Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Celebrates 30 Years of Saving Lives

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The world’s largest swim school franchise commemorates landmark anniversary after three decades in the swim industry.

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Founded in 1991, Aqua-Tots' lessons were taught in backyard pools by Co-Founder Ron Sciarro. Today Aqua-Tots' state-of-the-art, indoor facilities serve families in 120 communities across 14 countries.

What Aqua-Tots has accomplished in 30 years is remarkable, and our trajectory is not slowing down. - Craig Wright, CEO of Aqua-Tots Swim Schools

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, the world’s largest swim school franchise serving 120 communities in 14 countries, is celebrating 30 years of saving lives and has launched a month-long campaign highlighting key moments, people and the impact made over three decades in the swim instruction industry.

Headquartered in Mesa, Arizona, Aqua-Tots' Safety First, Fun Every Second approach to swim instruction began in 1991 when Co-Founder Ron Sciarro was a lifeguard, teaching swim lessons alongside his then-girlfriend, now-wife, Jane.

“When Jane and I started, we were just teenagers trying to keep children safe around the water,” said Sciarro. “We began traveling the area, teaching swim lessons and training instructors in whatever venues we could find—backyards and hotel pools. We soon discovered that parents were searching for the same things: quality swim lessons and someone to listen to their goals for their children in the water.”

In 2005, with a newfound perception that swim lessons should be year-round, Co-Founders Paul and Heather Preston joined the Sciarros to transform Aqua-Tots into a dedicated, indoor facility in Mesa, Arizona.

“We knew right away that the Sciarros had created something valuable for the community,” said Preston. “It became quickly apparent that this was a year-round business model. When we were approached about franchising in 2007, we realized that it was also a unique opportunity to help other families create small businesses while serving communities globally. As parents ourselves, we love being a part of this legacy for families.”

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools was founded on a mission to save lives by teaching children all over the world how to become safe and confident swimmers for life, and they are driven by a set of core values that focuses on the intentional care and support of others.

“Our core values are more than just a set of ideas we put down on paper,” said Sciarro. “We’re committed to them. We teach them, lean into them, abide by them. Saving lives really is about more than swim lessons. At the end of the day, it’s about people.”

For this reason, Aqua-Tots is determined to raise up leaders, both in the water and in the schools. With 3,700 team members worldwide, many have advanced their careers through multiple positions within Aqua-Tots, including going on to own their own schools.

During the month of April, Aqua-Tots Headquarters will be taking their celebrations social, including:

  • Thanking those who have shaped Aqua-Tots into what it is today
  • Highlighting the progress and evolution of Aqua-Tots families, franchise owners, facilities, programs and business opportunities
  • Interview with Co-Founders Ron Sciarro and Paul Preston

Families, fans and customers are encouraged to follow the 30th celebration online, share their own swimming success stories with Aqua-Tots, and join the legacy by enrolling their children in swim lessons.

So, what’s in store for the next 30 years of Aqua-Tots Swim Schools? CEO Craig Wright envisions continued growth while empowering students, staff and families internationally. “What Aqua-Tots has accomplished in 30 years is remarkable, and our trajectory is not slowing down. We have taught over 25 million swim lessons, and we are striving to teach 40 million by 2025. It’s an ambitious goal that we are confident our teams will be able to achieve.”

About Aqua-Tots Swim Schools
Aqua-Tots Swim Schools serves over 120 communities worldwide, offering dedicated, year-round, indoor swim instruction, community outreach and drowning prevention education to children of all abilities from four months to 12 years old. As the world’s largest swim school franchise, their hand-selected instructors are passionate about teaching children how to remain safer in and around the water, using tried and true curriculum, 30 years in the making and trusted worldwide to teach four million swim lessons annually. To learn more, visit

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