Credentials

The Douglas family are industry experts who have devoted their lives to teaching kids to swim. Having started teaching swimming in 1974, Neil Douglas and his family built Aquatic Achievers, one of Australia’s most successful swim schools. For more than 25 years they designed and built seven teaching pools, trained thousands of expert teachers and taught over 450,000 premium lessons every year. Following the sale of the business in 2018, they now support Uswim to ensure every child has the opportunity to learn life-saving swimming skills.

Credentials

The Douglas family are industry experts who have devoted their lives to teaching kids to swim. Having started teaching swimming in 1974, Neil Douglas and his family built Aquatic Achievers, one of Australia’s most successful swim schools. For more than 25 years they designed and built seven teaching pools, trained thousands of expert teachers and taught over 450,000 premium lessons every year. Following the sale of the business in 2018, they now support Uswim to ensure every child has the opportunity to learn life-saving swimming skills.

Founder

Ben first taught ‘special needs’ swimming in San Francisco and later spent 11 years at Aquatic Achievers as a teacher, manager and finally as CEO. The idea of an online program began when he uploaded the swim school’s methods to YouTube. The impact was immediate, with 1000’s of requests for more learning resources. Selling Aquatic Achievers has allowed Ben to pursue his dream of bringing proven methods to parents and communities around the world who don’t have access to a quality swimming program.

Founder

Ben first taught ‘special needs’ swimming in San Francisco and later spent 11 years at Aquatic Achievers as a teacher, manager and finally as CEO. The idea of an online program began when he uploaded the swim school’s methods to YouTube. The impact was immediate, with 1000’s of requests for more learning resources. Selling Aquatic Achievers has allowed Ben to pursue his dream of bringing proven methods to parents and communities around the world who don’t have access to a quality swimming program.

History & Development

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The Beginnings

The roots of Uswim started in 1974 when Neil Douglas began teaching swimming in Rockhampton while he was a schoolteacher.

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Innovation at the Woodridge Pool, Brisbane

Neil came back to swimming with a fresh outlook and a desire to create a truly innovative learn to swim system that focused on teaching skills to all children as quickly as possible.

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Pool-building, Brisbane

Neil managed the building of 3 pools for the Brisbane Council, perfecting details such as pool depth, temperature control and aesthetics. This experience would prove invaluable when Aquatic Achievers would build private indoor facilities across Brisbane.

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Aquatic Achievers is born

A focus on program effectiveness and customer service saw the swim school grow to be Brisbane’s largest.

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The Solo-1 program

It was during this period that the learn to swim program was named Solo-1, indicating the goal of the program which was for every child to swim 1km continuous Freestyle. The effectiveness was apparent with children as young as 4 completing the 1km swim.

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Swim School in a carpark

The pool at Sunnybank was designed and built on the bottom level carpark of a major shopping centre. The facility proved that with a bit of imagination a swim school could be built in unexpected places and allowed parents to do their shopping while their children learnt how to swim.

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The creation of Uswim

In 2007 the task of building Uswim began. What seemed like a simple project turned into a major undertaking. However, the process of creating a program for parents, delivered invaluable experience in program design for ‘training the trainer’.

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A redesigned program

The first version of Uswim had its flaws. Most feedback simply said, “it’s too complicated”. This was backed up when focus groups of parents suggested that the program be simplified. The idea of only teaching one skill at a time was a turning point.

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The World Drowning Conference

The first-ever World Drowning Conference was held in Vietnam, which loses roughly 11,000 children each year – that’s 31 lives every day – to drowning. Uswim was one of the representatives to speak about the different methods that may prevent drownings.

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SOS Children’s Orphanage

Project Dovetail offered Uswim the chance to teach at the SOS orphanage in Mauritius. The emphasis on this trip was to make sure the House Mother, Josset, took the lead in understanding the program to be followed.

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Train the Trainer’ in Mauritius

The follow-up trip by Ben to Mauritius was rewarding, as the basic skill progressions taught the previous year were taking effect.

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Growth and Restructuring

The Douglas family continued to build Queensland’s largest Swim School and implemented new systems and management structures to bring consistency across all facilities.

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Systemizing Customer Experience

A broader focus on customer experience than simply the quality of swim lessons. Improved booking processes, scheduling and teacher selection were among many things added to the service.

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China, Indonesia, and Vietnam

Ben was invited to China, Indonesia, and Vietnam to provide talks on learning to swim and child-drowning prevention.

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An Improved Program

Uswim was redeveloped to create a simple to use model for parents and teachers around the world who do not have access to a quality ‘learn to’ program, or local pool facilities.

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Evolving Everyday

With a new brand, website and digital marketing platforms, we now provide the standard for how-to-teach learn to swim to beginners anytime and anywhere ensuring that every child regardless of their background has access to life-saving swimming skills.