To label Kathryn Brothen as a high-energy people person is an understatement. She’s not one to be still for too long. And she exudes enthusiasm.
After few years working as a computer programmer and a business-to-business sales marketing professional, she knew she had to make a change that would bring her as much excitement as she often felt in her heart.
She wanted to be her own boss, and she wanted to work closely with people. She eventually discovered a franchise that allowed her to take a splash into business ownership — Swintastic + SwimLabs, a dual-branded swim school company the teaches children to swim and serves as an analytic training center for competitive swimmers and triathletes.
Brothen had been a competitive swimmer at a very early age and though she had other pursuits in high school, she always liked the sport.
“Can you picture me behind a computer all day?” she asked rhetorically. “I had to get out and work with people. I needed something new. I went from B-to-B to B-to-C [business-to-business to business-to-consumer].”
With two close friends, Brothen has launched her new business at 6940 Green Bay Road, in the Southport Plaza shopping center.
As construction is nearing completion, Swimtastic + SwinLabs is preparing for a 1 p.m. June 8 grand opening featuring five-time Olympic Gold medalist Missy Franklin, who will be signing autographs and and talking about her competitive swimming career.
Franklin, who began her Olympic career as a 17-year-old in the 2012 Summer Olympics, has won 27 medals in Olympic and World Championship competitions.
Brothen is Swimtastic’s owner and general manager. Whitney Stoner is assistant general manager, and longtime competitive swimmer Jenny Holtzen — who participated in the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials — is the aquatics director.
The right place
Brothen thought Kenosha was the right place for Swimtastic, a company with facilities across the country.
“I thought it was a needed item in the community,” she said.
The facility features a main pool that is 22 feet by 44 feet and slightly deeper than 4 feet. It will have safety rails along the sides.
Holtzen said the pool is heated to 90 degrees as a comforting feature for children. Swimtastic’ learn-to-swim programs are for ages 6 months to 12 years old. There will classes for adults as well.
There will be no competitive swimming at Swimtastic. Instead, Brothern said the focus is on helping children and adults overcome fear, learn the joy of water, build their confidence and learn safety skills.
SwimLabs, an adjoining feature, has two warm-water training tanks equipped with 360-degree video feedback cameras that allow swimmers to study their form.
“It’s designed so swimmers can view and make adjustments to their swimming techniques,” Holtzen said.
“Competitive swimmers, those from high school and college teams and others who are training can use them to improve their swimming technique and work on their speed.”
Future promotions may include team nights where swim teams can come in to work together with trainers.
The facility has showers, private dressing rooms and a dry bar equipped with hair dryers.
The future calls for classification as an Iron Man Triathlon training facility.
Swimtastic + SwimLabs is open for classes from Monday through Saturday, except Fridays. Monday hours are 3 to 7 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to noon.
The business office is open 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.