3 must-do’s to get the right Woodlands pool builder.


Nolan Hearn here.I felt strongly about this subject and wanted to write it myself. I am not a writer. Sorry in advance for grammatical errors and typos.

It can be stressful deciding which of the many companies you are going to trust with your large investment. With all the horror stories going around about pool builders and poor quality pools, I felt it may be helpful to give some tips on what to look for. This has really been weighing on both my self and Roy Burden. (owner of Pools by Design)

There are good, trustworthy pool builders in The Woodlands. How to find them…

1. Check History- In the booming area that is The Woodlands, Spring, and Conroe there will be some “Fly-by-Night” companies. They swoop in looking to make a quick buck. Giving no thought to keeping a good reputation,  they will be gone on to the next city in no time. Not to long ago this nice lady was complaining about bad service and an unfinished pool. I asked her how long has the company been around, are they local, and what did the reviews say about this company? And to no surprise I got back plenty of “Well I do not know”.  Sure enough it was a company that had changed names several times, going from bad reputation to bad reputation. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Look up/ask how long have they been in business (under that name), do they have a BBB rating or any other review sites, are they a local company. Roy always says “I live here, I can not afford to have unhappy customers. When I pass by a past client in the store I don’t want to have to duck and hide.” I call them “past clients” but they are more like friends that know they can call us anytime for questions or concerns. Pools by Design’s business plan includes customer service that extends long after the completion of the project.

2.Talk to past clients- Once you decide to invite a sales man over to your home you have put a certain amount of trust in them. However, their one and only goal is to get the job. Unfortunately, that sometimes means they will tell you everything you want to hear, regardless of truthfulness. You have to assume that you will like what they say. But how do you know if its just all talk and no walk? They should bring a customer list. If not, request one (and then wonder why you had to ask for one). It is very important to talk with past clients who have been through the whole process. Here are a few important questions to ask. It should only take a couple minutes, but you will have solid information on the company.

  • Overall Experience?
  • Are you happy with the final product?
  • Was the total amount paid equal to proposal/contract amount? If not,Why? (beware of bait and switch)
  • Would you use them again?

3. Do not pay down payment or large % to early. Where a lot of homeowners get in trouble is paying to much to early. If a company insist on a down payment it should be relatively TINY to amount of project. We at Pools by Design do not take a down payment and would not recommend it. Make sure the amount you paid in is in line with the timeline of project. In other words, do not have over 60% of contract amount paid and all to show for it is a hole in the ground. No wonder we hear all the stories about pool builders leaving unfinished pools. In this scenario they already made their money. We at Pools by Design have a draw payment system. In other words, the project is broken down to 5 stages. We finish a stage we get paid. The home owner never pays for something they do not already have.

Save your self a lot of trouble and follow these tips. Whether it is with Pools by Design or someone else make this an enjoyable experience.

Nolan Hearn


Winter Is Pool Planning Season


Great article. Brought to you by your Woodlands Pool Builder-Pools by design

Written by Anne Reagan of http://porch.com/

Even though it is the dead of winter, this is the best time to plan for a pool installation. Who would have thought the winter months would be the best time to think about pools? Here are a few reasons you should start researching and contacting pool contractors today.

1. It’s Off- Season

Everyone wants a pool as soon as the summer heat rolls around, and that is when pool contractors get extremely busy. If you wait to plan for your pool until summer, you run the risk of scheduling issues. However, if you start planning and scheduling a pool installation now, you will get the first pick of dates you want your pool installed, and it will ensure that your pool will be ready to use before the first heat wave of summer.

2. Better Prices

Because the winter months are slower for pool professionals, you may be able to get a better price. Some professionals offer discounted rates for fall/winter months, so be sure to start planning at the latest in February to make sure you get discounted rates.

3. Easier to get permits

There are typically less construction projects in the winter, making permits easier to obtain. Even if there are delays in permit process, if you begin the process now you will have plenty of cushion time to make sure you will have your pool completed by the summer.

4. Landscaping

Most people like to have landscaping planned around a pool installation. If you complete a pool installation in winter or early spring, you can plan to do some spring landscaping around your newly finished pool. That way during the summer you can enjoy your pool and landscaped yard without having to do a landscaping project in the summer heat.

Great article. Brought to you by your local Pool Builder-Pools by design

Get Rid of Mustard Algae in a Pool

This blog is straight from http://www.swimuniversity.com/  brought to you by Pools by Design

How to Get Rid of Mustard Algae in a Pool

Mustard or yellow algae is a rare form of pool algae that is more common in warmer southern areas, but that doesn’t mean your pool won’t be infected. It’s important, that if you spot signs of mustard algae, to act quickly and get rid of it.

What is Mustard Algae?

Mustard algae is rare and often mistaken for sand, dirt, or a stain in your pool.It’s not slimy like regular green algae, but it likes to attach itself to pool walls and other items.

It’s also chlorine-resistant and very stubborn. It can even live outside of your swimming pool. That means pool equipment, toys, floats, and even bathing suits. If you have mustard algae, you’ll want to disinfect these items right away.

How To Kill Mustard Algae in 10 Steps

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to getting rid of the algae.

1. Machine Wash Your Suits

Wash all your bathing suits in the washing machine and dry in a dryer.This should kill the algae if it has infected these items.

2. Clean Your Toys and Floats

Disinfect all toys and floats with a chlorine based solution. Clorox cleaner(not bleach) should work just fine in this case. You don’t want to bleach your toys and floats.

3. Move Equipment to Shallow End

Place all maintenance equipment, including hoses and poles, in your pool (the shallow end, if you have one). When you treat the pool with shock, this will sanitize all your equipment. You can also throw anything you think might be infected with mustard algae in the pool.

4. Vacuum The Algae OUT

Fill up your pool with fresh water to the very top. Hook up your manual vacuum cleaner (do not use an automatic vacuum for this) and turn your filter to waste, not backwash.

Mustard algae can live in your filter, so you don’t want to vacuum the algae through your system. Since you are vacuuming the water directly out of your pool, you are going to lose some water. That’s why recommend filling your pool up to the top, before you vacuum, to compensate for water loss.

Vacuum Pool Manually

How to Vacuum a Pool Manually

If you don’t own an automatic cleaner, or having water issues, you need to learn how to vacuum a pool manually with this easy-to-follow VIDEO tutorial.

Click here to learn more »

5. Get Your Water Tested

Make sure your pool water is properly balanced using test strips. Your pH levels should be between 7.4 and 7.6 and your alkalinity should be between 120 and 150 ppm (parts per million). This will allow the shock treatment to be more effective.

How to Get Rid of Mustard Algae in a Pool

Got mustard algae? Here’s a very simple tutorial that will walk you through how to remove stubborn mustard algae from your swimming pool.

Click here to learn more »

6. Brush Your Pool

Brush the algae off your pool walls and floor using a pool brush. Also, brush the entire pool. You want to break up the algae and get it in suspension so that the chlorine from the shock can attack and destroy it.

7. Triple Shock Your Pool

Just like a regular algae-killing treatment, you want to shock the heck out of it! Three pounds per 10,000 gallons of water. Make sure you shock at dusk or nighttime, and leave your filter and pump running 24 hours a day until the algae is gone.

Shocking a Swimming Pool

How to Shock a Swimming Pool

Want to learn how to shock a pool? Watch this video and follow along with these easy steps to successfully shock your swimming pool.

Click here to learn more »

8. Keep Brushing

Keep brushing your pool for the next couple of days. It’s a good idea to keep your pool properly sanitized during this time.

Keep checking your pH and alkalinity levels to make sure they stay in range. You want to keep that algae from attaching itself to anything, like the walls and floor of your pool. If the algae is in suspension, you will have an easier time killing it.

9. Make Sure It’s Safe

After a couple of days, if the algae seems to be gone, it’s safe to take any toys, floats, equipment, and bathing suits out of the pool.

I would suggest shocking your pool one more time for good measure. It doesn’t have to be a triple shock, you can just use one pound of shock per 10,000 gallons. Just make sure your filter is still running and you shock at night or dusk.

10. Check and Repeat

After you’ve done your final shock treatment, it’s time to test your water and repeat if needed.

If the water chemistry is good and the water looks clear, then you should be fine for now. If, however, the pool water isn’t chemically correct, be sure to get it back where it needs to be.

How To Prevent Yellow or Mustard Algae from Growing

Keeping your pool properly balanced and sanitized is the key to keeping all forms of algae from growing. Make sure you:

  • Keep your pH, alkalinity and sanitizer levels in the correct range at all times.
  • Run your pump and filter for 8 to 12 hours a day all season long.
  • Keep your pool clean by regularly vacuuming and brushing.
  • Shock your pool every week. One pound per 10,000 gallons.
  • Keep your additional pool equipment clean including pool toys, floats, ladders, steps, diving boards, slides, solar blankets and covers.

Happy Swimming!

This blog is straight from http://www.swimuniversity.com/  brought to you by Pools by Design

The Supreme Sales Advantage of a Family Business Is the Family Story

should i build a poolBy Daphne Mallory

Selling your products or services is the lifeblood of any business. The biggest mistake I made in the startup phase of my family business was not making the investment to get trained to sell. I hid in my home office following an online marketing plan. After failing hard, I got the message. I love selling now. I like making money. Sales is my opportunity to share solutions that will make a difference in peoples’ lives. When I solve problems, I get paid.

family business has an opportunity to employ sales strategies in a way that’s different from other entrepreneurs. The talents and skills of everyone working together as well as your family story can be your competitive advantage. Here how to sell together:

Paint a family portrait

Jane Grote Abell, chairwoman of Donato’s Pizza, started her story on an episode of Undercover Boss episode: “I think the main difference between Donato’s and other pizza companies is that we’re a family.”

She went on to tell the story of how her dad, at age 18 bought, a pizza place with $1,300.  She shared how her dad chose the name Donato’s because it means “to give a good thing.” Her grandfather wanted him to choose the name Grody. Abell explained that her dad went with his gut, and now the name Donato’s translates into how she operates all areas of the family business today.

That story has stayed with me. If I am ever in a city with Donato’s, I will buy pizza there and not from another chain.

Tell people how did you family business started. Describe for them a time when you worked alongside your family through difficult personal or business circumstances. The power of a well-told story will take you from obscurity to preeminence in your area. Prospects will remember you and forget your competition.

Sell like a politician

You routinely see the spouses of politicians at fundraisers, even though the “other half” is not running for office. Why? Many voters believe they can know and trust a candidate by getting to know their spouse. The same is true in family business, if you’re married. Your partner can make or break you.

I asked a successful family business owner about this. His business involves selling contracts internationally, so he makes trips overseas at least four months out of the year. He does not make a trip without his wife. He is convinced that she is the closer. Clients believe that he is honest because she comes across as sincere. Her official role in the family business is human resources, but she transforms into a salesperson when meeting with prospects.

Make sure that every family member who interacts with the public on behalf of your business knows how to sell through words and actions. Like any political family, you risk destroying your credibility because all eyes are watching.

Sell through service

It takes less effort and money to sell to an existing customer than it does to find new customers. Many entrepreneurs don’t land repeat business because they don’t deliver quality services. Someone drops the ball and the customer walks away with a negative experience. Your family business can stand out of from the crowd in this one area alone.

Work together as a well oiled machine and make it your mission to handle each customer as though they are a member of your family. Divide the work load among each member who is competent and willing to deliver services.

I recently experienced this at a family auto run dealership in Twin Falls, Idaho. The dad dealt with my paperwork, his son took me for a test and, when I returned, another family member parked the car. I watched him go on to clean and prep another car. The experience was endearing to me, a mom of four. It made an impact on my purchase decision. I did not go to a larger dealership located less than a mile because of it.

Doubling your sales can be simple but it does take hard work. Hone your family story, share it with everyone you come in contact with and deliver quality services together. There is strength in numbers. Don’t hide your family, leverage it in the sales process.

By Daphne Mallory

8 Ways to Embrace the Wonder of Fall

There is something about the change in the weather, the calm before the holiday chaos and the clear night skies that makes fall the perfect time to take stock of where you’ve been and what the coming months may bring. This season take pleasure in the small, simple things, like collecting acorns, pressing oak leaves and wrapping up in warm blankets to count the stars overhead. These suggestions will help you feather and enjoy your nest.
by Apartment 46 for the Home
1. Press leaves. Sitting under a big September moon in the crisp evening air, I found myself thinking about the past nine months and how thankful I was to be right there in that moment. Fall feels like a desperately needed time-out to me, and in those moments before Halloween hits my neighborhood, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the natural world and the little gifts it leaves, literally, on my doorstep.If you have kids, it’s a wonderful time of year to get them involved in decorating the house for the change of season. Have them gather up fallen leaves of different colors, shapes and sizes. Press the leaves between two sheets of paper for a few nights, and when they’re dried, attach them to card stock with double-sided tape. You can display them garland-style on a mirror or mantel by clipping them with clothespins to a length of twine, or you can get a little fancy and arrange them gallery-style in a well-used space.

Apartment 46 for the Home
2. Collect seedpods. One of the simplest and yet most gratifying things to do is to stop and marvel about what nature has to offer at this time of year. Fallen leaves start to blanket the landscape, empty nests provide a window into a bird’s world, and long, sinewy branches rattle in the breeze.Whether you live in a small studio in a big city or a rambling ranch home far away from prying eyes, small things of beauty are everywhere. Take time to collect a bowlful of unexpected seedpods or other fallen curios and display them in a place that invites others to pick them up, check them out and admire the treasures of the natural world.

3. Find your happy place. Wind down and calm your mind by savoring the last few rays of the day. Try soaking up that sunlight splashed across your favorite chair or stand outside on the balcony to take a few deep breaths. If you haven’t yet set aside a place where you can be still for a few minutes, now’s the time. Put a chair in the bedroom corner and keep it free of clutter so you can sink in and give yourself a break before jumping into the next set of chores. Put a bench on the back porch or throw a blanket on the grass and make a point of sitting on it as day turns to dusk. I often sit on my back steps to catch the evening breeze, because when space is limited, you’ve got to make the most of what you have.
4. Upgrade your bedding. During hot and humid times, a good night’s rest is often found under a single top sheet, but when the weather changes and the nighttime temperatures drop, adding to your bedding can significantly improve the quality and maybe even the amount of your sleep.Summer is a time for coverlets; fall calls for adding a more substantial blanket. It’s not yet time to break out the heavy comforter, but blankets are perfect for layering when the nights get a little colder. Choose a material that feels good against your skin and envelops you in comfort. If you’re soothed by scents, spritz your blankets with organic rose, geranium or lavender water (as opposed to oils, which stain fabric), before you put them in the dryer, and they’ll come out with a subtle hint of your favorite relaxing floral.

5. Turn a few pages. In every room of my house there are books, magazines and catalogs in various stages of being looked at or read, and all have at least one dog-eared page. No matter how voracious a reader you are, carving out time to read a few pages or interesting articles every couple of days can do a great deal to refocus your mind, put complex things into perspective and allow you to unplug from the world for a minute.
6. Take a long soak. One of the most basic human comforts is warmth, and a hot bath is the perfect way to make everything feel a little less overwhelming. I’ve long dreamed of having a soaking tub with a view of the night sky, but right now I have a shower-tub combo with a view of my neighbor’s two-story. If you’re in a similar situation, dim the lights or turn them off altogether in favor of candlelight to create a more Zen-like atmosphere. Put a small stool within reach so you can bring in a cup of tea or glass of wine. Add a few drops of essential oil to your soak and let go of everything on your mind, or just spend uninterrupted time thinking about what’s most important to you.
7. Create a special table setting. You don’t need to be a party planner to host a memorable evening. You probably have everything you need in your cupboards and drawers to set a warm and welcoming table.Mismatched plates with a hodgepodge of flatwaredon’t matter nearly as much as the people surrounding the table and adding their lives and laughter to the mix. Drape a table with an uncommon cover — think vintage Mexican serapes or Turkish towels. Candleholders are easy to come by, and tea lights are sold by the extra-huge bag at most discount stores. In a pinch use small juice glasses for votives and vary the height and selection for a more relaxed feeling.
Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

8. Start a fire. Fire pits come in all shapes and sizes, from built-ins to small, movable models and even non-wood designs, so there’s really something for everyone, assuming you have a safe space to have one. Keep them well away from anything flammable, and monitor them at all times. Movable fire pits can be surrounded by lounge chairs to set a campout sort of mood. Be sure to think about your neighbors and consider a smokeless variety when air quality is a concern.Roast a few marshmallows and pop them in mugs of pumpkin-spiced cocoa to underscore that fall feeling. A big basket full of throw blankets lets you stay cozy while the fire winds down. Write down some wishes on slips of paper and toss them into the embers. Let the ashes keep your hopes secure while you ponder the months to come.

Brought to you by your lake conroe pool builder, Pools By Design

Tips for fall pool maintenance!


Found on Swimmingpool.com

Submitted by Janel Evans on 

Even though Fall is just around the corner, not everyone is rushing to pull out their sweaters and boots just yet! In many parts of the world, swimming pools are still being used – even as the leaves begin to change color. There are still many warm days left, and if you have a pool heater, you may be able to use your pool year round. However, the way you care for your pool may change with the change of the seasons from summer to fall. Here are a few tips for you to remember:Father and Son Cleaning Pool

  • Because your pool needed more chemicals during the summer due to evaporation, use and swimmer load, you will be able to use less as the temperature lowers. You should only have to check your pool chemistryonce a week during the fall season.
  • When the season changes to fall, the leaves begin to fall also, and more than likely into your pool. Be sure to skim your pool regularly to remove leaves and other debris. Sometimes leaves can stain if they remain on the bottom of the pool for too long.
  • Remember that because of reduced use, you can also reduce the use of your pump and filter. In most areas, you should probably only have to run them 4-8 hours a day.

Once your pool is too cool for swimming, be sure that you have it closed properly. A homeowner can choose to do this, but is best done by a pool professional to protect your investment. That way, you can ensure that everything will be ready when the pool is ready to be opened again in the spring! If you have any questions regarding your pool operation or proper chemistry, contact your local pool professional. 

Found on Swimmingpool.com

Grand Parkway Info.

grand parkwayBy Jan Burns | September 14, 2014

Grand Parkway (Texas 99) will offer an alternative route around the metro Houston area.

“It will provide better access to our rapidly growing suburban communities and provide multiple benefits. These include reduced congestion, enhanced safety, expanded economic opportunity, improved air quality and increased value of transportation assets,” said David Gornet, PE, executive director, Grand Parkway Association.

Gornet said all new elements of Grand Parkway will be toll roads. These toll roads will be all-electronic toll collection that requires drivers to have a toll tag.

The Harris County EZTag, TxDOT TxTAG or the Dallas NTTA TollTag are interoperable in that drivers can use on any toll road in Texas, and they will work as if the drivers are locals, paying the same toll locals pay.

TxDOT is building segments F1, F2 and G with its design-build partners, Zachry Odebrecht Parkway Builders. It will be a toll road from U.S. 290 to Texas 249 to I-45 north to U.S. 59 north.

Go to www.grandparkway99.com for mobility texts or emails advising when and where traffic issues might arise during construction.

Segments H and I-1 recently were approved by Federal Highways, and the Transportation Commission has authorized TxDOT to advance those segments from U.S. 59 north to U.S. 90 to I-10 east as a potential design-build project.

Segment I-2, from I-10 east to FM 1405 near Baytown, was opened in 2008. At FM 1405, Grand Parkway connects to the former Spur 55 heading west over Cedar Bayou and connecting to Business Texas 146 on the south side of Baytown.

This two-lane road and its intersection at Texas 146 are a bottleneck for traffic using Grand Parkway going to or from the Port area, Cedar Bayou Industrial Park, and I-10 east.

This summer, TxDOT is anticipated to award a contract to add a second bridge over Cedar Bayou and realign the connection at Texas 146 to make Texas 99 (Grand Parkway) a four-lane route from Texas 146 at the Fred Hartmann Bridge east and then north to I-10 east.

On the other side of town, Segment C, U.S. 59 south to Texas 288, also is approved by the Federal Highway Administration.

Courtesy of lake conroe pool builder.

Howard Hughes purchases land north of Conroe

howard hughts

By Catherine Dominguez

The Howard Hughes Corporation, owner of The Woodlands Development Company, has purchased just over 1,300 acres north of Conroe with an additional 652 acres under contract to purchase by September with plans for another master-planned community.

According to information from the company’s most recent quarterly report, the company acquired the property in May for $67.3 million. Plans for the area include 1,834 acres of residential development and about 161 acres of commercial development on the combined sites. The statement said the development could yield over 4,600 residential lots.

The first lots are expected to be finished and sold in 2016.

According to Nancy Mikeska, assistant director of Community Development for the city of Conroe, while her department has not received any plans for the development and was not sure of the exact location, she said the city recently annexed just over 1,116 acres of undeveloped land off FM 830 in Municipal Utility District 128.

The annexed property extends west of Interstate 45 and north of FM 830.

Officials with The Woodlands Development Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Howard Hughes, did not comment on the purchase or its location.

The purchase of the land comes as the availability of undeveloped land in The Woodlands has diminished. According to a 2012 Courier article, at that time The Woodlands Development Company had only about 1,000 acres of undeveloped land for commercial build-out and only about 3,300 for residential lots.

TWDC is developing Hughes Landing, a 66-acre, mixed-use development on Lake Woodlands.

No other information about the project was available.

The Howard Hughes Corporation owns, manages and develops commercial, residential and mixed-use real estate throughout the United States. Its properties include master planned communities, commercial mixed-use, retail and office properties, development opportunities and other unique assets spanning 16 states from New York to Hawaii.


This info brought to you by your woodlands pool builder.

Tiger Woods Golf Course in Montgomery

Some of you all have probably already heard that extremely decorated golfer, Tiger Woods, is bringing a state of the art golf course to Montgomery, Texas. Below is an article written by Joe Passov of golf.com. Brought to you byPools-by Design. Building custom pools in the north houston area for over 15 years.

Tiger Woods’ tournament results are a work in progress, but his design career is red hot. Tiger Woods Design and Beacon Land Development broke ground this past week on Woods’ latest venture into golf course architecture, the private Bluejack National Golf Club in Montgomery, Tex., outside of Houston. Following the expected opening of Diamante’s El Cardonal course this December in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Woods will come right back with Bluejack, with a debut possibly as early as fall 2015.

Tiger Woods tours the Bluejack National property with (from left) Beacon Land De

Bluejack National
Tiger Woods tours the Bluejack National property with (from left) Beacon Land Development’s Casey Paulson and Michael Abbot.

Woods’ design will be a brand new layout atop a long-closed course called Blaketree National, which opened in 2001 and pretty much shut down in 2005. The original course was the private playground of eccentric oil tycoon Thomas W. Blake who enlisted Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to design the course, but wound up finishing it himself. Blake died in 2001, shortly before the course opened.

Among the new course’s highlights will be Tour-quality practice areas, a unique short-game course called “The Playgrounds” and a design that will feature just one height of grass, which will allow for contour and the ground game to play integral roles.

Most enticing is the property itself, which is unusual for the Houston area, with mature trees, natural water hazards and elevation changes that call to mind Augusta National. Given the success Woods has enjoyed at that course in his career, it won’t be surprising if he finds real inspiration in crafting his newest creation. The project has also lined up Mark O’Meara, who is featured in the local report aboce.

The centerpiece of a 755-acre plot, with 400 residences and many other amenities expected, Bluejack National has begun clearing and grading the practice facility, “The Playgrounds” and the front nine. For quantity, Woods isn’t in Donald Ross’ league just yet, but by today’s standards, his design practice is thriving.

Read more: http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/tiger-woods-bluejack-national#ixzz3ATO3FAfA

Swim strokes info

As your Woodlands pool builderI try to bring you all kinds of info.

The four competitive swimming strokes are freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. The combination of all four strokes is called individual medley.

In freestyle events, the competitor may swim any stroke. The stroke most commonly used is sometimes called the crawl, which is characterized by the alternate stroking of the arms over the surface of the water surface and an alternating (up-and-down) flutter kick.


Backstroke consists of an alternating motion of the arms with a flut­ter kick while on the back. On turns, swimmers may rotate to the stomach and perform a flip turn and some part of the swimmer must touch the wall. The swimmer must finish on the back.

The breaststroke requires simultaneous movements of the arms on the same horizontal plane. The hands are pressed out from in front of the breast in a heart shaped pattern and recovered under or on the surface of the water. The kick is a simultaneous somewhat circular motion similar to the action of a frog. On turns and at the finish, the swimmer must touch the wall with both hands simultaneously at, above or below the water surface.

Some consider the butterfly to be the most beautiful of the strokes. It features a simultaneous recovery of the arms over the water combined with an undulating dolphin kick. In the kick, the swimmer must keep both legs together and may not flutter, scissors or use the breaststroke kick. Both hands must touch the wall simultaneously on the turns and the finish.
The individual medley, commonly referred to as the I.M., features all four strokes. In the IM, the swimmer begins with the butterfly, then changes after one-fourth of the race to backstroke, then breaststroke and finally freestyle.

Article found on usaswimming.com