The Story of Catch the Wave Swim Club
My name is Debbie Stoffregen, I am the owner of Catch the Wave Swim Club and this is my story.
Catch the Wave is a family owned and operated swim club that started out as a personal dream over 10 years ago. Throughout my life I had many different jobs, tried my hand at a few different types of businesses, but none of them were quite “right.” I went home at night, knowing I had completed my work day, but I wasn’t satisfied. I realized I wasn’t fulfilling my passion. I knew I needed to follow my dream. I needed to come home at night and know I made a difference. So. I took my passion for swimming and wanting to share that passion with others an changed my path and started teaching swimming lessons to a few of my friends’ children who were either quite young, needed to learn to swim, or fearful of water. We met in my small 20’ x 10’ pool in my home. I had no staff and no idea of what my future held. What I did have was a love for children, water, and saving lives. That was 2006.
After a few short months I knew I had found my calling. I contacted the newspaper, explained my program, and my new business. The newspaper liked what they heard and wrote an article about my program and me!! I started passing out fliers and getting referrals via word of mouth. My “few kids” blossomed into teaching over a 100 students within a couple of months. Realizing, I needed more room and more pool space, I started renting local hotel pools in the area. I taught out of hotel pools for 3 years. I loved what I was doing, but the unpredictability of leasing pools and having no control over water temperatures pushed me out of my comfort zone. I realized that in order to teach in the manner I knew was best for kids; I needed a stable facility with a warm water pool.
Staying true to a family owned and operated business, my family and I began the quest to make my dream a reality. My husband Troy and I bought property and became business owners. My father used his engineering skills to design a state of the art pool. A year later Catch the Wave opened its doors in South Beloit in 2010.
My oldest son, General Manager Brandon, graduated from UIC with a Degree in Business and came to work for Catch the Wave full time upon graduation. Brandon is an integral part of Catch the Wave’s success. His tenacity, research, and creativity has developed our survival swimming and parent tot programs to one of the best teaching programs in the area. He is active in the United States Swim School Association both as a member and an instructor of other swimming teachers. My other son, Tanner, coined the phrase “Catch the Wave.” My then, young twins, Somer and Brianna, embraced this journey and helped out in whatever ways they could. Now, at 16, they are fabulous instructors and cheerleaders for our youth. My family is the backbone of my business.
As the Catch the Wave swim program has developed over the years, the one aspect that has always guided our passion is “swimming lessons save lives!” Survival and safety is Catch the Wave’s number one focus. We are a year round Aquatics Education Center that is currently serving over 1000 families in South Beloit, Roscoe/Rockton, Crystal Lake and surrounding communities.
Our program is all inclusive. We specialize in infant and toddler swimming (3 months to 3 years) as well as programs for all age groups, including adults and swim team. We are active members of the United States Swim School Association.
At Catch the Wave Swim Club we have structured our program to provide much more than swimming lessons. Our curriculum, teacher training, evaluation system, and parent communication are all designed to provide a total “Aquatic Education.” In addition to providing a high quality in water swimming program, Brandon also goes to schools and organizations to give free presentations on drowning prevention.
Our goal for all levels of our program is to teach water safety and instill a love for the water. Our primary technique to achieve water safety is to teach all students to comfortably “live in the water.” Remember, as a child, feeling safe and free in the water? Many people do not. Many students can “swim,” but do what we call “panic swimming.” When a student truly learns to “live in the water” the strokes come easily. We find that the more a child enjoys the lessons, the more successful the learning process is. Therefore, our first priority is to create a happy atmosphere. We view swimming as “A Gift for Life and Fitness!”
Our Company Vision
- Instill a love of swimming for everyone
- Positively impact as many lives as possible
- Educate the community of drowning prevention
- Develop and strengthen swimming techniques
- Help create a world without drowning
- Treat every customer like our first customer
- Strive to be a better person and teacher than the day before
Brandon shares my passion and my vision for drowning prevention. He hopes to grow the program in Crystal Lake and build a facility of his own to continue my legacy. We can’t thank our Catch the Wave Families enough for trusting us with their children and allowing us to teach them lifesaving skills. To date, we have served thousands of families.
If you would like to see or visit our facility or set up a FREE swim trial call us at 815-713-4481. We’d love to talk with you!