In this post, we’re going to get to know British Swim Schools’ Director of Aquatics, Melissa McGarvey a bit better. Read on for how she got started and what drives her to fulfill our mission of ensuring that every swimmer, regardless of age or ability, has the opportunity to become a safe and happy swimmer.

Born a swimmer, always a swimmer. Melissa’s love of swimming began before she can even remember at just 6 months old. Growing up Melissa was always exposed to water with a backyard pool and a cottage on the lake, so it was essential that her and her siblings knew how to swim, thus developing a strong respect for the water and water safety. 

Over the span of her 13-year career with GoodLife Fitness in London, Ontario, Melissa went from answering phones in the Customer Service Department to ultimately serving as the National Kids Program and Pool Operations Manager, managing over 150 locations in that capacity. When British Swim School Founder Rita Goldberg approached Melissa for a pool partnership in 2017, the conversation quickly pivoted to an impromptu job interview for British Swim School! This led to an amazing opportunity that joined a long-time love of swimming alongside working with children as the National Director of Aquatics. 

In this role, Melissa’s priorities include ensuring that the British Swim School brand and aquatics program are running properly, training and developing aquatics leaders and owners and staying abreast of the latest swim industry trends and opportunities to determine which can be incorporated into our program.

In her free time Melissa and her husband James love to travel, go on long walks on the beach and are avid sports and craft beer enthusiasts. Most of all they love hanging out with their Miniature Schnauzer Bentley at their home in London, Ontario and listening to their vast vinyl collection. Here are a few questions we asked Melissa to get to know her a bit better.

What three words would you use to describe British Swim School?

Motivating, Caring and Rewarding 

What are your hopes for our industry?

My hope is that survival swim lessons are seen as an essential service. We know that people wear their seatbelts and helmets because they help save lives. Swimming lessons should be seen the same way, and I will continue to work to make sure that happens sooner rather than later! 

What inspires you when you show up for work each day?

My inspiration is to play a role in making a difference to people. I strive to leave an impression or make someone feel special and cared for. There are so many things that bring sadness in life so my focus is to provide happiness, laughter or inspiration to others. I feel like that is what I was meant to do.

What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy so much of it, but I really love when I get to see an Aquatics Leader or Franchise Owner learn our program for the first time and their excitement to teach a child lessons and see that child be successful. I don’t know whose face lights up more, the child’s or theirs! It’s amazing!

A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say?

He would say “I am so happy that I found you, Mexico was a longer walk than I expected. I will have a margarita, and could you please tell me where the pool is – Ole!”

Do you have a favorite quote?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?

Whenever possible, say yes. Say yes to time with your family, time with your friends, new experiences, job opportunities, events, dinners, and even things that take you out of your comfort zone. Life is short, but sweet for certain. Embrace it, learn from it, and appreciate it!