Swimming Lessons

Our aquatic programs are about more than just techniques and skills; they are about building friendships, developing self-esteem and creating positive experiences that will last a lifetime.

Take a look at the levels and programs we offer below, and contact your local branch to learn about specific location offerings. See you in the pool!

YMCA Swim Lessons
A young mother holds her infant in a flotation device in a Y pool.

Splashers (3 - 18 months) 
This program is for parents/caregivers and their child to become comfortable in the water together. Learn basic swim and safety skills in a fun and safe environment. Instruction will cover skills such as comfort in the water, splashing with arms and legs, pool area orientation, songs and free time for questions and play.

Bubblers (18 months - 3 years) 
Children and their parents/caregivers learn how to hold the wall and kick their feet, do an assisted front/back float, and practice safe swimming. Songs, games, and free time are also included.

A YMCA lifeguard teaches a boy how to hold a flutter board in a Y facility pool.
YMCA Preschool Swim Program (3 - 5 years)

Bobber: This beginner level focuses on safety, entering and exiting the pool, progression for submersion and short swims, assisted floats and propulsion.

Floater: Children learn deep water awareness, pool rules, how to wear a personal floatation device, assisted jumps into the water, unassisted bobs, blowing bubbles, and retrieving objects.

Glider: This intermediate level introduces deep water activities and front and back swims to a distance of 5m.

Diver: Children continue to develop deep water skills, work on arm action and increase front and back swim distances to 10m.

Surfer: This advanced level explores diving, surface support, creative pool entries and extends swim distances to 15m to 25 m.

Jumper: Children further refine front and back crawl to distances of 25 to 50m, deep water activities and skills are explored.

A young boy with goggles smiles and holds onto the side wall of a YMCA pool.
YMCA Learn to Swim Program (6 - 12 years) 

Otter: This beginner level focuses on safety, entering and exiting the pool, progression for submersion and short distance swim of 5m, assisted floats and propulsion.

Seal: Introduces deep water jumping, breath control and surface support. Participants continue to develop floats, glides and distance swim of 10m.

Dolphin: Children spend more time in deep water. Endurance is increased to distances of 15m for front and back swim. Front crawl is introduced.

Swimmer: Participants progress to treading water for 60 seconds, front crawl for 25m distance, and are introduced to resuscitation.

A young girl in a multi-coloured swimming cap and goggles emerges from the water to take a breath while swimming.
YMCA Star Program (6 - 12 years) 

Star 1: Continuing from the Swimmer level, the participant will work on developing their front crawl to the intermediate standard and back crawl to initial standard. Endurance will be developed as the participant works toward completing a 75m swim.

Star 2: Participants continue to develop front and back crawl as well as elementary backstroke. Front and back crawl starts and headfirst sculling are learned. Breaststroke is introduced.

Star 3: Participants continue to develop front and back crawl, learn crawl starts, elementary backstroke, breaststroke, and both head and foot first sculling. Participants build endurance, perfect strokes and are required to complete a 300m endurance swim.

Star 4: Participants learn about drowning prevention, develop higher-level rescue skills and build further endurance.

Star 5: While working on increasing endurance, participants are introduced to sidestroke. The breaststroke start and turn, and front crawl turn are introduced. Surface dives and synchro skills are at the heart of this level. Endurance distance is now 500m.

Star 6: Advanced synchro skills and some water polo skills are learned. Some unique swim strokes are introduced like waltz crawl, inverted breaststroke and double-over-arm backstroke. Participants continue to develop their endurance with a 600m swim.

Star 7: This level is intended to review and improve stroke techniques, improve endurance to 700m and prepare the participant for a leadership or lifeguard role.

Swim-able: Inclusive Swim Program
This unique and carefully designed inclusive swim program is geared towards children and youth with behavioural or learning barriers. This small-group aquatic program will accommodate different learning styles while providing a fun and safe learning environment in the water. All participants will have the opportunity to play group games, learn about water safety and complete YMCA Swim levels at their own pace. Ages: 6 - 13 years. Group Size: Approximately 4 participants per class.

Registration Information:

  • Any swimmer with a serious medical condition should inform staff upon registration.
  • Each child member may only be registered for one lesson at a time.
  • Photos can only be taken if permission is obtained from the parent/guardian of each child in the picture. Photographic equipment of any kind is not permitted in any of our change rooms.
  • In the event of a fouling, the health unit requires pool closure.
  • Lessons cannot be made up after the fact. After missing 3 consecutive lessons without parent notification, the swimmer will be withdrawn from the program