Learning a critical life skill
Chris Peters holds an impressive list of personal and professional accomplishments, but the one he’s most proud of is opening a new swim school in Northwest Ohio. “My heart sinks when I hear about a drowning,” said the owner/operator of SafeSplash + Swim Labs. “That’s why we’re here. My passion is to start kids swimming when they’re babies and keep the skills going when they’re adults. Learning to swim is a critical life skill – something that can save a life.”
Peters, who qualified for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100 and 200 backstroke, is organizing fundraisers to help sponsor youngsters whose families cannot afford swimming lessons. “We are also constantly looking for third party funding – no child should be turned away because of cost.” The school is exploring offering lessons at other pools in the community. “If they can’t get to us, we want to take lessons to them,” he said.
Peters, the former head coach for the University of Toledo women’s swimming team, led the Rocket teams that broke numerous school records, set MAC Conference records and qualified for the NCAA Championship Meet and the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. Before coaching at UT, Peters served as an assistant coach for men’s swimming at the Ohio State University.
In addition to a 15 meter indoor swimming pool, the school features two smaller, endless wave pools that allow swimmers to learn in an individual setting. In-pool cameras and mirrors capture 360-degree views of each stroke. Pool-side video analysis provides swimmers with instant feedback—while displaying their strokes side-by-side with the world’s best swimmers—to help students become more efficient and faster in the water.
Dream come true
The self-professed “optimist and go-getter” called building the swim school, an “ultimate dream.” His wife, Marianne, Director of People and Performance for Savage and Associates, a local investment advisory and insurance firm, is credited by Peters for “taking a chance” to truly make a difference in people’s lives. Marianne helps manage the business and lends a hand, teaching swimming lessons on weekends.
“I’ve never been much of a corporate guy, I prefer to be hands-on and being in the pool is definitely my happy place,” Peters explains. His other favorite place is his home in Whitehouse, where he and Marianne live with their two children, Sydney, 13 and Cole, 11.
“Opening a new business is draining but my wife and I always make time for family,” Peters said. Those that work for him know that he will drop everything to attend his son’s swim meets or daughter’s soccer games or volleyball matches. “No doubt, this is a tough year but my family knows they always come first.”
SafeSplash + Swim Labs is located at 1510 Spring Meadows Drive in Holland. For more information or to schedule lessons, call 419.370.2801.
Q&A with Chris Peters
What’s your favorite activity to do with your family/kids?
Family basement night, where we play ping pong, darts and foosball. We also enjoy going out to eat together and going on family walks with our dog, Charlie.
What’s your go-to activity when you finally have a few minutes to yourself?
Describe your life in five words.
Chaotic. Fulfilling. Family. Caring. Ambitious.
What’s your favorite Toledo hangout?
The Toledo Metroparks and my house.
Describe Toledo in a sentence.
Toledo is a family friendly area that I’m proud to call HOME.