/ Northern Virginia

Letters from Tom Dolan and Chris DeJong on Big Blue Swim School Acquisition

Big Blue Swim School acquired Tom Dolan Swim School in the spring of 2021 to expand the swim lessons brand to Northern Virginia with schools in Dulles and Falls Church. Read the letters from both founders on their new partnership.

Letter from Tom Dolan

I am thrilled to share with you that we’re embarking upon a big journey together here at TDSS. We will be announcing to the public in the coming days that Tom Dolan Swim School is being acquired by Big Blue Swim School, a growing children’s swim school brand that was founded by my friend and U.S. National Champion Swimmer Chris DeJong and is expanding here in Northern Virginia.

I am excited for the improved capabilities to better serve you, our customer, that this change provides us. Rest assured I will continue to manage day-to-day operations of the pools alongside our TDSS instructors and staff your family knows and trusts and now with added resources to support and better serve our community.

Over the past nine years, I am proud to say we have taught tens of thousands of kids to become safer, more confident swimmers and build critical life skills as they Swim Thru Life. By becoming a part of Big Blue, we will be able to stay true to our core values and my learn-to-swim philosophy while providing even more benefits to our families and expanding our impact throughout Northern Virginia.

Big Blue has been serving kids and families in the Chicago, IL area for over a decade, operating with the mission of showing kids they can do anything by unlocking their full potential in the water. They are growing nationally in Atlanta, Denver, Virginia, and many other markets around the country. Similar to TDSS, Big Blue offers small class sizes, highly trained professional instructors, and a focus on swim progress achieved through demonstrated skills and swimming further distances. And I am excited to share with you Big Blue’s emphasis on stress-free scheduling and excellent, omni-channel member services all delivered through their exclusive technology platform.

I am so proud of the community we’ve built at TDSS and look forward to me and our staff staying engaged as a part of the Big Blue Swim School team. Please let me know if you have any questions about this transition, and I hope you’re as excited as I am for what’s to come.


Tom Dolan

Letter from Chris DeJong

I am so happy to welcome you into the Big Blue community. I could not be more excited for Big Blue Swim School to partner with Tom, who will continue to manage day-to-day operations of the pools. We look forward to collectively making even more impact in the Northern Virginia area as Big Blue by joining up with Tom, his wonderful staff, and the whole TDSS community.

The Big Blue team started teaching kids swimming lessons in 2009 in the Chicago, IL area because we feel every child deserves a positive and empowering swim lessons experience, much like TDSS and its Swim Thru Life philosophy. With these shared values as our foundation, Tom and I know Big Blue can provide even more capabilities and program features to better serve our customers and help more children become safer, more confident swimmers.  

Over the last decade, the Big Blue team has worked tirelessly to build the best possible swim school experience for the families that we serve.

  • This starts with our professional swim instructors, who receive over 100 hours of training plus the tools and techniques to motivate and connect with each swimmer to ensure they have a successful swim lessons experience.
  • Our curriculum is built around the idea that the best way for a child to learn how to swim safely is by swimming longer distances every lesson in an environment that is warm, welcoming, and child-centered. We closely track your swimmer’s distance milestones in real time, and  can progress to the next level as soon as they are ready.
  • We believe in providing the best possible customer service grounded in clear communications with Big Blue families. This includes receiving real-time progress updates via our Parent Portal and Big Blue mobile app, as well as the ability to easily connect with the Big Blue service team via phone, email, text, or live chat.
  • Finally, we make it easy for families to make swim lessons part of their busy lives by offering the ultimate flexibility with scheduling thanks to our exclusive Parent Portal and Big Blue mobile app. These tools make it easy to schedule or reschedule lessons at any time and to utilize our generous policy of 15 free make-up lesson vouchers per swimmer per year. As a dad of two young boys, I understand how important flexible scheduling is for our Big Blue families!

I am so excited to share even more about the Big Blue experience with you in the coming weeks and appreciate your patience as we make this transition. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions throughout this process, and I hope to see many of you soon with swim lessons in Dulles and swim lessons in Falls Church at Big Blue Swim School!


Chris, DeJong