A Pioneering Swim School Makes Waves
How Coach Amy Albiero created a hub for all swimmers with Endless Pools®
"When you walk into our facility," says Coach Amy Albiero, "something that separates us from other swim schools is Endless Pools." Albiero is the owner of SafeSplash + SwimLabs Louisville, which opened its doors in 2018. Of their three Elite pools, she says, "It really sets us apart."
The Elite features Endless Pools smoothest adjustable current with the fastest top speed, making it versatile for all levels. "We can, under one roof, service the six-month-old, the six-year-old, the 16-year-old competitive swimmer, the 60-year-old triathlete, the Olympians," she says proudly. "I just love that."
Coaching Advanced Swimmers
By making it possible to swim in place, the Endless Pools current opens productive new avenues for coaching. "From a technical standpoint," Albiero says, "what we can do with video feedback, and immediate feedback from the mirrors, is awesome."
"We have three cameras hooked up to each of our pools. We have two underwater and one above. We can capture that on video and show the swimmers their strokes." That's a great way to analyze every aspect of swimming technique in detail.
At SwimLabs, there's another benefit to video feedback with the Endless Pools current. "We have our Champions Library of so many elite swimmers and their underwater footage of all four strokes." So, when Amy gets video of her swimmers, "We can show them, 'Here's what you're doing, and here's how it's been done to almost perfection,' and line those strokes up, side by side."
Additionally, Amy's facility opted for Endless Pools' stainless-steel mirrors so swimmers can observe their technique in real time. "With the mirrors, whether the two [underwater] mirrors or the [overhead] backstroke mirror, they can give that feedback to themselves immediately to make technical corrections."
She uses the feedback in tandem with Endless Pools' variable current. She'll tell her swimmers, "'We made this adjustment at a slower speed. Now let's crank up the speed and see if you can hold it at a higher speed.' That fast speed underwater is much harder to capture in an inground, longer pool."
She calls the Endless Pools coaching process "a different stimulus for swimmers. You're not staring at that black line. You're able to see yourself, have some in-moment feedback to yourself. That's really important."
She's even hosted Olympic swimmers in her Elite pools. "There's always room for improvement. Even a slight change – from a pitch of the hand or the angle of a catch or the head position – at that level, a little tiny difference can make a 100th of a second of a difference." Consider that, at the Rio Olympics, Team USA swimmer Anthony Ervin took the 50m Freestyle gold by finishing 0.01 second before the French swimmer who took silver! "For them, it matters."
Coaching Young Swimmers
"Our little kids love going in the Endless Pools, swimming either against the flow or even with the flow. They love going underwater and seeing their faces in the underwater camera up on the big screen. It allows us to be a lot more creative and give different levels of experience in the water."
Amy notes that the Endless Pools environment allows SwimLabs locations to set an ambitious, achievable targets for their young swimmers. "We have the 100-Stroke Club. We make it a big deal," she enthuses. "The goal is to get 100 strokes of all four strokes.
"Even if you're going 25 yards, you're not going to get 100 consecutive strokes. With Endless Pools, we can now see if we can go 20 strokes, 30 strokes, 50 strokes.
"We love that we can continue to work on technique without the flow" for their young swimmers, "but we can also turn that flow on and see if we can now go the distance while also maintaining that good technique."
Reaching Unexpected Customers
The compact Endless Pools environment means that every swimmer has a pool to themselves. That 'private swimming lane' invites new clientele to SafeSplash + SwimLabs.
"From a business standpoint, we're also seeing some 'general fitness people'," Amy finds. "They're not Olympians; they're not triathletes. But they genuinely love swimming as their form of exercise, love not having to fight for a lane or share a lane. To be able to have their own space, they really love that.
"We even have some of our parents who brought their kids for swim lessons." With the option to rent one of their other pools, "they'll go in and swim while their kids are swimming."
Socially Distanced Swimming
"When a lot of the pools were shut down over covid, we used our Endless Pools," Albiero recalls. "Because it was your own private pool, we were able to open our swim school for one-on-one lessons right away when things started opening up. In Kentucky, that was right around June 1.
"We couldn’t get into the University of Louisville where my club team trains. A lot of the facilities run by Parks and Rec, they couldn't open, and if they could, it was only one person in the lane."
Albiero now says that having Endless Pools models at her swim school was "a really great benefit, certainly over covid, when it was one of the only pool spaces available at that time."
A Pioneering Business Model
Amy first encountered the Endless Pools Elite model when her husband – Head Coach for University of Louisville Swimming and Diving, Arthur Albiero – had an Elite pool installed on the Cardinals swim deck back in 2013.
"My original interest in the franchises was strictly SwimLabs. Going out to Colorado, visiting their facilities with the Endless Pools, I got really excited about it." As fate would have it, a longtime friend in Colorado was working with SafeSplash Swim Schools. After learning more about the SafeSplash model, "I posed the question, 'Why couldn't these two entities co-exist?'
"I really liked having my own warm-water pool, being able to offer more opportunities from a learn-to-swim perspective. I liked the idea of being able to service more competitive swimmers, having the underwater video analysis, that sort of thing."
Amy received permission to represent both franchises in one facility. "Four months later, the two companies merged. Now they're building combo units all over the country," based on the model that Amy pioneered.
Living the Swim Life
Besides running SafeSplash + SwimLabs, Amy continues to coach the swim club, Cardinal Aquatics, whose swimmers sometimes train at her swim school. "Anytime we can change the stimulus and still get work done, the kids end up enjoying it so much more."
Her own two kids, Gabi and Nick Albiero, have graduated from Cardinal Aquatics and now swim for her husband at UofL. "Swimming is something that they have enjoyed all of their lives. They're now making the decision to go and swim at college, making more friends and creating new opportunities. They're kids that are very passionate and goal-driven. What any mom or dad wants is for their kids to reach their goals."
At home and at her swim school, that's what Albiero has dedicated herself to: helping swimmers to reach their goals.