Do you know how to swim? If not, then you are in the right place. Carey Littleton from Swim 380 is going to answer questions about summer swimming safety and what led her to start a sport based business. She also happens to be my kids' swim coach, and I think she's awesome!
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Carey Littleton. I've been married to my husband, Eric, for 16 years! We have four beautiful children. Drew is 12, Kaylea & Hannah are 10, and our surprise, Bryce, just turned 5. I grew up in Nacogdoches, Texas, where I fell in love with swimming! I graduated high school in 1992, then went on to swim and attend school at Ouachita Baptist University where I graduated in 1996.
I moved back home to attend SFA and got a Masters of Art in Community Counseling. I met my husband working summers at T BAR M Sports Camp in New Braunfels. We are a big time sports family. I married a Texas high school football coach and coaching is a family business. We love it!
When did your love of swimming begin?
I began swimming for our town's summer league team at the age of eight and fell in love with it that first summer! I swam through high school and college and began teaching in our backyard pool after my freshman year of high school. It was a family sport.
Did motherhood effect your decision to start a small business?
Absolutely! After the birth of our fourth and surprise baby, I knew I needed to do more to help my husband provide for our family. I also knew that I wanted the same chance to stay at home with my youngest. At that time, I had been teaching privately and with Frisco ISD's Learn To Swim program.
In a brainstorming session with my family about options for working, my dad pointed out all the great community pools out along 380. He knew how much I loved teaching and coaching swimming.
While reminiscing about our family summers and being involved in summer swim team, the idea of Swim 380 became a reality. I not only wanted to earn an income doing what I love to do, but I also wanted to give my kids the opportunity to experience a fun family oriented recreational summer swim league like the one I was in growing up.
Swim 380 was started in June 2011, with three neighborhood teams consisting of 76 swimmers. We have steadily grown since. We now have four competitive teams, a group swim lesson program spanning two communities, and more than 125 kids. God has blessed Swim 380 big time!
What is the best and worst thing about owning a sport based business?
The best thing about Swim 380 is the families! I have met and become friends with some of the most amazing people in our area. My swimmers are precious, and coaching them is the highlight of my summer (and their parents are pretty awesome, too!).
The worst thing is the unknown at the beginning of each summer. I don't know at the beginning of each summer how many swimmers I will have participating, and it's a numbers based business. But on the flip side, I started this business from a call I felt the Lord was leading me to do, and He's provided for Swim 380 every summer.
If a child is scared of the water, what is the first step in getting them comfortable with the swimming pool?
The first step in getting a child comfortable in water is by building a relationship with the instructor or coach. The more a child trusts me, the more likely they are to try the things I ask them to in order to learn to swim. After that, the biggest thing to help a child learn to swim is consistency in the water.
What is your number one safety tip when swimming?
Never swim alone, and always make sure an adult knows and gives permission for a child to get in the pool.
If you knew what you know now when you started Swim 380, what would you have done differently?
I think I would've taken a business course or two. There's a lot to learn about running a business other than what service a business provides. I've definitely gotten a crash course on the business side of Swim 380. I've also experienced a growing pain or two, but have grown personally and professionally from it. I wouldn't trade that for anything.
Thanks for all the great info, Carey! If you don't know how to swim, please learn. Contact Swim 380 or your local swim club for more information.