Anyone who has experience with Salem Gymnastics knows what a fantastic experience it offers kids of all ages, no matter what they are interested in. Now, with a brand-new expanded space and the addition of the Salem Swim Center, there are even more exciting ways for kids to get active and involved!
“My parents, Frank Minter and Barbara Haas, started Salem Gymnastics Center in the fall of 1980 in the poultry building of the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds,” said co-owner Beth Morphis. “In January 1981, we moved into a newly constructed 8,000-square-foot building off South Stratford Road, which, at the time, was the largest gymnastics facility between DC and Atlanta. In 2001, we moved to our current location on Country Club Road. Through the years, we have added new programs, such as dance, martial arts and, now, swimming, always with the goal of growing healthy, active, confident children through movement. Salem Swim is geared toward learning to swim and is entirely non-competitive. Classes will begin later this summer—registration is now underway.”
Adding swimming to Salem Gymnastics has been in the works for some time. “I can’t remember the first time I dreamed of adding swim lessons to Salem—it seems like it was always the right fit, but that it would never actually be possible,” said Morphis. “I do remember distinctly the first time we pulled up into the parking lot to tour this building for a possible purchase. As I looked out across the green grassy field, I immediately dreamed of a warm indoor pool with giant windows overlooking the woods and pond, and thought, ‘Wow! What a great spot for swimming lessons.’ I don’t need to [explain] all the reasons why learning to swim is such a necessary skill. There have been several events over the past years that have brought the need too close to home, including the near-drowning of our sweet Page. The dream was there, and the need was real, and slowly, one by one, things began to fall into place and, now, here we are!”
But the addition of Salem Swim took time and a lot of planning! “Salem Swim is housed in a 5,800-square-foot addition to Salem Gymnastics Sports Center,” said Morphis. “It features two warm-water pools, both four feet deep, in a warm-air environment. State-of-the-art filtration and sanitation systems ensure safe, clear water for our students and staff. The smaller pool is designed specifically for our youngest students to swim with a parent and has long steps that extend the length of the pool. The larger pool can be subdivided to accommodate several classes at once and has an underwater bench. The use of noodles, kickboards, mirrors, portable platforms and more mean each of our students can have an experience tailored to his or her needs. There are large viewing windows from the lobby to the pools, as well as exterior windows that provide both natural light and scenic views of the woods and pond. There are on-deck showers, and our changing facilities are designed with families in mind, featuring family-style restrooms, more than a dozen changing stalls, hair dryers and a suit spinner.”
Not only has the addition changed all that Salem Gymnastics has to offer, Beth and her husband and co-owner Kenny Morphis decided it was time for the entire gym to get a branding makeover. “Our colors have changed from navy to a more aquatic blue,” said Morphis. “Our name has changed to Salem Gymnastics & Swim. We have a new street sign, a new website and the exterior of our building has been re-painted ‘Salem Swim Blue.’”
There are many ways to enjoy Salem Swim, even for the youngest of swimmers! “Learning to swim well is not a skill that you can learn in just a few quick lessons, but requires time to develop and practice,” said Morphis. “Salem Swim offers year-round, 30-minute lessons allowing you to make swimming a regular part of your child’s weekly activities. This is the best way to encourage and maintain the water safety and fitness benefits that swimming offers your child. Much like our parent/tot gym classes, parent/tot swim lessons feature songs, games and activities that help little ones learn basic swimming skills, while giving parents the tools to encourage family fun safely in the water. Parent/tot levels are ‘Red Fish’ (ages 6−18 months) and ‘Blue Fish’ (ages 18 months−3 years). For independent children, the Salem Swim curriculum is divided into six levels. Level 1 is for children who are not comfortable in the water, don’t like to go under or only swim in floaties. By the time students complete Level 6, they are ready for a swim team, having learned great techniques on all of the strokes.”
For more information, visit the new website at www.salemgym.com. Salem Gymnastics is located at 4870 Country Club Road in Winston-Salem. For more information, call 336.765.4668.