Swim Lessons

Knowing how to be swim and be safe around water is one of the most important skills a person can learn, but it's not easy. To someone unfamiliar with being in the water, going to the beach or a pool can be an uncomfortable, stressful, or embarrassing experience, but it doesn't have to be.

Knowing how to swim is a life-saving skill that opens up a vast array of opportunities to stay fit, develop self-confidence, build relationships and safely enjoy outdoor aquatic activities like snorkeling, surfing, river rafting and more - and it's never too late to learn!

At the YMCA of San Diego County, we are proud to teach students of all ages not only how to be safe in the water, but thrive in it. No matter the level of a student's comfort or experience, our instructors make swim lessons engaging, encouraging and fun by focusing on the tried-and-true methods that we've developed from teaching people around the world for more than a hundred years.

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Swim Lesson Stages

Swim Starters

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. Parent participation is required in stages A and B.

Water Discovery (A): Parents accompany children in stage A, which introduces infants and toddlers to the aquatic environment through exploration and encourages them to enjoy themselves while learning about the water.

Water Exploration (B): In stage B, parents work with their children to explore body positions, floating, blowing bubbles, and fundamental safety and aquatic skills.

Water Independence (C): In stage C, students experience their first class without a parent and learn how to be comfortable and safe in the water.


Swim Basics

Students learn personal water safety and achieve basic swimming competency.

Water Acclimation (1): Students develop comfort with underwater exploration and learn to safely exit in the event of falling into a body of water in stage 1. This stage lays the foundation that allows for a student’s future progress in swimming.

Water Movement (2): In stage 2, students focus on body position and control, directional change, and forward movement in the water while also continuing to practice how to safely exit in the event of falling into a body of water.

Water Stamina (3): In stage 3, students learn how to swim to safety from a longer distance than in previous stages in the event of falling into a body of water. This stage also introduces rhythmic breathing and integrated arm and leg action.


Swim Strokes

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.

Stroke Introduction (4): Students in stage 4 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.

Stroke Development (5): Students in stage 5 work on stroke technique and learn all major competitive strokes. The emphasis on water safety continues through treading water and sidestroke.

Stroke Mechanics (6): In stage 6, students refine stroke technique on all major competitive strokes, learn about competitive swimming, and discover how to incorporate swimming into a healthy lifestyle.

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