Andrew and Jen George spent their childhoods at the pool, spending summers with friends on swim teams and eventually becoming teachers and coaches themselves.
The couple, parents of one adorable little boy, also knew they wanted to own their own business, a desire that runs in the family. So they landed on Aqua-Tots, buying a franchise of the international business that operates swim schools for kids. It's a perfect match for their career plans and passion.
"Our goal is to be the neighborhood swim school," Jen tells me.
They bought the franchise last year and started operating at satellite locations - a hotel pool in Morrisville and Healthtrax Fitness and Wellness in Raleigh. But the plan was always to open their own location.
That happened in the spring when the Aqua-Tots Cary swim school opened in the High House Crossing Shopping Center at High House Road and N.C. 55. The couple has plans to open other swim schools in North Carolina, including north Raleigh and Charlotte.
The Aqua-Tots program is designed for kids ages 6 months to 12 years. This can be a year-round program for kids as they progress up the course's eight basic levels, which go from beginner to advanced training for young swimmers who want to work on stroke technique or endurance for swim team, for instance. Aqua-Tots teaches 'safety first, fun every second' in the pool
The focus here is on safety first ... or as Aqua-Tots' catchy slogan says "Safety first, fun every second." About half of the class is spent on safety skills. The other half is spent on swim skills.
The facility was built with kids in mind.
The indoor pool at the Cary school is four feet all the way across. A bench runs along the edge of the entire pool so kids can sit there while others in their class are taking their turn. The water is heated to 89 degrees. The air temperature is set at 88 degrees. The instructor to student ratio is one teacher to four kids.
"We try to make it as comfortable an experience as we can," Jen George tells me. "We want to take away as many distractions as we can."
The Cary school includes a large, colorful lobby with a wall of windows where parents can watch their child's lesson. A play area is designed for waiting siblings too. In the pool, there are all sorts of kick boards, rings and other toys to help make the lessons fun.
Aqua-Tots offers swim lessons, Mommy and Me classes and birthday parties. The Georges hope to expand their programs as the swim school grows. They also continue to hold swim lessons at Healthtrax in Raleigh.
A pool can be the source of anxiety for plenty of kids out there. But the Georges have seen that when kids gain confidence in the pool that carries over into other parts of their lives too. They hope to help other kids enjoy the same kind of summers they did growing up.
"My summers were spent at the pool," Andrew George said. "I just loved it. To us, a pool is like a playground. To have a kid be afraid ... we don't want kids to be afraid. We want kids to enjoy it."
For more about Aqua-Tots in the Triangle, watch my video interview and go to their website.
Go Ask Mom features local moms and dads on Mondays.