Swimming goes far beyond the fun of the splash zone or the excitement of learning to dive. At the YMCA, we believe that knowing how to swim and being water safe is a crucial life skill that everyone should have. So our swim lessons introduce youth of all ages to the joy and fun of swimming, but also help develop a life-long love of water and a healthy appreciation for water safety.
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Registration for swim lessons is always open and offered year-round.
Learn about the YMCA swim curriculum below. Students progress through each stage of swimming – from water discovery, to water safety, to stroke development. As swimmers master each skill, they are empowered to move up through the stages, each time challenging themselves and learning something new. The result? Greater safety, more confidence and a lifelong love of the sport of swimming.
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Where students start on the new swim curriculum is based on their age and stage of swimming ability.
- 6 month to 3 years: Parent and Child, Swim Starters has two levels A & B
- 3 to 5 years: Preschool, Swim Basics has Stage 1-4
- 6 to 12 years: School Age, Swim Basics to Swim Stroke are Stages 1-6
- 12 years+, Teens & Adults: Swim Basics to Swim Stroke are Stages 1-6
In Swim Starters, infants and toddlers are joined by their parents in the water. They learn how to be comfortable and do fun, confidence-building activities that get them ready to learn to swim. Parents learn about water safety, drowning prevention, and the importance of supervision.
- Stage A – Water Discovery: Students are introduced to the aquatic environment and encouraged to enjoy the water. Move to Stage B when you can respond to verbal cues and jump on land and you are at least 2 years old.
- Stage B – Water Exploration: Students explore body positions, floating, and blowing bubbles, and learn fundamental safety and aquatics skills. Move to Stage 1 when you are comfortable working with an instructor without a parent in the water and are at least 3 years old.
In these stages, students learn personal water safety and benchmark swimming skills, including “Swim, float, and swim” and “Jump, push, turn, grab.”
- Stage 1 – Water Acclimation: Students become comfortable with underwater exploration and learn to how to safely get out of the water if they fall in. Move to Stage 2 when you are willing to go under water voluntarily, you can front and back float, and glide with assistance.
- Stage 2 – Water Movement: Students focus on body position and control, directional change, and forward movement in the water, while continuing to practice how to safely get out of the water if they fall in. Move to Stage 3 when you can do a front and back float on your own, front and back glide for 5' (preschoolers" or 10' (school age).
- Stage 3 – Water Stamina: Students learn to swim longer distances. They learn how to do rhythmic breathing and integrate movements of their arms and legs. Move to Stage 4 when you can swim 10 yards (preschool) or 15 yards (school age) on your front and back and swim-float-swim 15 yards (preschool) or 25 yards (school age).
Having mastered the fundamentals, students in these stages learn additional water safety skills and build stroke technique and develop skills that prevent chronic disease, increase social-emotional and cognitive well-being, and foster a lifetime of physical activity.
- Stage 4 – Stroke Introduction: Students develop stroke technique in front crawl and back crawl and learn the breaststroke kick and butterfly kick. Water safety is reinforced through treading water and elementary backstroke. Move to Stage 5 when you can swim 15 yards doing the elementary backstroke, front and back crawl with rotary breathing, swim-float-swim 25 yards and 15 yards of breaststroke and butterfly kicks.
- Stage 5 – Stroke Development: Students work on stroke technique and learn all major competitive strokes. The emphasis on water safety continues through treading water and sidestroke. Move to Stage 6 when you can swim 50 yards continuously of any stroke, 25 yards of good front crawl, side-stroke, elementary backstroke and breaststroke.
- Stage 6 – Stroke Mechanics: Students refine stroke technique on all major competitive strokes and learn about competitive swimming.