Our Story

The History of British Swim School

Rita Goldberg has spent her life around pools, and in doing so, is well aware of the dangers they pose to children. In the USA, accidental drownings are the number one cause of death for children under 5. Rita set out to do something about it. In 1981, Rita opened her own private Swim School in the basement of her home in Manchester, England. It was here she began to develop the unique teaching methods that have become a recognized trademark of British Swim School.

Rita’s initial focus was on teaching beginning swimmers of all ages that the ability to float on their back is the most important water survival skill of all. It enables all swimmers to rest, breathe and call for help, thus alleviating the “silent” danger of floating face down. For over 30 years, Rita has continued to develop, improve and fine-tune these methods, with a gradual, gentle and fun process.


As the business model continued to evolve, Rita realized that the process of building a pool for commercial use was overly complicated, stressful and expensive (she has some brilliant stories to share with you on this front!). On a trip to the United States, she came to realize that there was an abundant amount of commercial pools that were “empty” for the majority of the day. The light-bulb went off.

Rita has since spent decades focusing on developing partnerships with national fitness clubs and a variety of other types of locations. Now, thanks to Rita’s dedication, British Swim School Owners are capitalizing on a model that allows them to open multiple pools, with minimal investment. The organization reaches more than 16,000 students per week and conducted more than 750,000 swimming lessons in 2017, and as Rita puts it, “It’s hard to believe, but we are really only just getting started”.

Hear From Our Founder

Rita Goldberg, Founder

Over 37 years ago, former competitive swimmer Rita Goldberg began a personal quest to find purpose in her life after swimming. Little did she know that starting a small swim school in her basement would evolve into one of the most progressive, life-saving swim programs on the planet.


Click the video to hear her story. 

BSS-SocialMediaIcon-LGOur Support Family

British Swim School’s Family


Rita Goldberg

As founder and program creator you’ll definitely feel Rita’s influence throughout the business, but especially in the evolution and high standards of our teaching program! She’s a very hands on founder and takes a real personal interest in getting involved with every franchisee’s development and their business challenges. 

Mike Conlon

Mike takes the lead on all our day to day franchise operations  and commercial activities.  He’ll also work with you as your business coach to help you plan for and manage your franchise so that you reach your true potential and avoid any hurdles that might slow down your business growth and performance.

Steven Waterhouse

Keeping the ‘British’  link live. Steven is a member of our Leadership team but his core priority is to identify entrepreneurial minded people who have the necessary skills and mind-set to become a successful addition to our franchise. After completing your initial questionnaire, you will work closely with Steven over 4 – 6 weeks to learn all about our business model with the aim of ensuring there’s a good mutual fit.  


Fill out the form for additional information.