For over 100 years, the YMCA has been one of America’s favorite swim instructors and a leader in water safety. Our proven curriculum and friendly environment enhance skills, all while having fun. At the Y, swimming is a life skill. We offer a wide selection of parent & child, preschool, school age, teen, and adult swim lessons that build strong and confident swimmers. All age groups are taught the same skills but divided according to their developmental milestones.
Accompanied by a parent*, infants and toddlers learn to be comfortable in the water and develop swim readiness skills through fun and confidence-building experiences, while parents learn about water safety, drowning prevention, and the importance of supervision. Children will be placed in the appropriate stage by Y staff based on their ability.
Introduces infants and toddlers to the aquatic environment through exploration and encourages them to enjoy themselves while learning about the water. Water Discovery is for students who aren’t yet able to respond to verbal cues and jump on land.
With assistance, children will learn how to:
Students entering this level should be comfortable in the water, able to respond to verbal cues and jump on land. Parents work with their children to explore body positions, floating, blowing bubbles, and fundamental safety and aquatic skills. Water Explorations is for students who aren’t yet comfortable working with an instructor without a parent in the water.
With assistance, children will learn how to:
* At the Y, we know families take a variety of forms. As a result, we define parent broadly to include all adults with primary responsibility for raising children, including biological parents, adoptive parents, guardians, stepparents, grandparents or any other type of parenting relationship.
Recommended Skills for All to Have Around Water
Students learn personal water safety and achieve basic swimming competency by learning two benchmark skills:
• Swim, float, swim — sequencing front glide, roll, back float, roll, front glide, and exit
• Jump, push, turn, grab
Students develop comfort with underwater exploration and learn to safely exit in the event of falling into a body of water. Children entering this level should be comfortable working with an instructor without a parent in the water. Swim Stage 1 is for students who aren’t yet comfortable going underwater voluntarily.
In Water Acclimation, your child will:
Children entering this level should be able to go underwater voluntarily. Students focus on body position and control, directional change, and forward movement in the water while continuing to practice how to safely exit if they would fall into a body of water. Swim Stage 2 is for students who aren’t yet able to do a front and back float on their own
In Water Movement, your child will:
Children entering this level should be able to front and back float independently. Students learn to swim to safety from a longer distance. They are introduced to rhythmic breathing and integrated arm and leg action. Swim Stage 3 is for students who aren’t yet able to swim 10-15 yards on their front and back.
In Water Stamina, your child will:
Skills to Support a Healthy Lifestyle
Having mastered the fundamentals, students learn additional water safety skills and build stroke technique, developing skills that prevent chronic disease, increase social-emotional and cognitive well-being, and foster a lifetime of physical activity. Children will be placed in the appropriate stage by Y staff based on their ability.
Preschoolers entering Swim Stage 4 should be able to swim 10-15 yards on their front and back independently. Students develop stroke technique in front and back crawl and learn the breaststroke kick and butterfly kick. Treading is also introduced.
In Stroke Introduction, your child will:
Children entering Swim Stage 5 should be able to swim 15 yards of front and back crawl. Students work on stroke technique and learn all major competitive strokes. Emphasis on water safety continues through treading water and sidestroke.
In Stroke Development, your child will:
Children entering Swim Stage 6 should be able to swim 25 yards of front crawl, back crawl, and breaststroke. Students refine stroke technique on all major competitive strokes, learn about competitive swimming, and discover how to incorporate swimming into a healthy lifestyle.
In Stroke Mechanics, your child will:
Aquatic exercise is highly recommended for children with special needs. Most children can learn how to swim with a patient, caring swim instructor. This program is a one-to-one or small group lesson open to children with, but not limited to, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, MS, ADHD, and physical limitations.
Beginner or advanced, swimmers who love the water and want to build confidence are welcome to work with our certified swim instructors. Private (one-on-one instruction) and semi-private (two students and one instructor) lessons are 30 minutes. If you are interested in signing up for a private or semi-private lesson, please contact the Aquatics Director at your local YMCA.
The YMCA Competitive Swim Teams work on increasing cardiovascular fitness, stroke development, and training for competition under the direction of a swim coach. Swim teams are a great way to meet new people, learn and grow from a team environment, and master swim techniques. Learn More.