Glendale is the fifth British Swim School franchise in California, joining Burbank and Altadena as the only Los Angeles-area locations. (British Swim School/Submitted)

With water playing a significant recreational role in Southern California, British Swim School franchisees Arlene Faalnik and her fiancé, Doug Kraus, want to give children the opportunity to safely learn. 

“(Arlene and Kraus) decided to start this because it’s great for the community, but also, they would see how there’s so many drownings,” said Olivia Faalnik, Arlene’s daughter. 

“So, they really just love working with kids and wanted to do something for the community and make sure everybody’s a safe and happy swimmer.”

For more than 40 years, British Swim School has been dedicated to teaching water survival skills by offering a three-part curriculum, teaching infants, children and adults the skills needed for water acclimation, water survival and stroke development. 

Arlene and Kraus recently expanded to Glendale. 

“We are happy to welcome a great team to British Swim School,” said Ashley Gundlach, British Swim School president, in a statement. 

“Southern California is a dream for anyone who loves the water and a market that is perfect for British Swim School’s model. This new school will help fill a gap we’ve been eager to address, allowing access to swim lessons for so many more families.”

Founded in 1981 in England, British Swim School has 200 locations peppered throughout the United States and Canada.

The need for this service is high: each year, nearly 4,000 people across the nation die from drowning, according to the British Swim School. 

While parental supervision is always the No. 1 safety measure, research shows that participation in formal swim programs, such as those offered by British Swim School, can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children who are most at risk for deaths caused by drowning.

Glendale is the fifth franchise in California, joining Burbank and Altadena as the only Los Angeles-area locations.

Olivia said the family’s close connection to the company’s mission stems from their desire to help instill water-saving abilities in young children and others.

Kraus said opening British Swim Schools align with their values of helping others. 

“I am so excited about the services we will be able to offer because I really believe it’s essential in our community, and we can save lives,” Arlene added.

The Glendale location has about 12 levels of classes for all ages and abilities taught by experienced instructors. They range from water survival and acclimation courses for babies to beginner and advanced stroke skill programs for older children. 

The British Swim School in Glendale is home to the Barracudas team. 

Expansion is in the cards, with five pools in the offing, according to Olivia. They want to launch an intensive program, however, that has not been finalized.

“We just want to take over, make sure every child who joins our program is happy and safe,” Olivia said. “But we really love what we do, and we make genuine connections with the kids and parents.”

British Swim School

WHEN: Lessons are held 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays

WHERE: Hyatt Place, 225 W. Wilson Avenue, Glendale

COST: See website for details