In 2002 our new program with more extensive descriptions is developed. It's a 10 level program where every level is based on step-by-step learning of certain skills from baby swimming and up to a swimmer ready to start competitive swimming. A mantra is ringing in my head during development: “It has to have meaning for the child”. This is the first time I address something that will occupy my interest for years to come: “It is easy for a child to become an object in the hands of adults. If not careful you can extinguish the child's own and natural desire to explore and learn.”

We have our first birthday, 1 year - that's a big one ;) A fun day with a lot of people in the pool all day and where staff makes it that extra fun. 
We host a work shop for water aerobic teachers where the energetic Marc Johnsson takes us through a tough program – some couldn't walk properly for a week after.

We also host an exclusive 50 attendees swim conference in the end of summer - “Swim 4 Fun”. Fun fires learning and development so therefore the name. A group of incredibly experienced and talented speakers come and share their stories and knowledge with us all. Attending the conference are people that had travelled from near and far to Farum to listen, learn, share and play.

Financially it was tough, we were struggling to stay afloat. We emptied our private accounts, we sold the car and took a loan. Johan looses his hair and eyebrow from stress. We cut back on everything we can. “I wish I could look into the future I wish I knew if we are making the right decisions for us and our family. Will it be worth it?” I said to Johan. But I can not look into the future. We'll have to dare to believe, focus and work. Meanwhile when in need of a car Johan rents one from “Rent a Wreck” (oh boy how I hated it, I have a weak spot there). We suffered but we had each other!

Thank you to all the children that we have had the absolute pleasure of teaching and also thank you for all that you have tought us through the years. Thank you Dave DuBois for the idea and for being a great ambassador and speaker. Thank you to Knut Rosén for sharing your interesting work that developed into “The Natural Swim Program”. Thank you to Judy Watts for inspiring lessons and peeks into her Swim School. Thank you to John Coutts and Richard Cahalan from Carlile Swim Schools, Henrik Radich, Janine Ramsey and Dave DuBois for inspiring talks on the Business side both from the corporate side and the in and outside of the Swim School business. You Rock! And I do know everyone there gained so much from all of you. For us, what you gave us pulled us through and into a more healthy business. I am ever so grateful for your generosity in giving your time and sharing your knowledge. A special thank you to Janine Ramsey this very empathetic and intelligent woman who touched us all deeply by sharing her own story and experience and the challenges you meet in life and school when having a child with ADHD. 
It's amazing to have friends who have the ability to sparkle your own abilities. Loads of love to you all! 
Thank you to Johans uncle, Thyge Faerch who helped out financially with a loan. That helped us keep our home and business. Thank you to friends who offered to help financially, even though we say "no thank you" that trust made us feel very honored and humble.

he pool project is proceeding quickly but we also learn that opening will be delayed. Patience is tough. Teacher training begins for our first staff in Farum. 
After a creative process to find a new name that works in both countries two words stand out: SWIM and MIX. When merged it becomes SWIMMIX that's our new name and we develop a new design profile.

The owner of a facility just outside Malmö is looking for a new partner. I call. We meet. A month later we have a contract – after some improvements our next new facility will open september 1st 2001. 
The 7th of May 2001 we open SWIMMIX in Farum - a big, happy and exciting day.

Johan comes home!! We are a happy and united family again. And he surprises me - during his lonely hours he has developed a database system for our clients. This system gets implemented and I save heaps of time – He is a clever man!

We also get the absolute privilege to be tought and inspired by Judy Watts and Dave DuBois at a workshop in Helsingborg and afterwards also an exclusive session for our staff. Subsequently we invited Dave annually for several years to do in-house training with us. We couldn't get enough of this man – he could educate and inspire in a very entertaining way.

Then the world as we viewed it changed on 9/11- I think we all remember what we did that day when news hit. A black day in history. 
Roosevelt once said:

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

A good quote to ponder when feelings of fear take over and limits choices and opportunities.

In October Johan joins me and we fly to Argentina to attend the biannual WABC conference. One of the Speakers from Denmark had to cancel so I am asked to speak. I accepted. Young and insecure I chose to talk about something I thought the audience would think would be very serious and important. Today I'm still nervous when speaking in public. But I know what I do know and also what I do not know therefor I have learnt to enjoy public speaking! You live and you learn!

What a year 2001 was!

Thank you to both teams in Denmark and Sweden – with you we did a great start. Thank you to everyone who came and made our big day in both Denmark and later Sweden really happy days.

Thank you Johan, your IT and computer skills have made work life easy, secure and efficient, thank you so so much because that gives us time to focus on the things that matter more in life.

Thank you Judy Watts for coming and sharing your experience with us. I've always enjoyed seeing, meeting and talking to you when our ways cross.

Thank you Dave DuBois you are one of a kind. Intelligent, attentive, skilled in so many ways, kind, entertaining, present in the present, fun and when “on” always professional. You've inspired me tremendously in my work and also in life. I always enjoy our talks and I am so happy and honored to have you as my friend.

Thank you to Gyllenforsen who believed in us and “gave” us our little oasis in Limhamn.

Thank you Knut for the trust and for suggesting me as a speaker in Argentina.

Thank you Dr. Patricia Cirigliano and team for a wonderful and learning conference in Buenos Aires. Thank you to everyone who was there – what a great time we had!

Business wise it's a year where there's a lot of focus on following the construction project. It's a very interesting and educating process. I know what I want that has a big impact. 
Basically it's:

  • Good clean air = Effective ventilation.
  • Tailored for families with small children = Space + Diaper stations with integrated bathtubs.
  • Amazing acoustics = The sound of like being in a livingroom. No tiring noise.
  • Clean water from morning to evening = Effective for nonstop action in the water.
  • And there is no need for a square shaped pool! This pool is for families, a place to explore and learn - a playground!

Businesses in Sweden and our location in Denmark is thriving even though we are experiencing challenges. I work hard but not smart and I am still practicing management by hope which is neither good for staff nor myself.

Privately two things takes a big toll on us. My mom is sick. We get to face the ugly and grim cancer. She fights bravely until the end but it's less than a year from she is diagnosed until she is gone. It's hard to wrap my mind around what this means. I call her cell phone after she's past away to listen to her voice on the message. It's surreal. A week later Johan flies out to Pakistan and then later to Afghanistan for a year. 
Johan is a SOF in the Danish army and his expertise within explosives and medicine is called for to a private demining operation in Afghanistan. My love and rock has to leave me and the kids alone for a year. Many ask if I am not worried to death and how I can live with the fear. You just do it. And to be true, him not coming home to us was not ever an option in my mind. In december me and the kids fly to Pakistan where our little family is united for a whole month. Being apart is tough, being together is nice. A month passes quickly. It's 2001 and we are half way through.

Thanks to dear, dear friends that helped out in ways that left us ever so grateful. Thank you Thomas Rathsack who also engaged his wonderful mother to be a helping hand. I never learnt to ask for help, for me that was a sign of weakness and failure. I wish I had known better back then. Thank you Peter and Usha and Usha you amazing woman, thank you for always knowing and understanding what to do and when. Thank you Charlotte, you vigorous woman. The best of friends - who you are and what you did for us always makes us feel so grateful.

Frustration can take you forward if you are able to let go. I let go. I will loose a good location, I consider my options. I contact the Municipality, we live in, Farum. An administrative district that is visionary, focuses and invests in the good life, development and health of their citizens. Johan joins me on a meeting with the Mayor and the Municipal director where I present my thoughts. Their reply makes me gasp for air “- How about if we build and you lease it?” YES!!! I could have hugged and kissed them. But I bared my self and behaved (almost) like a savvy business woman. Even if I think my expression gave me away. Outside I let myself explode in joy! Happy to share it with Johan. 
We had some hard work to do before we had an agreement and a contract in hand. 
Due to regulations they had to announce and invite other possible interested parties and they have to choose the best option. Competition is on. I love to compete! We land the contract and we celebrate. It's almost too good to be true! – We are on our way towards running our own facility! After the first meeting with the architects I get the first draft. Wow! It's hard to understand that this is really happening!

1999 is also the year where the WABC conference is in Toulouse, France. Again an interesting conference with plenty of learning. There's a lot going on in my life so it's difficult for me to absorb everything but it's nice to be arround friends from near and far. For you who were there, do you remember the food! Five course lunch à la française – Fantastique! This is where I meet Ludmilla Rosengren for the first time, a dedicated and hard working woman who's the president of the Swedish Babyswim federation. She asks me if I want to join and work for the federation. Honored I accept to run for the board. I continue my ride on life's rollercoaster.

Thank you to Farum's City Council, Mayor Peter Brixtofte and Director Leif Friman for the trust and the fabulous opportunity. I promised then that we'd work hard and reach our goals and I kept my promises and exceeded our goals by far. Thank you Architect Gert Andersson for listening and understanding our needs – you made it extraordinary. We love our “playground” and we take good care of it.

Thank you Daniel Zylberberg with team for the time and effort you put in to make it happen. Thank you to all of you who were there and made it very special. Thank you Ludmilla Rosengren for the invitation, opportunity and challenge to get onboard and work together to raise awareness, quality and education in baby swimming in Sweden. I appreciated it so much.

We are looking forward to what the new millenium has in hold for us.

1998 To spare some time on commuting I try to run the swim school office from home in Denmark. Technology should be ready to transfer calls between the two countries but in reality phone lines doesn't work as stable as I need it to be. Instead I hire help with registration at the office in Sweden.

Denmark has many heated pools for baby swimming and there is a strong tradition within families of visiting the community pools and swim. But private swim schools is very rare. It's communities, public schools and subsidized swimming clubs that mostly teach swimming. Therefore there is hardly any culture or custom for private operators to lease or rent in this field.

But this year I finally find a pool in Copenhagen. I sign a contract for evenings and sundays at a private rehabilitation center – Juhuu! My initial plan is to close down in Sweden and live and work in Denmark. But how would I be able to do that? I am not. With good, loyal and responsible staff in Sweden I keep our Swedish swim school and I continue commuting and teaching now in two countries.

We slowly but surely fill up our classes in Denmark and I am lucky to find two great teachers.

But the joy is short. At the end of the year the CEO at the rehabilitation center wants out of the contract. Why is hard to understand. Johan helps me to find a great Danish lawyer. He says that we can go to court, we would most surely win, but it would take at least two years. In the mean time the CEO can close the doors on us. Our lawyer recommends us to negotiate. If the CEO gives us 6-12 months more to find a new pool we will sign off the contract. I am devastated and frustrated. Life is not always fair. I know how much this has cost. I know how hard it was to find this pool. I don't want to disappoint our families who swim with us. I don't want to disappoint my staff. But I have no better solution. I agree to try to negotiate. We go for, and get, 12 months. Now I want my own facility!

Thank you to all the Danish swim families who dared to believe in and try something different. Thank you to my first Danish staff members, it was a joy to get to know and work with you. Thank you to both swim families and staff for the loyalty, support and understanding when we broke the news that we only had a year left and that I did not know what would happen after that other than “we were working on it”.

Thank you to our lawyer Anders who helped us in the best way and actually spared me for more head- and heartaches. He knew what I did not know about our legal system.