The swim school opened a location at Bryant in September, bringing 20 jobs for university students, 15 Learn to Swim personnel and five swim coaches, said owner/director Marshall Muir.
The Australian native started Envious Swimming in Warwick at McDermott Pool, 975 Sandy Lane, in 2007, the latest development in a career that began with RI's Bruin Swim Club, later known as the Ocean State Squids. He moved home to Australia in 2002 to work as a swim coach, leading his team to the NSW Australian State Title.
Muir said his swim school's approach is different from most swim schools. Envious Swimming focuses on small class sizes - only four at a time - half the size of most swim classes, he said. The smaller size gives students 23-27 minutes of swim time in a 30-minute class as opposed to 8-10 minutes in the usual setup. Also, he said, classes can me made up, allowing students to pick up right where they left off if they miss a session.
At Bryant, Envious Swimming has about 150 students from Smithfield and surrounding towns, including Johnston and Cranston, as well as students from Massachusetts and Connecticut.
For this year, Make a Splash will donate funds for water safety classes, but in September of 2013, $160,000 in grants will be available to Envious Swimming to teach kids to swim, Muir said.
Muir said the money, which will be used to fund swimming lessons for kids whose families can't afford them, will provide a welcome expansion of their services. "We don't want money to be a reason why people choose not to have their kids learn to swim," Muir said.