Promotional feature
Swimming Nature

With swimming tuition provider Swimming Nature celebrating its 25th birthday, we ask its founder, Eduardo Ferré, to explain how the business keeps going from strength to strength


In business, being in the right place at the right time can make all the difference. For Swimming Nature founder, Eduardo Ferré, that statement certainly rings true. Teaching swimming lessons in the early 90s in central London, Eduardo was asked by parents to deliver private lessons to their children. With a passion for teaching children to swim, he eagerly agreed. From there, Swimming Nature was born and Eduardo was firmly positioned as the pioneer of swimming personal training in the UK.

Back then, he never dreamed his passion for teaching would result in Swimming Nature becoming the market leader in personalised swimming tuition with wide-ranging alliances with fitness operators and major hotel groups across the UK.

Swimming Nature celebrates its 25th birthday this year. What is the scale of the business today?
This year, our business will reach record turnover and student numbers. In the early 90s, I started as a sole trader by establishing my brand of personal swimming tuition in Kensington. Since then, we’ve grown the business to include 130 instructors teaching more than 5,000 students per week in more than 40 pools across the UK.

Recently, we strengthened our senior team with the appointment of former Swim England CEO Adam Paker, who will usher us into the next phase of growth for our business as our new Group CEO. As a sports leader with extensive experience in aquatics and a track record of success, Adam has a bold plan to break new frontiers in water-based exercise and tuition.

How is Swimming Nature different from other swimming lesson providers?
Everything we do is rooted in our unique teaching method. Our instructors train students in the water, one-to-one or two-to-one, maximising teaching and contact time. We focus on teaching the correct mechanics of the four recognised strokes which allows pupils to see rapid progress.

Our instructors have a passion for water, hold ASA or STA qualifications (or international equivalents) and complete our Swimming Nature Foundation Course, developed in partnership with Future Fit Training. We use the latest technology to track the progress of all our students, both children and adults. We know our customers love what we do. We’ve earned a Net Promoter Score of 77, and 87 per cent of our customers rate our instructors as ‘Excellent.’

Your approach to data and tracking is unique. Can you tell us about the FLOW system?
FLOW is our proprietary, award-winning software platform, operated by Sporting Technology, our 100 per cent owned sister company. FLOW gives us a competitive advantage in scaling up our business and taking it to new territories. For students, achievements and improvements are recorded. For partners, our FLOW Back product allows pool owners to gain real-time data on pool usage, adding transparency and functionality to those business relationships. And for us, we have access to a wealth of data on our business operations and customers.

What are your most successful partnerships with operators, and why are they so successful?
We're extremely proud of our partnerships across the UK. DW Fitness First has been a partner since 2015 and we've successfully worked with them to integrate premium swimming tuition into their offering. Similarly, we recently partnered with Bannatyne’s Health Club in Chafford to create an offering that wouldn’t interfere with regular members’ use of the pool. Using a small area of the pool, we’ve been hugely successful in creating a premium swimming offer that has turned their pool into a more lucrative asset. Finally, we're also proud to partner with Mosaic Spa and Health Clubs. Together, our unique approach to swimming tuition has yielded major returns in terms of both customer retention and long-term revenue opportunities for the business.

What’s next for Swimming Nature?
We’re starting the year energised, with a new corporate structure and a streamlined portfolio. We’re targeting growth on multiple fronts: taking on new sites and targeting international markets with a fresh focus on monetising the digital assets that we've developed in-house.

We're a company with tech at our core and have big ambitions to find new and innovative ways to generate useful data. We believe this will highlight the quality of instruction, allowing us to standardise our offering as we continue to grow. For students and parents, it will also offer completely unique insights into personal progress, resonating clearly with the premium experience we deliver.


Adam Paker, CEO

 

Adam Paker
 

Previously, you worked with the ASA/Swim England. What role do you think Swimming Nature can play in the market?
For the last decade, the ambition in the UK has been to get children to swim 25 metres by the time they're 11. Currently, the national success rate is just 45 per cent and recently, the new Learn to Swim standards introduced by the European Swimming Federation has raised that benchmark to 200 metres. While swimming is on the National Curriculum, many schools offer lessons infrequently throughout the year or not at all. This is where Swimming Nature can play a massive role – in teaching children this vital life skill. On average, Swimming Nature students can swim 25 metres in a recognised stroke by the time they're six years old. What’s more, our approach helps develop children who will make swimming a lifelong habit, leading fit and healthy lives for years to come.

What do you think are the biggest opportunities for operators in the swimming market right now?
The pool is often the largest piece of real estate in a facility and it's often overlooked as a commercially lucrative space. There is the perception that offering swimming lessons is high maintenance. While the operational challenges of lessons cannot be overlooked, swimming tuition is different. One-to-one or two-to-one tuition can be much more profitable and more straightforward than traditional swimming lessons. We know this presents a major opportunity for operators. It doesn’t require much space, so if it needs to fit around existing pool-based activity, it can easily do so without interrupting the timetable. There are multiple tuition options teaching children, adults and helping strong swimmers become better through elite programming. Often the pool lags behind the rest of the facility, so if you are an ambitious operator, you need to offer a swim experience that matches that. Doing it well can result in exponential revenue growth for your business.


 



Eduado Ferre (left) shakes hands with his successor as CEO, Adam Paker
Eduardo Ferré founded Swimming Nature
Lessons are conducted one-to-one or two-to-one
Ferré says he always had a passion for teaching children to swim
On average, Swimming Nature students can swim 25m by the time they're six
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2018 issue 4

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Swimming Nature

Promotional feature

Swimming Nature


With swimming tuition provider Swimming Nature celebrating its 25th birthday, we ask its founder, Eduardo Ferré, to explain how the business keeps going from strength to strength

Swimming strong
Eduardo Ferré founded Swimming Nature
Lessons are conducted one-to-one or two-to-one
Ferré says he always had a passion for teaching children to swim
On average, Swimming Nature students can swim 25m by the time they're six

In business, being in the right place at the right time can make all the difference. For Swimming Nature founder, Eduardo Ferré, that statement certainly rings true. Teaching swimming lessons in the early 90s in central London, Eduardo was asked by parents to deliver private lessons to their children. With a passion for teaching children to swim, he eagerly agreed. From there, Swimming Nature was born and Eduardo was firmly positioned as the pioneer of swimming personal training in the UK.

Back then, he never dreamed his passion for teaching would result in Swimming Nature becoming the market leader in personalised swimming tuition with wide-ranging alliances with fitness operators and major hotel groups across the UK.

Swimming Nature celebrates its 25th birthday this year. What is the scale of the business today?
This year, our business will reach record turnover and student numbers. In the early 90s, I started as a sole trader by establishing my brand of personal swimming tuition in Kensington. Since then, we’ve grown the business to include 130 instructors teaching more than 5,000 students per week in more than 40 pools across the UK.

Recently, we strengthened our senior team with the appointment of former Swim England CEO Adam Paker, who will usher us into the next phase of growth for our business as our new Group CEO. As a sports leader with extensive experience in aquatics and a track record of success, Adam has a bold plan to break new frontiers in water-based exercise and tuition.

How is Swimming Nature different from other swimming lesson providers?
Everything we do is rooted in our unique teaching method. Our instructors train students in the water, one-to-one or two-to-one, maximising teaching and contact time. We focus on teaching the correct mechanics of the four recognised strokes which allows pupils to see rapid progress.

Our instructors have a passion for water, hold ASA or STA qualifications (or international equivalents) and complete our Swimming Nature Foundation Course, developed in partnership with Future Fit Training. We use the latest technology to track the progress of all our students, both children and adults. We know our customers love what we do. We’ve earned a Net Promoter Score of 77, and 87 per cent of our customers rate our instructors as ‘Excellent.’

Your approach to data and tracking is unique. Can you tell us about the FLOW system?
FLOW is our proprietary, award-winning software platform, operated by Sporting Technology, our 100 per cent owned sister company. FLOW gives us a competitive advantage in scaling up our business and taking it to new territories. For students, achievements and improvements are recorded. For partners, our FLOW Back product allows pool owners to gain real-time data on pool usage, adding transparency and functionality to those business relationships. And for us, we have access to a wealth of data on our business operations and customers.

What are your most successful partnerships with operators, and why are they so successful?
We're extremely proud of our partnerships across the UK. DW Fitness First has been a partner since 2015 and we've successfully worked with them to integrate premium swimming tuition into their offering. Similarly, we recently partnered with Bannatyne’s Health Club in Chafford to create an offering that wouldn’t interfere with regular members’ use of the pool. Using a small area of the pool, we’ve been hugely successful in creating a premium swimming offer that has turned their pool into a more lucrative asset. Finally, we're also proud to partner with Mosaic Spa and Health Clubs. Together, our unique approach to swimming tuition has yielded major returns in terms of both customer retention and long-term revenue opportunities for the business.

What’s next for Swimming Nature?
We’re starting the year energised, with a new corporate structure and a streamlined portfolio. We’re targeting growth on multiple fronts: taking on new sites and targeting international markets with a fresh focus on monetising the digital assets that we've developed in-house.

We're a company with tech at our core and have big ambitions to find new and innovative ways to generate useful data. We believe this will highlight the quality of instruction, allowing us to standardise our offering as we continue to grow. For students and parents, it will also offer completely unique insights into personal progress, resonating clearly with the premium experience we deliver.


Adam Paker, CEO

 

Adam Paker
 

Previously, you worked with the ASA/Swim England. What role do you think Swimming Nature can play in the market?
For the last decade, the ambition in the UK has been to get children to swim 25 metres by the time they're 11. Currently, the national success rate is just 45 per cent and recently, the new Learn to Swim standards introduced by the European Swimming Federation has raised that benchmark to 200 metres. While swimming is on the National Curriculum, many schools offer lessons infrequently throughout the year or not at all. This is where Swimming Nature can play a massive role – in teaching children this vital life skill. On average, Swimming Nature students can swim 25 metres in a recognised stroke by the time they're six years old. What’s more, our approach helps develop children who will make swimming a lifelong habit, leading fit and healthy lives for years to come.

What do you think are the biggest opportunities for operators in the swimming market right now?
The pool is often the largest piece of real estate in a facility and it's often overlooked as a commercially lucrative space. There is the perception that offering swimming lessons is high maintenance. While the operational challenges of lessons cannot be overlooked, swimming tuition is different. One-to-one or two-to-one tuition can be much more profitable and more straightforward than traditional swimming lessons. We know this presents a major opportunity for operators. It doesn’t require much space, so if it needs to fit around existing pool-based activity, it can easily do so without interrupting the timetable. There are multiple tuition options teaching children, adults and helping strong swimmers become better through elite programming. Often the pool lags behind the rest of the facility, so if you are an ambitious operator, you need to offer a swim experience that matches that. Doing it well can result in exponential revenue growth for your business.


 



Eduado Ferre (left) shakes hands with his successor as CEO, Adam Paker

Originally published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 4

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