How to choose the best swim software: 10 features to look for

Olivier Rousseau
6 June 2024 Swim 2 min read

Simplify your swim club's registration process

Are you looking for an alternative to JackRabbit or IClassPro?

You’ve come to the right place. Read more about how Activity Messenger compares to both platforms in this article:  JackRabbit vs IClassPro vs Activity Messenger

JackRabbit vs IClassPro vs Activity Messenger (In-Depth Comparison)


Are you a smaller swim school or just getting started?

A simple gymnastics registration form might be the best way to get things started.
Learn more about how to create a swim lesson registration form or on How to improve your online registration.


Note about the Author: Throughout the article, Olivier shares tips and tricks he’s picked up over the last decade running a multi-location children’s activity program & as co-founder of Activity Messenger, helping hundreds of swim school owners in Canada and the United States create a more intuitive registration process and personalize communications.

1- Key Features for Swim Schools

Swim schools face unique challenges as they grow, such as:

  • Clients are struggling to find the right class using outdated registration platforms, especially on mobile devices.
  • The need to manage (and pay for) multiple tools required to run the business (like Mailchimp, SurveyMonkey, EventBrite, Jotform, etc.).
  • The complexity of automating business workflows (like party booking, end-of-session reminders, staff onboarding, etc.).

How modern registration software address these issues by:

1- Intuitive Registration Process

One of the major pain points for swim schools is the complexity of the registration process. With Activity Messenger, the online registration forms are as flexible as you need them to be (including age, groups, levels etc). Parents can easily enroll their children without contacting you directly, freeing up your time to focus on coaching and staff management.

swim registration process

Book a demo to learn more about our intuitive online swim school registration process.

📌 Pro Tip:  Use the questions your admin team asks during phone registration to create the conditional rules in your online forms to better guide your customers.

2- Personalized communications to your swimmers

Emails that address recipients by name and reflect their recent experiences at your swim club can greatly increase engagement.

Activity Messenger’s mailmerge feature allows you to include details such as the swimmer’s name, class name, start date, and upcoming events to make each communication feel personal.

With over 80 Mailmerge fields, including current level, next level, and instructor comments, you can send the same email to hundreds of students and the system will personalize it for each one.

You can even use our Canva integration to customize your outreach to match your brand.

📌 Pro Tip: Set up automated email reminders at the same time you enter your session details to ensure they’re sent out at the most effective times.

3- Memberships and Affiliations

Easily create and customize different types of memberships for different classes and needs, all through an easy-to-use interface. This simplifies the enrollment process for programs and memberships, improves the user experience, and reduces churn.

Swim Class or program-specific affiliations

You can require specific affiliations based on the class selected to meet the specific requirements of your swim federation. For each of your learn-to-swim or competitive programs, you can easily create and customize the affiliation to meet specific needs and requirements.

Streamline class and membership registration

Offering a seamless process for registering for classes and purchasing memberships or affiliations in one go significantly improves the user journey. It simplifies the number of steps and platforms they have to interact with, reducing hassle and the likelihood of user abandonment.

📌 Pro Tip: Integrating federated affiliations into all of your programs and classes ensures that when someone completes a registration at your swim school, their membership information is all set and in order.

4- Digital liability waivers

With Activity Messenger, you can add waivers directly to the registration process and collect digital signatures via a link or QR code without the need for printed paper or manual follow-up.

Traditional approaches require managing stacks of printed documents, collecting signatures, and sending reminders, along with the frequent hassle of deciphering illegible handwriting or misplaced forms.

While standard online forms tools such as Cognito Forms, Smartwaivers and Jotform offer a degree of convenience, they don’t quite provide a comprehensive and integrated solution tailored to your swim school’s unique needs.


Digital waivers can be sent via text message, and you can even set up automated reminders for people who haven’t completed their waivers.

Here’s what Selina from Swim-to-Safety told us after switching to Activity Messenger:

“Being able to put every part of the client journey and automate it all has been incredible. All the information is set up at the start of the session and goes out when it needs to go out. I don’t need to think about it anymore. I got comments that it was easier this year, that it was better, it was less complicated, less confusing. There was less scrolling around. People don’t miss things anymore because everything is mobile responsive and easy to navigate.”

Read more: How Swim-to-Safety cut 50% of their admin work using Activity Messenger.


Book a demo to learn how to create digital waivers for your swim school.

5- Flexible payment options (payment plans)

Offering payment plans

We understand that not all families can pay for an entire term of swim lessons up front. With Activity Messenger, you can offer flexible payment plans that allow parents to pay in installments, which can increase accessibility and enrollment.

Payment Flexibility

With Activity Messenger, you have the freedom to create payment plans that work for your business-choose monthly or weekly intervals, and choose percentage-based or flat-rate billing. Adjust initial down payments and more to create a payment strategy that’s unique to you.

Effortless Payment Processing

Invoices and payments are automatically generated and processed, ensuring timely collections and seamless notifications to your customers. This efficiency not only saves you valuable time, but also significantly reduces the risk of errors.

Prorated Tuition

For students who enroll mid-session, prorated tuition ensures that they’re only charged for the classes they attend. To calculate the prorated amount, simply divide the total session cost by the number of classes to determine the cost per class, then multiply by the number of classes the latecomer will attend.

Comprehensive Financial Insights

Automated payment plans offer the advantage of simplified monitoring and reporting. This information is critical for gaining deeper insight into your business performance and making more data-driven decisions.

6- Financial reporting

Understanding your financial pulse is critical for swim schools. It’s about keeping track of revenues and expenses, paving the way for smart budgeting and securing the school’s financial future.

Unified Financial Dashboard: Activity Messenger brings together all of your financial details-from tuition to merchandise sales, special events, and donations in one central location. Say goodbye to spreadsheet chaos and hello to streamlined, accurate financial management.

Revenue Insights: Dive into the details of where your money is coming from with our analytical tools. From registration fees to advertising revenue, you’ll have the insight you need to drive your swim school’s financial growth.

Customized Reporting: Customize reports to focus on the numbers that matter most to your operation, whether it’s the profitability of specific classes, monthly event revenue, or a breakdown of your expenses.

Simplified Compliance: Customize reports to focus on the numbers that matter most to your operation, whether it is the profitability of specific classes, monthly event revenue, or a breakdown of your expenses.

7- Skill Tracking & Certificates

As swimmers progress, it is important to keep track of their achievements. With Activity Messenger, you can log skills and milestones, and automatically update parents and students on their progress and when they’re ready for the next challenge.

A data-driven strategy not only helps improve athletes’ performance levels, but also boosts their morale by clearly demonstrating their developmental milestones. In the competitive world of gymnastics, such precision in training can give a club an edge.

Streamlined Skill Management

Activity Messenger’s skill tracking tool does away with the old-school method of spreadsheets and paper records. It provides a straightforward system for coaches and staff to log and manage skill progression.

The interface is designed for ease of use and allows skills to be organized by various categories, such as level or age, to perfectly match the needs of your swim school’s progression charts.

Instant Updates and Alerts

Activity Messenger makes skill tracking a breeze and eliminates outdated tracking methods. The platform’s intuitive design allows coaches and administrators to update skill performance in real time.

It also provides instant notifications to keep everyone informed of a swimmer’s improvements and areas of focus.

Personalized Achievement Certificates

Upon achieving new milestones, athletes can be awarded customizable certificates, which can be created with a personal flair using our Canva integration to reflect your swim school’s brand.

How to create bulk certificates for your swim school

These certificates can be conveniently distributed, either printed for physical award ceremonies or sent electronically through email or SMS, accommodating everyone’s preference

8- End of Session Survey:

Why Swim Schools Should Embrace End-of-Season Surveys

In the dynamic environment of running a swim school, conducting end-of-season surveys can fall through the cracks. However, these surveys are a treasure trove of information that can improve the experience for your swimmers and staff alike. Let’s explore their importance and best practices for conducting them.

Gauge Your Swim School’s Performance

The cornerstone of any thriving business is understanding your clientele. A thoughtfully crafted survey can shed light on what aspects your customers appreciate and identify areas for enhancement. Are your instructors hitting the mark? Do your lesson plans align with swimmers expectations? This feedback is gold when it comes to strategic planning.

Effortless Survey Creation

Say goodbye to complicated processes; Activity Messenger streamlines them for you. Use our pre-designed templates or transform an existing survey and give it a custom look with our Canva integration. Distribute the survey link and start collecting valuable feedback in no time.

Implement Constructive Feedback

We make it easy to decipher the data so you can focus on making improvements. These insights aren’t just numbers; they’re a guide to exceeding customer expectations. Set up automatic post-season surveys and let Activity Messenger handle the logistics.

Turn Customers into Advocates

Satisfied customers are your swim school’s best promoters. Encourage your most satisfied customers to leave testimonials with automated emails, building your social credibility and expanding your reach.

Optimal Timing for Responses

Timing is key to getting the most out of your surveys. Automated timing ensures that you send surveys when the experience is still fresh in your customers’ minds, increasing the chances of receiving detailed and constructive feedback.

9- Marketing tools for swim schools

1. Email Marketing (Beyond Mailchimp): Say goodbye to the frustration of email marketing platforms that don’t quite capture the essence of your swim school. We know that your newsletters should be immersive experiences that resonate with your school’s unique ethos and brand.
Swim School newsletter

2. Party Marketing Automation:

If your swim school is also the place to be for splash-tastic kids birthday parties, you can’t overlook the power of timely marketing. Set up an automated birthday marketing email that is sent a few weeks before your registered swimmers’ birthdays. Sending it at the optimal time is a surefire way to boost your revenue and remind parents of your offering just at the right time.

3. Drip Marketing Strategies: Maintaining strong relationships with your swim school families is essential, and drip marketing is your ally. With Activity Messenger, you can create automated drip campaigns that nurture prospects and turn them into loyal customers. From a series of welcome emails to a series of compelling promotions, our tool keeps your community engaged and eager to dive in.

4. Free Trial Management: Attracting new swimmers and their families and delivering a great trial experience is key. With Activity Messenger’s free trial management, you can streamline this journey. Create a welcoming onboarding sequence that showcases the benefits of your swim school and takes into account their current level, increasing the chances that they’ll appreciate the value your school offers.

Activity Messenger isn’t just an alternative to Mailchimp; it’s a comprehensive toolkit tailored for swim school operators. Our platform is designed to make your marketing efforts easier, handling everything from email campaigns and event promotions to lead nurturing and new member onboarding with ease

10. Task Automation for swim schools

Too much of your day is devoted to managing the ever-increasing number of administrative tasks – especially if you’re still doing them manually.

I’ve been there, juggling operational tasks while trying to focus on our participants.

Now imagine getting 15 to 20 hours a month back. How? By automating the majority of your administrative tasks.

Let’s break down the top 3 tasks that most swim clubs could easily automate.

Session start reminders:

Send an automated email 5 to 7 days before the session starts with the following: location, time, date and list of things to bring. You can create a single template for all your classes, and Activity Messenger will automatically send it at the right time with the right information for every family enrolled in your club thanks to built-in mailing.

Start of Session Email Template for Swim

End-of-session reminders:

The session is about to end. You know your inbox is about to become an FAQ center for next session’s registrations. An automated e-mail 7 days before the end of the session saves you time and helps you communicate what’s next to your swimmers.

How to automate your end of lesson reminder

Configure the purchase confirmation email:

Most registration platforms send a generic confirmation email when a customer registers. But with Activity Messenger you can customize it to your needs to reduce the number of support emails linked to online registration.

Learn more: What a registration confirmation email should include

Waitlist Automation for Swim Lessons

Ensure that no swim lessons go unfilled by efficiently managing and automating your swim school’s waitlist.

Activity Messenger streamlines this process, sending automated, personalized Email/SMS alerts when a class slot becomes available. These notifications are tailored with the swimmer’s name, class specifics, and a direct registration link.

Note: Automating tasks doesn’t mean taking away the personal touch. On the contrary, it gives you more time to connect with your community of swimmers.

How Activity Messenger compares to other swim management softwares

A New Approach to Online Registrations for Swim Schools

Activity Messenger is not just another online registration software for swim schools. While it offers all of the same features as other online registration software like JackRabbit, IclassPro or TeamUnify, it also fully integrates all of your favourite tools, like CanvaChatGPTZoom and Stripe.

And because we’ve been there, we know you’re tired of supplementing your software with other tools like SurveyMonkeyMailChimp, JotForm, EventBrite and SmartWaiver.

So we built tools to replace them and provide a complete solution for all your needs.

To see how Activity Messenger compares to other Swim School Management platforms, read an in-depth comparison article on the 7 best swim school software on the market. 

If you are ready to switch to Activity Messenger, our onboarding team (all sports & leisure past operators) will help with the migration.

Book a demo with us today!


What is Swim Software?

A Swim Software is an online tool designed to streamline scheduling, communication, staff management, and online registration for Swim Schools. It consolidates all administrative tasks into one efficient platform to help you spend more time doing what you love.

Why use Swim School Management Software?

An online class management software is critical to effectively managing your swim school. It simplifies data collection, payment processing and communications that can be extremely time-consuming when done manually. By using a Swim School software like Activity Messenger, you can spend more time on strategic management and improving your swim school’s programs.

How does Swim School Management Software enhance communication?

It facilitates communication between staff, swimmers and families. Features like bulk SMS, newsletters, and automated messages tailored to each athlete’s profile assures that the right information is sent at the right time.

How does Swim School Management Software streamline online registration?

It simplifies the registration process by processing payments and collecting participant information. This makes it easier for swimmers and their parents to find and sign up for the right classes, improving the overall experience.

Written by Olivier Rousseau Olivier is a kids sports programs owner who has been operating for over a decade with locations in Montreal, Quebec city & Ottawa. He also helps Gymnastics Club, Swim Schools and Dance Studios streamline their operations. He is the co-founder of Activity Messenger an online registration platform for the sports & leisure industry.

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