For Cecil Fraser, swimming pools are entertainment. “It’s much more than a swimming pool,” says the CEO and co-owner of Swan Pools in Lake Forest, Calif. “It is part of the culture and good for the health, and it keeps families together. Our business has to provide more of the entertainment concept in the backyard.”

Consequently, the company’s decision a few years ago to key into the trend of the “total backyard” concept by adding fireplaces, barbecue islands and other landscaping services to its offerings, has helped Swan Pools’ business significantly. Company revenue increased by more than $3 million in 2003.

“I think in those early days, we just sold an object,” Fraser says. “We basically sold a pool shell and dropped it in the yard, filled it with water and left. But now our industry has matured and is more involved in other facets of entertainment.”

The fiscal shot in the arm has helped propel Swan Pools into the upper echelon of Pool & Spa News’ Top 50 Builders, coming in at No. 5. Not a bad birthday present for the company that recently marked its 50th year in the industry.

Swan Pools was founded in 1954. Within a few years, it was led by Harold Udkoff, a former manager for jazz musician Count Basie. “He was a good money manager, and had good principles,” Fraser recalls.

Fraser’s background was in electrical engineering and electronics management. A friend who had already joined Udkoff encouraged Fraser to join the Swan Pools team and, in 1975, he did. “He encouraged me to get out in the sun and build something of lasting value,” Fraser says. “And then I thought to myself, ‘Gee, this is fun!’”

Since those halcyon days, Fraser and his partners bought the business and have taken it to greater heights. Swan Pools now has a roster of 140 employees and constructed 1,600 pools last year. It posted $60.2 million in sales in 2003.

Fraser and company also have set some impressive goals for the next five years:

  • See a measurable gain in market share
  • Develop e-commerce for continued sales for an established customer base
  • Develop online scheduling for better communication with customers

These goals likely will help the company reach its goal of 18 percent growth, Fraser says. Now that’s entertainment!


  • Top 50 Builders

View the list of the Top 50 Builders.


  • 1 Blue Haven Pools & Spas
  • 2 Anthony & Sylvan Pools Corp.
  • 3 Paddock Pools
  • 4 Shasta Industries
  • 5 Swan Pools