Who We Are

Our mission is to help every individual be safer in the water.

Being able to swim allows children to be safer in the water, and it also gives them a small measure of independence, which may turn into a lifelong, healthy passion.

Our Founder, John Manison, spent several years on both sides of the swim lesson environment and grew disenchanted with its common rigidity and inadequacy. After researching other swim schools, he found that all lessons followed the same general structure: Every segment of the lesson was set to a certain time schedule, there was no room for improvisation or customization, and instructors were not permitted to use their own judgment when teaching. 

That sort of environment can quickly become a grind for young students. Sailfish Swim School is intent on flipping the model to serve swimmers better, in the hopes of instilling a love for swimming in every student.

Founder’s Story

Swimming is a great workout. It can also change your life.

Sailfish Swim School Founder John Manison knows better than anyone in the world how transformative swimming can be. It’s been well documented that swimming can help people recover from injuries, but John’s love for the water is groundbreaking: He is the only known paraplegic in the world to fully recover.

“Swimming is the single-biggest reason I’m where I am today — able to walk again,” he said in an interview with Swimming World TV’s Brent Rutemiller, in which he recalls his journey of regaining his ability to use his legs after an auto-immune disease during childhood rendered him wheelchair-bound.

Despite being in a wheelchair all through high school, John was competitive in three sports, including swimming. 

“In the water, everyone is the same,” he said. “Swimming makes you buoyant, so it instantly gets rid of the stress put on your joints and muscles.”

John went on to found Sailfish in 2015 as a competitive swim club, naming it after the fastest fish in the ocean. His goal was to make the club accessible for both para-athletes and able-bodied swimmers, so para-athletes wouldn’t need to be viewed as different. As he grew the club, John felt a need beyond his own desire to compete — he saw how much the world of swim instruction needed to change. With a flexible teaching model customized for each student, John started Sailfish Swim School, which today has four locations throughout the United States.

Watch the full Swimming World TV interview

Every day, 10 drownings occur in the U.S.