Back in the 1960s, pools on wheels were all the rage, and they visited many an urban neighborhood in the summertime. For example, Pool News (as we were known then) reported that a YMCA swim-mobile traveled throughout New Jersey, giving swim lessons to 2,500 youngsters during the long, hot 1962 summer. A tractor hauled the 20-by-8-foot pool on a trailer.
So successful was it that the Y decided to send one to tour Puerto Rico. The organization even envisioned a “silver fleet” of 55 mobile units operating across the eastern seaboard.
In 1964, it was reported that 500 children had learned to swim in the YMCA Swim-Mobile of Scottsdale, Ariz. It was made possible by contributions from people inside and outside the pool industry.
As far as I know, swim-mobiles were a novelty of the past. Nowadays, “mobile swim lessons” mean something entirely different – namely, a swim instructor driving to homes to teach in backyard pools. Companies with names such as AquaMobile Swim School and The Swim People can be found throughout North America. One of my favorite monikers is the Little Frogs Mobile Swim School in Sydney, Australia. There are several YMCAs on the U.S. East Coast that offer the Backyard Pool Program – in other words, they come to you. No need to even trek to the Y to use its pool.
Home pool instruction consists of one-on-one or group sessions. Prices are typically based on time in the water -- and, from 6-month-old babies to adults, there’s a program for just about every age group.
Frankly, as long as folks are diving into the water – whether with a swim instructor in the privacy of their own pool or at an aquatics facility -- it’s good news. Still, it would be fun to see a swim-mobile rumbling into my neighborhood.