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Blue Buoy: New Generation Keeps Swim School Afloat

Whether you’re looking for a summer swim camp for your toddler or you think you have the next Olympian swimmer on your hands, Blue Buoy Family Swim School wants to be your one-stop family swim shop.

The Tustin organization has trained nearly a dozen Olympians over the decades, though that’s never been the company’s focus.

Blue Buoy was founded in 1956 by Mel and Doris Maxwell with the goal of teaching young children how to swim and providing a safe foundation for future success.

That family and safety-first vision is continued by Johnny and Cindy Johnson, who joined the school’s ownership team in 1977 and became sole owners in 2007.

Three generations of Johnsons are currently involved in the swim school, which was honored in the Small Business category in last year’s Family-Owned Business Awards, held on Aug. 26.

“Our goal is not to produce Olympians, but we give our students that foundation that so many kids are missing in their early lessons,” Johnny Johnson told the Business Journal after the company won last year’s award.

Johnny and Cindy have been scaling back their day-to-day involvement in the company to focus on community initiatives; their youngest son, Eric, now runs a bulk of the operations at the swim school, and his wife, Jennifer, manages the office.

Johnny and Cindy are well known in Tustin for their philanthropic work, having both served on the board of directors of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. They also co-founded the Stop Drowning Now nonprofit organization in Tustin that provides educational tools to combat the epidemic of drowning. 

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