Vision, Mission, and Guiding Principles

by: Thomas C.


“A Drowning-Free Knoxville”

Our vision at All Knox Swim is “A Drowning-Free Knoxville”. A lofty vision, but possible nonetheless.

I had a lot of experiences over the years that gave me the skills to teach people how to swim. I started swimming with my dad when I was a kid. I was so young, I don’t even remember learning how to swim! I helped coach a swim team with my dad as I got older. In high school, my parents got a pool, so I taught swim lessons in my own backyard for several summers. Through a lot of hard work, I ended up swimming at an NCAA DI Swimming Team. All these experiences taught me how to swim with proper form and how to teach people to swim.

All of those experiences didn’t quite get me to the Vision for All Knox Swim.

I was a public school teacher at Farragut High School when a student drowned in Fort Loudon Lake. It was a tragedy. According to the article, that was the 6th drowning in Tennessee that year. That was the only person at the time that I had ever known to have drowned. Though the student was not in one of my classes, it affected some students in my classes.

Then, I had my own child. As any parent can attest, having a child of your own changed the way I saw everything. It was a little after having my daughter that the opportunity to teach swim lessons full time came to fruition. As I began to research more about water safety to become a better swim instructor, I began to learn a lot of new information. I learned that drowning is the leading cause of death for young children ages 1 to 14 according to the CDC.

During this time, we bought a house with a small pond in the backyard. I filled it in immediately when we moved in. My daughter drowning in the small pond was not a risk I was willing to take, especially for a small water feature that was a lot of work to keep up with anyways.

On top of all this, my wife miscarried and I felt the hurt of losing a child. Though I did not get to meet our precious child, it still hurt. I never want anyone to have to suffer from losing a child, especially from drowning.

I’m sure you can see where this is going. All of my previous jobs, swim training, and life experiences led me to the vision of All Knox Swim: “A Drowning-Free Knoxville”. If this is a way I can make a difference in the world and prevent drownings, then I’m in! If people in each city in the United States became dedicated to making their city drowning-free, I think we can make every city drowning-free.


Change water safety culture in Jesus’ name”

As I continued to research, I realized that it doesn’t take much to prevent most drownings. So why do they keep happening? That is where the mission of All Knox Swim comes in.

Our mission is to “Change water safety culture in Jesus’ name”.

It’s simple. If everyone knows about proper water safety, then most, if not all deaths from drowning can be prevented.

After teaching lessons to hundreds of kids, I got to know the parents of the kids as well. A lot of times, parents never realized the dangers of water and the simple ways they could reduce their children’s risk of drowning. For example, having a pool that is enclosed by a fence that completely isolates the pool prevents access to the pool. You can’t drown in a pool if you can’t get to the pool. Simple, but gets the job done.

All we have to do is educate people about the risks of drowning and how to prevent drownings from happening. Naturally, a great way to be safe around water is learning to swim! Swim lessons get a lot of people in the door to educate them AND gets them on board with our vision and mission. Though swim lessons may be our primary business, that is just the tip of the iceberg!

We recognize just because someone is educated about how to prevent drownings does not mean they will do it. A cultural shift is needed, in a similar way to seat belts becoming almost universally worn. Some people still don’t wear seat belts, but there are certainly less motor vehicle deaths because of the cultural norm of wearing seat belts.

As a Christian who loves Jesus, I am motivated to love my neighbor as myself. Jesus died and rose again for me. The beautiful gospel story invigorates me with the energy and resolve to make our vision a reality. If Jesus really loves me that much, I want to love Him in return. I can show my love for Him and to Him by loving my neighbor. One way God has called me to do that is All Knox Swim. And if He has called me to do that, he will provide whatever is needed to make that happen. Without him, All Knox Swim will fail. That is why the end of our Mission is “in Jesus’ name”.


Super Safe

The world is not a safe place. Just being alive is risky business. Getting in a car accident, being exposed to infectious diseases, getting cancer, drowning, and so much more are all possible in a given day. There are simple things we can do to reduce our risk without preventing us from living life to the fullest. However, we can’t reduce our risk to zero.

So, we want to provide the safest place we can to give swim lessons. We also want to give everyone all the knowledge they need to be safe in and around water. Swimming and boating are so much fun and can be enjoyed safely. There is no reason we can’t enjoy the water while also reducing our risk of unnecessary injury and death.

Some of the questions we ask ourselves at All Knox Swim are “Is this promoting water safety?”, “Is this safe for the student to practice?”, and “Am I doing something that is exposing me and my students to unnecessary risk?”.

Pleasantly Personal

We have all been given feedback by someone that didn’t know us or didn’t care about us. What do we do with that feedback? Probably not much. Why? We listen to people that know us and care about us.

We want to grow personal relationships with the families we serve so that we can have a greater positive influence in their lives. As we get to know them, they will be more open to hearing our feedback. They will also be more likely to implement water safety strategies and encourage others to do the same.

Besides, who likes being a number in a system anyways?

Some of the questions we ask ourselves at All Knox Swim are “Do I know this student’s name?”, “What are some water exposures this family most often faces?”, and “Do I know them well enough to give good and relevant information about water safety?”.

Gutsy Generosity

The only way for us to fulfill our vision and mission is to give, and in a costly way. It will cost us time, money, and effort. But it will be worth it.

People that do not have the financial resources for swim lessons still need to learn water safety to keep their families safe. We have to get them the information they need, even if they can’t afford lessons.

We also know that being generous in all aspects of our business will allow us to reach more people. We all respond well to people when we know they are sacrificing for us, even if it is something small. If we are generous to people, we will see the same people be generous with us and with others. That will create a generosity that grows and grows to help us fulfill our vision.

Some of the questions we ask ourselves at All Knox Swim are “Is there something more to give to the people we serve to help them learn about water safety?”, “Are we stewarding our finances well and giving enough to achieve our vision?”, and “Are we giving our families the most value we can give them?”.


I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read this article about our business. If you have ideas or would like to join us in our vision, let me know! You can call 865-309-4944 or email us at

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