’s proven business model, strong franchise partner support, exceptional consumer offering, and the unprecedented execution of its proprietary enterprise technology to parents and franchise owners alike.

“Big Blue continues to garner interest from smart investors because it is a business opportunity that is recession-resistant, filling retail spaces that landlords are desperate to fill,” Sanders said. “Big Blue not only makes a difference in the lives of thousands of kids each year, but we also provide families with a vital life skill that cannot be automated or taught virtually. We expect to continue to thrive as we fill the white space in these markets that are swim school deserts.


As the company gears up for an aggressive 2022 new-location opening schedule, Big Blue’s corporate team also announced the promotion of Brooke Mallick from vice president of marketing to chief marketing officer in 2021, to aid its franchise partners in their local marketing efforts. Mallick’s wealth of marketing expertise allows the brand to implement a data-driven method to elevate local marketing for each pool, which in turn helps franchise partners engage in a strong marketing platform from the start.

“There are many data sources we use to triangulate information about how our paid media and email campaigns are performing and what we can do to drive more efficient and effective campaigns,” Mallick said. “But the most important tool we have at our disposal is our massive database of historical customer information from our proprietary enterprise system, LessonBuddy™. With that data, we better understand and leverage knowledge of past customer behavior to drive future results in a way that separates us from the competition.”

One set of franchise partners who experienced a strong opening in 2021, largely in part to Big Blue’s new pool opening marketing strategy, are Wendy and Erik Skaalerud who brought Big Blue to Centennial, Colorado. There, they debuted the brand’s first location in the state and broke Big Blue’s record for pre-registrations as hundreds of families eagerly signed their children up for swim lessons.

Sanders sees the successful launch of the Centennial location as a confirmation that the brand’s real estate and new pool opening strategy works.

“Our ability to determine the right locations with excellent drive-by traffic and demographics that align perfectly with our brand is the result of the exhaustive research we put in before every launch,” Sanders said. “That strategy complements our robust new pool opening plan that our marketing team executes to support our franchise partners so they experience strong enrollment before they even open their doors.”

This year, the brand plans to open locations in Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Miami, St. Louis, Dallas, Los Angeles, Fairfax, Va., Watchung, N.J., and Paramus, N.J.

“We’re excited about the pace of the growth we’re experiencing,” Sanders said. “And we’re also thrilled by the reception we are receiving across the country. We’re not just opening swim schools, we’re helping children build life-saving skills and boosting their confidence at the same time by showing them they can do anything by unlocking their full potential in the water. That’s extremely rewarding for us, and for our franchise partners.”

The brand is actively looking for qualified franchise partners to develop in several other key markets across the country, including Kansas City, San Jose, Raleigh, Cleveland, Seattle, Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay, among others.

The total investment to start a new Big Blue Swim School is $2,334,223 to $3,641,998. To learn more about Big Blue Swim School franchise opportunities, visit


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, and pools are now open in Chicago, Atlanta, Denver and Northern Virginia. Big Blue is currently growing through franchising with plans to have a minimum of 240 pools sold by the end of 2022. 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

Media Contact

Lauren Turner, Mainland, 3125263996, [email protected]


SOURCE Big Blue Swim School

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