Ex-GB Competitor Makes Swimming Business a Family Affair

A 24 year old former-swimmer who travelled the world for several years competing for team GB is making his new business venture a family affair with the launch of a new swimming teaching venture with his sister  – thanks to help from TEDCO Business Support. 

The Image features (l-r) James Craft, Tedco Business Advisor with Jonny Carlisle and sister Stacy Carlisle with Swim City student Archie Fullard (age 6) from High Barnes in Sunderland.

Sunderland siblings Jonny Carlisle (24) and Stacy Carlisle have teamed up to bring their own brand of lessons to the people of Sunderland through their Swim City business for dedicated swimming lessons.

Jonny, who just missed out on competing for team GB in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, recently returned to Sunderland after living and training in Bath at the National Centre for Swimming.  He is now training 300 people a week through Swim City, set up jointly with Stacy to deliver lessons and swimming lessons to babies, pre-schoolers children and adults.

Jonny Carlisle, co-founder of Swim City comments: 

“We have had the most amazing response to setting up Swim City from people really interested in our more unique approach to getting children and adults in the water.  Given my background as a professional swimmer I have gone through many years of intensive training with some of the UK’s best coaches so I know what techniques and methods people really respond to.  At my peak I was training 24 hours a week in the pool and we apply all of this experience to our lesson structure at Swim City to pass on to the people of Sunderland.”

“The business has taken off very quickly and we’re now teaching at two venues, Castleview School and Monkwearmouth School, with a third venue due to come onboard later in the year.  It’s been the perfect way to end my competitive career and turn to my other passion – helping people, and particularly children, learn the value of a healthy and fit lifestyle.”

Jonny maintains a regular schedule of touring local schools to teach children not just about the benefits of swimming and his own swimming career competing at national events in the likes of France, America, Canada and Germany, but also the benefits of a fit and healthy lifestyle.  It’s a subject he’s passionate about and his talks cover everything from swimming to healthy eating to help children understand how the choices they make affect overall health and wellbeing. 

Jonny continues: 

“Swimming wasn’t always my first choice when it came to sport.  In fact I much preferred football until I was age 10 and took up swimming at my local club and decided two years later to give up football and focus my attention on swimming.  It was just around the time the 50m pool was being constructed in Sunderland so it was just good timing in many ways that I had a coach who I responded to.  It made me understand there and then how important the right teacher can be in inspiring you to take a hobby or sport further.”

“Setting up the business was straightforward in many ways as we knew what we wanted to teach, we both had lots of experience in swim training situations at all ages and so we incorporated our personal experiences into the ASA national framework for swimming to give structure to our lesson plans.  What we found a little more tricky was the rapid growth and demand for our lessons and how to structure the business in a way that helped support us and our customers in the way they should expect.”

Stacy Carlisle, co-founder of Swim City comments:

“Jonny and I were able to hit the ground running with the lesson delivery and practical elements but James Craft, our TEDCO business advisor has been absolutely invaluable from day one.  His help has reached every corner of the business and he has stayed with us through the post start-up phase too.  We sit down with James every two weeks and we’ve got so much from his involvement as his focus has really helped turn us into a more secure and structured business.  The added bonus is of course that James has been able to share his contacts to help us in all sorts of areas including web design and marketing as well as leasing office premises.  I would recommend TEDCO to just about anyone looking for help when setting up a business.”

Swim City was supported by TEDCO as part of the Start and Grow programme, which is delivered by TEDCO Business Support in the North East and supported by the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).  The programme is delivered throughout England by Cavendish Enterprise in areas where there are lower levels of business start-up to help new enterprises get up and running and develop new employment opportunities in the private sector with a range of services, including one-to-one mentoring, business planning and helping new ventures get investment ready.

James Craft, business advisor at TEDCO Business Support said: 

“Jonny and Stacy have incredible credentials when it comes to offering successful swimming lessons to people of any age.  Where they needed help was getting the business up and running to support what was quite rapid growth as well as help beyond the launch phase.  The early days of a new business can be daunting, particularly if like Swim City thinks take off very quickly and so I have worked very closely with Jonny and Stacey to ensure they are aware not only of the administrative elements but legal aspects to consider.  I think Swim City has the potential to grow very rapidly and the positive comments from happy customers is just the tip of the iceberg.  I wish them the very best of luck for the future and look forward to working with them further.”