Facts about Little Otter Swim School
• Member of United States Swim School Association, World Aquatic Baby Congress, National Drowning Prevention Alliance and Swim Australia
• Matthews location is at 8200 Tower Point Drive, Charlotte
• Huntersville location will be off Reese Boulevard, exit 23
• Tuition costs $70 per month for one half-hour class per week, $135 a month for two half-hour classes per week
• Offers sibling discounts: $5 discounts for siblings of registered swimmers
• Annual family registration and administration fee costs $35
• Hiring and registration information for the Huntersville location will be announced this summer
• Visit www.littleotterswim.com or call 704-846-7946 for more details
HUNTERSVILLE – Little Otter Swim School hopes to soon impact Lake Norman area children in a big way.
The Charlotte-based children’s swim school will get its chance, after Little Otter Swim School owners John and Lory Kirk announced plans to open Little Otter North, a swim school for local kids, off Reese Boulevard.
Little Otter North will have two warm-water pools for kids to learn the basics of swimming from licensed instructors. The school will have a 4:1 student-to-instructor ratio.
The Kirks opened Little Otter Swim School in 2005 in Matthews to a receptive audience. Thousands of area children have learned how to swim at Little Otter, according to the school’s website.
“It’s important that children get some respect for the water at a young age,” John Kirk said. “The earlier you start to learn, the more comfortable you’ll be in the water.”
He added the need for swimming education in the lake area, plus a thriving population, made Huntersville the right place to build the second Little Otter school, which is scheduled to open this fall.
“It’s neat to be able to help out the North Mecklenburg area,” Kirk said. “We’re excited to be growing our business. Drowning is the second-largest cause of death among children, so learning how to swim is very important.”
Lory Kirk agreed.
“I love being a part of something related to early childhood,” she said. “It’s about nurturing the whole child. It’s neat for me to combine my love of athletics and my love of education.”
The Charlotte Business Journal reported the Kirks bought the land for the new school for $825,000 at the end of last year.
The Huntersville school will include several environmentally friendly technologies: variable speed water pumps which run only when needed, windows made to allow for ideal solar energy harvesting and roll-up doors to take advantage of varying temperatures.
John Kirk’s work with young swimmers earned the Charlotte native the U.S. Swim School Association’s Guiding Light award last year, given for his long-time contributions to the swimming industry.
“I never was that good of a competitive swimmer,” he said, “but being around the water and getting people to be able to enjoy it is great. It’s always nice to be honored by your peers.”
The real honor, he added, lies in the satisfaction he and his wife receive when new clients bring their children to classes and they learn how to swim.
“The first thing we want to do is teach and love the kids,” John Kirk said. “That’s why we’re here.”