After nearly two years apart, the much-anticipated 2022 Goldfish Owners’ Celebration was the perfect opportunity for our owners, vendor partners, and Franchise Team to dive back into sharing best practices and impactful mission stories, networking with owners in different markets as well as our finomenal vendor partners, and to do one of our favorite things – Celebrate!

As Goldfish took the city of Phoenix, we enjoyed team-building activities that brought everyone together. Our ambitious folks hiked together in the desert mountains, and our zen, calm-seeking friends had relaxing morning yoga sessions. Some adventurous team members went for an off-roading Jeep tour through the desert, and we even had a little friendly competition on the golf course!

After all of the fun, networking and bonding opportunities, we got down to business with our State of the Company meeting where Goldfish Owners heard from the Goldfish Franchise Leadership Team, as well as special guests Cullen Jones and the USA Swimming Foundation, to further drive home the importance our mission plays in families lives. We dove into how we can continue to give back to our communities, then ended our trip with the moment we’d all been waiting for… the Owners’ Celebration Awards Ceremony!

The Awards Ceremony gave our schools the chance to Celebrate themselves and one another, as we awarded owners with our Core Value Awards, along with the swimsational Rookie of the Year and School of the Year Awards. Join us in celebrating these seven fintastic Goldfish Swim School locations!

Golden Experience – North Canton, OH

The team in North Canton constantly goes above and beyond with every detail to create a Golden Experience, both inside and outside of their four walls, for their members, team, guests and community! Consistently receiving finomenal remarks on their member feedback surveys, the school has excellent member satisfaction and it’s well-deserved! Regional General Manager Vince, along with the school’s General Manager Emily, take the time to connect with their members in their school, building lasting relationships with their families and teams. They also make monthly celebrations extra special and host exciting events for their members that always blow them out of the water! It doesn’t stop there – Emily’s crew extends their efforts outside of their school to make waves in their community – partnering with the Stark County Humane Society and participating in community events to prove their commitment to the neighborhood. The crew was also a winner of the Best Swim Lessons by Northeast Ohio Parent!

Wow! Customer Service – South Jordan, UT

We sure are WOW’d by this team! (get it?!) The team in South Jordan, outside of Salt Lake City, is constantly putting their best fin forward to provide Wow! Customer Service to each and every guest they encounter. Owners Lars and Katie Grisley currently own and operate the only two Goldfish Swim School locations in Utah, and are excited to continue teaching kiddos across the state to be safer in and around the water as their 3rd location comes soon! By prioritizing their team’s culture, the South Jordan team has perfectly crafted an experience for their swimmers and Goldfish families! They make an active effort to celebrate and communicate progress, and make the entire Goldfish experience Golden from the moment someone enters their school. Their efforts don’t go unnoticed – their members are quick to share their experiences with social media and spread the word about how much they enjoy the school and the crew! Parents use the words “helpful and courteous”, “patient” and “positive” to describe the South Jordan team, and we couldn’t agree more!

Integrity, Compassion & Trust – Chapel Hill, NC

The team in Chapel Hill, led by owners Danelle and Manuel Alex and General Manager Megan, is a tried and true representation of our Core Value of Doing the Right Things, Making the Right Decisions, and Treating People with Integrity, Compassion and Trust. Through their team culture, participation in local events, and dedication to giving back to their community, this team instantly came to mind for this award! This year alone, they have raised over $1,400 for Surfers Healing and have donated materials for the Malan Syndrome Family and Scientific Engagement Conference. And it doesn’t stop there – – they also are an active fundraiser for the Goldfish Gives Back Belize Initiative, and their commitment to water safety and advocating for Safer Swimmers everywhere even earned a swimmer from their school the Safer Swimmer Pledge’s $5,000 Family Getaway! The Chapel Hill team also continues to be a trusted source of water safety information in their community by partnering with other safety advocates in their community like their local Police, Fire and EMS teams to talk about all things safety!

Extraordinary Results – Oakville and Burlington, ONT

Boy oh boy, do our two schools in Canada have Extraordinary Results! After going Above and Beyond to stay Safer. Stronger. Together.® in a region that saw frequently-changing mandates and guidelines throughout the pandemic, these two schools – led by owners Dave McKay, and Derek and Jackie O’Rourke, have fought hard for their life-saving mission, and are proud to be teaching even more kiddos now how to be safer in and around the water.

Committed to their mission, and continuing to grow, Derek attended the Goldfish School Leadership Summit to share their ideas and learn about the best practices other schools are implementing. And he had a lot to share, as his schools are also the winners of the Best Swim Program in Oakville (for the fifth year in a row!) AND in Burlington – these teams certainly know a little something about extraordinary results!

The Oakville and Burlington teams are consistently doing all they can for their members and exceeding expectations, focusing on technique, form, and of course, water safety. They start with their team, offering leadership courses to get their Wavemakers in the Workforce ready for their lifesaving career, and to help their members progress, be safe and of course, celebrate!

Celebrate – Norwood, MA

As a brand, we highly encourage our schools to celebrate as many moments as they can, and the team in Norwood knocks it out of the park! Led by Owners Tracey McCaghy and Steve Marszalek and General Manager Mike, the team is constantly celebrating diversity, their teammembers and facility and it all comes naturally – so much so that they forget to pat themselves on the back for being so fintastic at it! They get creative with greeting team members, celebrating milestone moments like graduations and promotions (they even have fun Goldfish themed cakes, and who doesn’t love cake?!), and make training their team a splashtastic experience for everyone.

Rookie of the Year – Eagan, MN 

To quote the President of Goldfish Swim School Franchising, Andrew McCuiston, “the Eagan team has made a splash in their community since day 1”! Owner Dave Handley and General Manager Melissa are extremely passionate about Goldfish (we know so, because this is not their first, but their second location in Minnesota!) and with their fintastic team, have jumped right into their new community, leading them to exceed all expectations since their opening in June of 2022. In such a short time, the Eagan crew has already made a splash in their community, sharing their passion for and commitment to water safety with kiddos through Water Safety Presentations at local schools and daycares. They’ve also made an impact on their swimmers by creating an environment that allows their swimmers to make waves!

The Eagan team is the first to dive into new things and to say yes to all opportunities that come their way. They have helped the Franchise Team trial new programs in an effort to help all Goldfish Swim School locations reach new members and spread the importance of water safety – all while ensuring that everyone has a Golden Experience! They are actively involved in their community and participate in events, and never miss an opportunity to celebrate and shout out their team and their members. After the Awards Ceremony in AZ, Dave immediately headed straight home to share their award and celebrate with the Eagan team – the people that make the Goldfish mission possible in Minnesota! 

School of the Year – Gaithersburg, MD

The School of the Year award is such an exciting one, as it encompasses all of the things that make Goldfish, Goldfish! The team in Gaithersburg, led by owner Jake Atchoo and their General Manager Zachary, exemplifies each and every one of the Goldfish Core Values. They do the right things time and time again, and they also continue to advocate for and celebrate diversity and inclusion not only within their school, but within their community. They are always looking for fun ways tocelebrate their team and members, and go above and beyond to cheer them on through their accomplishments. The team in Gaithersburg was one of the first schools that piloted and adopted the Goldfish Golden Learners* program, ensuring that every child in their community has the opportunity to learn to swim and be safer in and around the water.


It was such a finomenal experience to get to spend time with our owners, and to celebrate their efforts in making waves for water safety! Though there are only five Core Values to give out awards for, each and every one of our owners are responsible for making our Goldfish dreams come true, and making the kiddos of our communities safer in and around the water! As we swim into new markets and new cities, these are the people behind the brand that make it all possible! We hope you’ll join us in celebrating these schools, and the others across North America!

*The Goldfish Golden Learners Program is available at participating, specially-trained locations only!