The Core Purpose of Chicago Blue Dolphins is to “help people learn and improve lives.” So everything we do is directed toward making our staff the best teachers around. We want our system to work every time when it comes to you, your family members, or your friends.
Listed below are the dimensions of our teaching method that we feel makes Chicago Blue Dolphins a unique and powerful way to make you a better swimmer and to help you love being in the water:
To learn more about each dimension, click on its name in the above list.
We seek out the best teaching methods in the market and bring them into our program. We believe that if you want to be successful at something, find a group who is already successful, model how they do it, and adapt it to our environment. In our learn-to-swim program, we feel that there is no better framework than the American Red Cross’ Water Safety Curriculum. To refine strokes, we feel that Total Immersion and is cousin, GoSwim, have the best tools, printed and video materials, and methods of any in the market. To teach our babies and toddlers, we turned to Rob and Kathy McKay’s Lifestyle Swim School in Boca Raton, Florida to bring home a gentle form of baby instruction that had been used to teach over 17,000 babies. By selecting the best tools in the market, we bring the best teaching methods to you. The result: a fantastic and compelling learning experience.
With all of the improvements in technology in our lives today, it’s crazy not to apply technology in swim instruction to help you understand precisely what you need to do. Gone are the days of throwing you in the deep end or spending hours and hours swimming back and forth with the hope that the light bulb will go on and you will improve. We employ mirrors, underwater and above water video, video analysis software, and tools from the extremely innovative Finis Corporation – metronomes, snorkels, fins, various hand and arm paddles, heart rate monitors, and many more. At our Swim Studio in Bucktown, we have you swim in currents over mirrors for a few perfect strokes to work on accuracy or for a large number of strokes to test consistency. Our goal is to accelerate the learning process in any way possible. We feel that technology is a key way, and you’ll see it used at Chicago Blue Dolphins.
During our interview process we screen and profile prospective coaches to make sure that they are a good fit to two of our company’s core values: a “positive and patient demeanor” and a “thirst for learning and continued improvement.” We don't just want to teach you how to swim, we want to be the “why guys” who can teach you how swimming works – from the simplest skill to the most complex. We look for coaches who want to learn why and want to get better. We feel that combining a strong technical background with a positive and patient demeanor is a great recipe for success. We believe that if a student’s not getting something, we need to try something else and encourage them to be persistent. It’s how we would want people to treat us if the tables were turned. It worked for John Wooden and all of his national championship basketball teams at UCLA, so we figure the approach is a good one for us and our clients.
Let’s face facts: it’s hard to learn and pay attention when you are cold. We feel that keeping the water warm for fearful or inexperienced students helps them overcome anxiety and start learning faster. For seven years running, we’ve kept the temperatures of our pools at the Swim Studio in Bucktown at 90 degrees to help keep our students comfy, cozy, and focused on learning rather than goose bumps.
One thing we’ve learned since we started in 2003 is that you need different pools to reach different swimmers and to teach a complete set of skills to our students. You can’t shoehorn everything into one pool and be successful. We’ve been told by numerous parents and newbie adults that the small, warm, and shallow Endless Pools in our Swim Studio are more intimate and less intimidating for fearful and inexperienced children and adults than a large and loud facility. Full length pools are great for those who need to see themselves go from Point A to Point B and for those who want to simulate racing conditions. Deep water pools are necessary because you won’t always be able to stand and kicking on your back isn’t a good solution in every case when you need to find shore, a boat, or a wall. The lake is a luxury we have in this city for open water swimming and we routinely take people out during the summer months to get a feel for waves and the colder temperatures. Finally, sometimes the best pool to use is the one in your building. We will try to arrange a house call if that’s the best solution for you.