written by
Kiel Olver

The Future of Aquatics

Learn 3 min read

If you look at a swimming lesson from fifty years ago and compare it with one today, you won't see much of a difference. There will be one instructor attempting to teach a bunch of students and each of those students will spend most of the lesson waiting for their turn.

To keep kids moving, the instructor will offer quick bits of instruction and feedback, most of which are highly generalized.

  • A high five for a kick that looks good.
  • A few words for a pull that needs work.
  • A badge in your report card, if you pass.
  • A message to try again, if you don't.

At Propel, we believe that a higher standard of personalized swim instruction is not only possible — it's inevitable. To deliver that standard, we reimagined what the future of aquatics could be and built a platform to make it a reality.

Private Lessons As the Norm

Private swimming lessons provide students with greater individual attention, feedback, and learning outcomes than group lessons ever could. Thus, offering classes with just one or two students is a major part of our uncompromising vision of the future.

You might think it's impossible that everyone could learn to swim this way but consider for a moment another essential life skill that we now learn to do with private lessons — driving.

In the 1940s people thought it would be a good idea to learn how to drive in groups. It turned out that just like swimming, you need instantaneous feedback in order to build useful muscle memory, so the practice was eventually abandoned. At least in the setup above, everyone could practice at the same time, unlike most group swim lessons today!

We now live in a world where access to cars is ubiquitous and everyone learns to drive in a one on one setting. In order for private swimming lessons to go from niche to norm, access to both pool space and instructor talent also needs to be similarly universal.

Better Pools, Better People

In North America, there are over 11 million residential pools and over 42 thousand hotel pools. Most of these pools are kept in pristine condition and yet, they are rarely used. With the societal shift brought on by other shared economy platforms, the notion of using these under-utilized facilities for private swim lessons is now no more foreign to us than booking a room on AirBNB.

Swimming instructors are also an abundant yet under-utilized resource. In many areas, lifeguards and swim instructors are paid minimum wage and so the workforce tends to be very high turnover. Because of this, few instructors stick around long enough to become talented professionals, despite their services being in high demand.

By opening these venues up to swimming instructors, we've created an entirely new career path for aquatics professionals — one where they can continue to build a remarkable skill set while earning more for doing what they love.

Exclusive Experiences at Inclusive Prices

The experience surrounding private lessons also surpasses that of typical swim lessons. From less crowded pool areas to lounge chair seating, towel service, and even wifi, these additional amenities come free of charge and mark the beginning of an important trend that our platform makes possible — market competition.

As a marketplace, we are democratizing access to a higher calibre of lesson experience. To do this, venues and instructors are brought together in an environment where they must compete for your business. While price is important, so too are other factors. Every pool on our platform has different ambience and amenities and instructors have different expertise or techniques.

Right now, you can book private swimming lessons with your choice of instructor at rates that are cheaper than some public pools. You can choose to learn with an instructor who will make you laugh or learn from a former olympian. You can choose a teacher who has experience with special needs or simply loves making lessons fun for kids.

The Choice is Yours

For many years, swimmers have been held hostage by an aquatics industry that refuses to innovate. At most lesson providers you'll find confusing registration systems, long waitlists, and inconsistent lesson quality.

At Propel, we envisioned a future for aquatics that existed without compromise. A future where personalization, choice, and competition redefine what water safety education can be. That future may seem idealistic and unobtainable but because we decided to build it — that future is already here.

Learn How to Swim Today!

Propel is a marketplace platform that creates access to affordable private swimming lessons by connecting new swimmers, experienced instructors, and under-utilized swimming pools — all in one seamless booking process.

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