NSSA History (1988-1991)


The National Swim School Association, Inc. was founded Sept. 12, 1988 to provide a trade association for those who operate swimming school businesses in the United States.

Steve Graves, then a swim school owner in Florida, founded NSSA by arranging for incorporation, preparing membership solicitation materials, and a newsletter for mailing to a prospective members. He selected an initial board of directors. 

By years end 36 schools joined as Charter Members.


1989 In January, 1989 the first of what would become regular surveys of members was conducted on business and teaching practices.  In April the first  NSSA conference was held in Fullerton, Calif.  There was a tour of nearby schools one day and classroom presentations the next.

Those meeting in Fullerton wanted to meet again in September to discuss infant-toddler aquatic programs and draft guidelines for such.  The two-day event was held in Sonoma, Calif.

By December 1989 60 schools had become NSSA members.


1990 An outcome of the Sonoma event was the appointment of a task force to prepare a NSSA Certified Infant Toddler Swim Teacher Course.

The 2nd annual conference was held in February 1990 in Orlando.  The three-day event included domestic as well as international speakers.  At that time the NSSA board agreed to create an associate international membership.  Annual awards were given to outstanding members for the first time.

The membership decided in Orlando to have the annual conference during the fall of each year to allow enough time to implement the ideas and knowledge gained.  Another conference was held the same year in San Diego to initiate the new cycle.

The San Diego conference included speakers from the U.S., from other countries, and from the medical field.  A tour of schools was held at the start of the event.  An induction ceremony was held for six individuals brought into the newly created National Swim School Hall of Fame.


1991 Over 100 members participated in the 4th NSSA conference held in San Mateo, Calif. in the fall of 1991. 

Positions on the Board were expanded to include three at-large members, one of whom would be from an international member school.  By year's end 85 domestic schools held membership along with 8 international.


1992 & beyond