Big Blue Swim School was founded in 2009 by competitive swimmers Chris DeJong and John Lonergan to provide a measurable curriculum for students to learn an essential life skill in a comfortable and fun environment. Learn more about our big moments below.
big blue’s big moments
Chris and John meet and begin plans to teach swimming. The first lesson John ever taught was to current Big Blue board member Tim Flannery’s daughter.
Big Blue Swim School officially launched out of Our Lady of Perpetual Help swimming pool.
In April, the Wilmette, Illinois location opens. Parents fund a stand-alone facility – teaching 1,500 lessons a week within a year.
In January, the Buffalo Grove, Illinois location opens.
In February, Level 5 Investment. In October, the Hoffman Estates, Illinois location opens.
In March, the Chicago Flagship/Franchisee Training location opens.
our brand purpose + promise
We show kids they can do anything
by unlocking their full potential
in the water.
OUR BRAND VALUES
for Our Mission
be the change you want to see
be better today
than you were yesterday
be the sun
be a champion for others
Chairman of the Board
- Co-Founder and CEO of Level 4 Yoga; directly responsible for rollout of 30 current studios and expansion into Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, and Raleigh markets
- Managing Member of Group Chambers, a private family office with investments in fitness/wellness, manufacturing and real estate, with combined revenues in excess of $25 million
- Prior executive experience at Level 3 Communications
- Joined Big Blue as COO in January of 2020; became CEO in August of 2020
- Years of experience on executive teams of technology companies
Co-Founder, President and CMO
- Five-time U.S. National Champion swimmer and American record holder in 800 freestyle relay
- Competed for eight years as a member of the U.S. National Swim Team, with multiple All-American and All-Big Ten recognitions
- B.A. in English from the University of Michigan
- Over 18 years of experience in franchising, franchise development and executive management
- Oversaw domestic and international franchise development for Tutor Doctor, a worldwide tutoring franchise, and was Vice President of Franchise Development for Jan-Pro International and Maid Right Franchising
- Has been a franchisee, multi-unit franchisee, franchise supplier and area director, and is an IFA Certified Franchise Executive
- Competitive swimmer for 13 years, most prominently for the University of Evansville
- M.S. in Computer Engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, with 14 years of experience in IT and web application development for both private enterprises and the public education sector
- Original architect of Big Blue Swim School’s LessonBuddy™ platform
President of L5 Real Estate Services
- Led Level 4 Yoga’s expansion to 30 studios, overseeing operations for studio opens and growth
- Previously with Tartan Realty Group, Inc., expanding early-stage growth concepts
- A four-year monogram winner in hockey at the University of Notre Dame, with two years of post-college play
VP of Operations
- Former VP Operations of Premium Service Brands
- Former General Manager with 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
- Former Senior Manager of Franchise Performance with College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk & Moving
- Franchisee for both College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk & Moving and Handyman Connection
VP of Marketing
- Former Global Director at PepsiCo with brand management, consumer engagement, and innovation experience for iconic brands Gatorade and Quaker®
- Previously a marketing strategy consultant at The Cambridge Group focused on Fortune 500 clients in CPG and Retail industries
- B.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Northwestern University
VP of Franchise Development
- Bought his first franchise in early 2008
- Over the past 13 years, has had many cross functional roles including operations and development globally in 15 countries
Director of Finance and Accounting
- Over 10 years of experience in Finance, Planning, Analysis and Accounting for Department of Defense, AbbVie and technology startups
- B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from Davidson College and MBA in Corporate Finance from Wake Forest University
Director of Human Resources
- Over 15 years in Human Resources Management for Fortune 500 organizations in Customer Service, Technology and Media
- Previous HR leadership role with DISH Network, supporting service locations nationwide
- Received an undergraduate degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and completed a Master’s Degree in Human Resources from Loyola University
Franchise Development Manager
- BS in GIS from James Madison University
- 17 years experience in purchasing and installation scheduling
- IFA Fran-Guard certified