Chicago Blue Dolphins

Average rating: 8.7 out of 10 based on 952 ratings.

What our clients think of us!

The following comments were submitted by our customers when asked to provide feedback on our service. In the interest of transparency, we present these comments as provided except that personally identifiable information has been hidden unless the reviewer has requested their full name be included with the review. No unfavorable comments have been removed.

Report a concern   January 24, 2017 — Rated 9 out of 10 by T.B. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

Responsive, timely, good instructor

Report a concern   January 23, 2017 — Rated 10 out of 10 by M.B. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

I can swim! And do it well!

Report a concern   January 23, 2017 — Rated 10 out of 10 by B.W. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

Jason was great!

Report a concern   January 21, 2017 — Rated 10 out of 10 by J.R. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

My daughter has become a great swimmer and loves going to class each week!

Report a concern   January 21, 2017 — Rated 6 out of 10 by N.B. Chicago Blue Dolphins
How did we disappoint you and what can we do to make things right?

Our experience with Blue Dolphins has been good, the teacher is great, however we were previously at Galter Life Center so any criticism comes from the juxtaposition between the two. After we moved to a new neighborhood, we picked CBD based on the high yelp reviews, and the teachers do live up to the praise. I do wish the classes were more skill based, they seem to be more focused on being ok in the water- we can do that in the bathtub. The facilities leave a lot to be desired for a parent- no place to really shower (with soap) and change a toddler before taking them out in the Chicago winter. . The initial communication was amazing, but a big part was left out about needing to dial the CBD to be buzzed in, a quick line to dial *88 to be buzzed in would be helpful. Additionally while there was a person at the front desk he was more just there, our first lesson we provided the waiver because no one asked or seem to want it, I was then reached out to that the waiver was missing, this showed a disconnect to me. Now that we know what to expect we have adjusted our expectations and will continue with CBD as the teacher is great and our son does love the water.

Response from Swim Studio:

Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback. It helps us improve when we know what your experience is like. You made several points in your review that I wanted to make sure I responded to.

First you said: After we moved to a new neighborhood, we picked CBD based on the high yelp reviews, and the teachers do live up to the praise. I do wish the classes were more skill based, they seem to be more focused on being ok in the water- we can do that in the bathtub.

It's important for you to understand that we don't run a skills-based program. On the contrary, we run a child-centered program. We introduce skills when we perceive that the child is relaxed, ready, and receptive for the next step. Our goal is to have the kids happy and relaxed after each activity -- crying and coughing are right out. We find that skills-based programs push curriculum on the child, lead to more coughing, tension, and crying, and ultimately slow down the process of learning later on. From an emotional perspective, aggressive skills-based programs violate a little one's trust in the instructor and hamper her openness to learning. As my mentor, Rob McKay, puts it, we go "slower in the beginning and faster later on." The songs and toys are merely vehicles to introduce the swimming skills in the class. They introduce the skills however in a way that infants and toddlers can relate to and take away anxiety by distracting the kiddo from the pressure of learning the new skill by using laughter, fun, and joy.

Having said all of this, we certainly teach our littlest swimmers a ton of skills during our classes. Just so you understand what's going on behind the scenes, here are our main objectives of each class:
Infant-Toddler 1 -- Help the child become comfortable with the facility, coaches, classmates, and routine of the class so they are receptive to learning. Gradually work toward a facial immersion as the child demonstrates readiness and build to a 2 second glide. Work on cueing entries and exits off Mr. Duck to teach the safety skills of waiting for mom and dad and grabbing and climbing out of the water. The second, advanced level of the class builds to a 3+ second swim with a kick, adds facial immersions to the entries and exits off Mr. Duck, and adds an immersion to Ring Around the Rosie. This more advanced track adds more immersion to prepare the child for the heavier load in Infant-Toddler 2.
Infant-Toddler 2 -- We build on the foundation of Infant-Toddler 1 by lengthening our swims to 5-7 seconds with a kick and adding more facial immersions and swims. Our big goal is to teach the child to turn around in the water and execute what we call the "safety swim" -- seated entry, turn around, return to the wall (Mr. Duck), and climb out to safety.
Infant-Toddler 3 -- Again building on the foundations of Infant-Toddler 2, we start to incorporate arms and timing to swims on the front. We introduce back floating, back gliding, and back swimming in this class. We also introduce more advanced games like diving for rings or rockets to work on longer breath holding. This class works on many of the skills that are done in Preschool Beginner 1 but it's done with the parent as a spotter, guide, and co-participant in the class.
Our progression builds one skills on top of another. The emphasis on water comfort, relaxation, and joy that we build in the IT1 is absolutely critical for being able to progress to the more advanced skills in IT2 and IT3. Hopefully this description will convince you that we are providing your family with more than you can do on your own.

Second you said: The facilities leave a lot to be desired for a parent- no place to really shower (with soap) and change a toddler before taking them out in the Chicago winter.

The bathrooms are small, I'm not going to deny it. We wanted to have 3 showers and a larger changing area and the city told us we needed two bathroom stalls. As part of our 2017 projects, we are bringing in a design and organization consultant to help us get the most out of the space we have. Are the changing tables in the bathroom and option for you or is your son too big? As far as the soap goes, a child was hanging from the dispenser late in the week and pulled it off the wall. We've since replaced it. Sorry that you didn't have soap. That must have been a bummer.

Third you said: The initial communication was amazing, but a big part was left out about needing to dial the CBD to be buzzed in, a quick line to dial *88 to be buzzed in would be helpful. Additionally while there was a person at the front desk he was more just there, our first lesson we provided the waiver because no one asked or seem to want it, I was then reached out to that the waiver was missing, this showed a disconnect to me.

I'll talk to my office manager to get the coach or instructions added to the confirmation information we send at registration time. Sorry about the waiver confusion as well. We file and update the spreadsheet on a regular basis, but it looks like you sent it in before we updated our notification list. We'll work on that one as well.

Finally you said: Now that we know what to expect we have adjusted our expectations and will continue with CBD as the teacher is great and our son does love the water.

I'm sorry to hear that you downgraded your expectations. We have always emphasized consistent excellence in coaching in our programs. I assure you that we are committed to improving the look and usability of our space this year. I'm also working on improving pre-class and evaluation communications to eliminate the need to send such a wordy explanation of our programming.

Report a concern   January 21, 2017 — Rated 10 out of 10 by K.A. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

The staff, my son looks forward to seeing each member of the blue dolphins team

Report a concern   January 20, 2017 — Rated 9 out of 10 by L.S. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

We love our instructor Natalie and the front office staff.

Report a concern   January 16, 2017 — Rated 10 out of 10 by A.B. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

Friendly and knowledgeable staff and owner.

Report a concern   January 16, 2017 — Rated 8 out of 10 by M.H. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What could we do to improve?

Cleaniness in the shower area

Report a concern   January 14, 2017 — Rated 9 out of 10 by S.A. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

Small groups

Report a concern   January 14, 2017 — Rated 8 out of 10 by B.C. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What could we do to improve?

Improve the parking.

Report a concern   January 14, 2017 — Rated 10 out of 10 by S.N. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

Friendly fun and educational

Report a concern   January 13, 2017 — Rated 10 out of 10 by A.S. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

Private lessons and experienced staff

Report a concern   January 12, 2017 — Rated 8 out of 10 by C.M. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What could we do to improve?

Facility needs to be maintained a bit better

Report a concern   January 11, 2017 — Rated 8 out of 10 by L.P. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What could we do to improve?

move closer to my house lol

Report a concern   January 11, 2017 — Rated 10 out of 10 by C.O. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

The kids loved it and became much better swimmers after 4 days in the camp!

Report a concern   January 11, 2017 — Rated 10 out of 10 by S.W. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

Convenient facility location on Elston and consistent trainers who are very good with my kids. My kids are excited to go to swimming every week and that is mostly due to how much they like Coach Jamieson and Coach Natalie as instructors!

Report a concern   January 10, 2017 — Rated 10 out of 10 by J.S. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

everything

Report a concern   January 10, 2017 — Rated 10 out of 10 by A.D.G. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What do you like about our services?

Personalized attentiOn

Report a concern   January 9, 2017 — Rated 7 out of 10 by E.H. Chicago Blue Dolphins
What could we do to improve?

It was a little cramped with 4 children and 4 parents in the pool. I think it would be ideal to have 3 children with 3 parents per class due to the pool size.


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