Coronavirus: Bullfrog Swim School waits to open during pandemic

CLOVIS, Calif,. (KFSN) -- A new swim school was set to open on Wednesday in Clovis, but the owner was forced to postpone the grand opening because of the global health crisis.

Bullfrog Swim School is standing by ready to take over a long-time Valley staple just as soon as government officials say it's safe again.

April 1 was supposed to be an exciting day for Darla Bartell, a day that would represent a new chapter in her life.

After recently purchasing the Jan Thomas Swim School, Bartell was looking forward to re-opening the two-pool facility as the Bullfrog Swim School.

Concerns over the spread of COVID-19 has thrown cold water on expectations and delayed the grand opening.

"Today was opening day; we were so excited. It's not like how it was going to go, but we are hopeful. We know it's going to get back because swim lessons are essential in the Valley for kids because every other home has a pool. We know we're going to be back, but it's just so anti-climatic because we were really excited to start," Bartell said.

For the past decade, Bullfrog primarily taught kids how to swim at homes, but will now have the facility in Clovis near Willow and Shepherd to call their own.

According to Bartell, about 1,000 kids had already signed up for lessons before the shelter in place order.

"We try to focus on what we can do and not on what we can't do, so we're here getting our system ready because we know the second that stay at home order is lifted parents are going to be calling," Bartell said.

Not only is the swim school a dream of Bartell's, but as a kid, she also learned how to swim from Jan Thomas. To this day, the two remain great friends.

"I've always looked up to Jan and always had her as a mentor," Bartell said. "It's huge shoes to fill, so just coming into her place is humbling, but she is always a wealth of wisdom and advice, and she and I talk all the time, so it's been exciting to get to know her even more."

Bartell says she will continue to carry out Thomas' mission while she plans to open year-round.

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