ABOUT SHARKS SWIM SHOP
Sharks Swim Shop
Leah Morgan and Louise Snelgrove are the sisters behind Sharks Swim Shop, Swansea’s first and only dedicated swim and triathlon shop which opened its doors in Sketty in July 2017. In addition to running the shop, the sisters also run three local clubs: Swansea Sharks Swim School, Swansea Sharks Development Club (for older children) and Swansea Tri-Sharks (for children and adults competing in triathlons). These three clubs include more than 700 pupils and they employ 52 local teachers.
The sisters opened Sharks Swim shop to support the needs of the pupils they were teaching and the demands of an increasing number of tri-athletes requiring specialist sportswear. They began with a small website and ebay shop with stock stored in their homes; they also took their stock to key events and competition meets. This service proved so popular, particularly as they also fit supply and wet suits, so athletes have access to properly fitted high performance wetsuits and fast skins for professional competitions. They are also able to offer wet suit repairs. Their reputation has developed within the sector and they have a growing base of clients who travel from all over the UK for their stock. In fact, the UK synchronised swimming champions have purchased their swim suits from Sharks Swim Shop.
A lack of storage for their stock was a huge barrier to growth so when the shop premises became available at Sketty Cross they took the plunge and signed up to a 5 year lease. This was a huge step for the sisters as the potential footfall was unknown and they also had to give up their jobs to manage the shop and the clubs. The success of the shop has more than exceeded their expectations. Other than online competitors who aren’t able to offer a fitting service, they have very little direct competition. As a result, their decision to invest in the shop has proved very positive, achieving a turnover of 34% more than their initial projections.
Sales have also been boosted by the increased number of people who travel to the Wales National Pool from all over the UK and then pop to the swim shop for new swimwear and other equipment. In 2017, the sisters invested in a new online shop, which will be selling over 10,000 products. In addition, they have been commissioned to design a range of swimwear for water polo teams.
All family members help in the shop, so Leah and Louise can continue to run the three successful swim clubs. The swim club was set up by Leah and Louise’s mother over 32 years ago and both girls started teaching at the school on a voluntary basis from the age of 14 and both went onto sporting success. Leah has won many gold medals representing Wales in swimming competitions and Louise, at the age of 17, won the British Surf life-saving iron man championships held in the Serpentine in London.
Whilst studying for a degree in chemistry in London, Leah continued to teach swimming on a voluntary basis at the Hurlingham Club and Chelsea Sports Centre teaching the children of many famous people and royalty, including Prince Harry. Louise in the meantime was working as a sports development officer at the City & County of Swansea. When Leah moved back to Swansea with her young family back in 1998 her mother had given up teaching at the club and the new owners had run it to the ground. So, Leah and Louise, whilst holding down full-time jobs, took over the club again with just three months to pay off the debts that had been notched up. Within this time, they increased membership from 40 children up to 150.
In 2012 alone, Sharks Swim Club had 23 children qualify for the Welsh National swimming championships and 22 of them made the finals. Leah was also the recipient of the national Halifax Just Giving award in recognition of her 27 years voluntary work as a swim teacher and running the Swansea club. Last year, they both competed in the Gower Triathlon raising more than £15,500 for Local Autistic. Today, 75% of their teachers are paid employees and the sisters encourage students to come on board as teachers too, putting them through their swimming teaching qualifications. Sharks Swim Club runs classes for children with disabilities and special needs, integrating them within the swim school. In fact, two children with autism have gone on to become teachers, something their parents thought they would never achieve.
Four years ago, Tri Sharks Club was launched to meet the growing demand for triathlon coaching, as this is the UK’s fastest growing sport. Leah and Louise are also able to offer nutritional and fitness advice to people training for a triathlon for the first time.
Come Visit Us
Sharks Swim Shop
We are open: Monday - Saturday 10AM - 5PM