As part of our Gift the Gold Medal Experience fundraising sweepstakes, one lucky Float It Forward donor family won a private meet and greet with three-time Olympic Gold medal winner Ryan Murphy – all while we raised $10,000 dollars for the USA Swimming Foundation!

Meeting Ryan Murphy

In order to have a chance to win the GOLDEN experience of sitting down and talking to our Goldfish Swim School ambassador Ryan Murphy, members entered the sweepstakes by purchasing a ticket with a $10 donation to Float It Forward.

A family from Goldfish Swim School – Closter in New Jersey – mom Grace Lee and her four children – won the lucky drawing and got to celebrate!

In January 2020, Ryan Murphy paid a visit to the Closter location and had lunch with Grace and her children. The kids talked to Ryan about what they want to be when they grow up, and why they love swimming (and Goldfish Swim School!). They also enjoyed a pool party with Ryan and their closest friends and family members, showing off their swim skills! They got to interact with an inspiration who not only also loves swimming, but has made a successful career from it.

Before meeting with the Lee Family, Ryan also had a chance to meet other Goldfish Swim School members and their families: He signed autographs, took pictures, and gave words of encouragement to all the swimmers he talked to. And laughed a bit, too!

To the delight of everyone, Ryan jumped in the pool with our Goldfish Swim School Swim Force! He was able to give the team insight about what things were like for him when he began competing in swimming, and offered encouragement. And – even more amazing — Ryan even spent some time coaching the swimmers.

After spending time with the Lee Family and the members of Goldfish Swim School – Closter, everyone got to see what Ryan does best: Race! Holden Von Summer, a student at Ridge Wood High School in New Jersey, is a local all-county swimmer – whose specialty stroke is the butterfly – and dreams of getting to swim professionally at the same level as Ryan. So, the two raced in the pool at Goldfish Swim School. Holden thought it was absolutely amazing to swim with Ryan, a world-record-holder swimmer, and see in-person the extraordinary results that can happen if he works hard and follows his dreams.

To close out the day, Ryan had the chance to spend some time with both the Goldfish Swim School Closter and Wyckoff (Closter’s sister swim school), who together raised $6,000 during the Gift the Gold Medal Experience Fundraiser! Ryan understands the importance of teaching the lifelong, lifesaving skill and water safety, and had discussions with the teams about how having integrity, compassion and trust is vital and why what we do is truly making a difference in the communities. He thanked the teams for the work that do they every day to keep the kids of New Jersey safer in and around the water, and to help raise awareness for the USA Swimming Foundation.

The importance of Goldfish Swim School

At Goldfish Swim School, we teach children ages 4 months and older how to swim and be safer in the water

Part of the Gift the Gold Medal Experience was to give swimmers a chance to meet inspiring swimmer Ryan Murphy – but it was also a monumental opportunity to raise money for the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make A Splash initiative, which Goldfish Swim School is a partner.

swim lessons can reduce the likeliness of accidental drowning by 88 percent, but families with lower income levels have a higher instance of not enrolling children in swim lessons.

The objective of Make A Splash is to provide opportunities for children across the country – regardless of income – can take swim lessons. That’s why we decided to “Float it Forward,” so we could do our part to reduce drowning.

It was an action-packed day to close out a great fundraiser, and likely our last chance to spend time with Ryan before he heads out to the 2020 Olympic Trials in June. A special thank you goes out to everyone who donated to Float It Forward in 2019, helping bring our first-year fundraising totals to over $220,000! This will give over one thousand children throughout the United States the opportunity to learn how to swim – the opportunity that they might not have had otherwise. Together, we are all Making Waves, Giving Back and Saving Lives!

Start swimming today

Want to be part of the movement? Stop by a Goldfish Swim School location near you and sign up today! We not only have WOW! customer service, but our pools are a balmy 90 degrees…and kids love the tropical atmosphere.