Whether you’re a toe dipper or a fish, YMCA Calgary offers lessons for everyone.

Being able to swim is a valuable life skill and a great way to have fun, get exercise, build confidence and develop friendships. Our programs help individuals of all ages and skill levels feel comfortable in the water while developing good technique and water safety awareness. 


Dive in to learn about YMCA Calgary’s swimming programs and find the right fit for you or your family.

 

Find the Right Swim Level

Use this questionnaire to find the right level for your swimmer.

You're ready for Parent & Tot swim lessons!


Splashers*  Parents participate with children 0-18 months old with instruction directed toward the parent. The main movement skill taught is to make the child and adult comfortable in the water with the child able to splash both arms and legs.  

Bubblers* Parents participate with children 18 months-3 yrs with instruction directed toward the parent. The main movement skill taught is for the child to be able to hold the wall, kick their feet and blow bubbles.

*Occasionally taught within the same class
 

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You're ready for Adult swim lessons!

Beginner lessons geared towards the non-swimmer or those who fear the water. Stroke improvement tips and techniques are offered to the intermediate swimmer who would like to improve their swimming skills.

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You're ready for Bobbers swim lessons!

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

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You're ready for Floater swim lessons!

At this level, children learn deep water awareness, pool rules, how to wear a  personal floatation device (PFD), assisted jumps into the water, unassisted submersion, blowing bubbles, and retrieving objects. 

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You're ready for Glider swim lessons!

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

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You're ready for Diver swim lessons!

In this intermediate level, children continue to develop deep water skills,  work on arm action and increase front and back swim distances to 10m. 
 

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You're ready for Surfer & Jumper swim lessons!

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

Jumper* - In this advanced level, children further refine front and back crawl to distances of 25-50m, and deep water activities and skills are explored. 

*Occasionally taught within the same class
 

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You're ready for Otter swim lessons!

An introductory level for beginner swimmers ages 6-12 years old, Otter will teach your child the basics of pool safety, going underwater, and gliding on their front and back.

The first of four levels in our national YMCA Learn to Swim program, Otter teaches your child how to stay safe in the water and to develop their swimming skills. During these classes, your child will also select from an optional list of skills to learn during the session.

Otters is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who encourages your child to actively participate in their own learning.


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You're ready for Seal swim lessons!

Seal is for children 6-12 years old who have completed Otter or who have equivalent skills. In this level, they will further develop the skills of gliding, kicking, and submerging.

The second of four levels in our national YMCA Learn to Swim program, Seal teaches your child how to stay safe in the water and to develop their swimming skills. While in these classes, children will also select from an optional list of skills to learn during the session.

Seal is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will encourage the children to build their confidence in the water.
 

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You're ready for Dolphin swim lessons!

Dolphin is for children 6-12 years old who have completed Seal or who demonstrate an equivalent skillset. Your child will be introduced to swimming on their front, back, and underwater.

The third of four levels in our national YMCA Learn to Swim program, Dolphin teaches kids how to stay safe in the water and to develop their swimming skills. While in these classes, your child will also select from an optional list of skills to learn during the session.

Dolphin is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will be cheering your child on as they complete their first full swim strokes!
 

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You're ready for Swimmer swim lessons!


Swimmer is for children 6-12 years old who have completed Dolphin or have equivalent skills. In this class, kids will learn front and back crawl, and how to tread water.

The last level in our national YMCA Learn to Swim program, Swimmer teaches children how to stay safe in the water and to develop their swimming skills. Children at this level will have achieved a solid foundation of swimming skills and be able to front swim for a distance of 25 metres.

Swimmer is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will inspire your child to reach their potential in the water.
 

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You're ready for Star 1 swim lessons!

Star 1 is for children 6-12 years old who have completed the Swimmer level in our Learn to Swim program. In this class, kids will learn to use the whip kick on their back and the egg-beater motion for treading water. We will help your child continue to develop front and back crawl technique and endurance.

As the first level of our YMCA Star Program, in Star 1 we also introduce your child to other aspects of swimming. Kids select which new skills they would like to learn from a list that includes competitive swimming, lifesaving, synchronized swimming, aquatic fitness, and water polo.

Star 1 is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will guide your child through each lesson.
 

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You're ready for Star 2 swim lessons!

Star 2 is for children 6-12 years old who have completed Star 1 or who show an equivalent skill level. At this level, we focus on the backstroke and continue to help kids refine their stroke technique and increase their endurance.

The second level of our YMCA Star Program, in Star 2 we continue to encourage your child to build on the optional skills they selected in Star 1. Your child may choose to try something new, or continue to focus on one area — the choice is theirs! Optional skills include competitive swimming, lifesaving, synchronized swimming, aquatic fitness, and water polo.

Star 2 is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will share their passion for swimming.
 

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You're ready for Star 3 swim lessons!

The third level of our YMCA Star Program, Star 3 is for children 6-12 years old who have completed Star 2 or who show an equivalent skill level. At this level, your child will focus on the breaststroke and egg-beater motion for treading water, while continuing to build endurance in the pool. We will also introduce young swimmers to introductory lifesaving concepts.

Building on the optional skills learned in Star 2, participants will select from a new set of skills they would like to learn. They may choose to try something new or focus on one area — the choice is theirs! Skills include competitive swimming, lifesaving, synchronized swimming, aquatic fitness, and water polo.

Star 3 is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will nurture the love of swimming in your child.
 

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You're ready for Star 4 swim lessons!

Star 4 is for children 6-12 years old who have completed Star 3 or who show an equivalent skill level. At this level, we will help your child focus on the sidestroke and we will continue to introduce lifesaving skills.

Your child will also carry on with exploring other interests in the pool by selecting more optional skills to learn. They may choose to try something new or focus on one area — the choice is theirs! Options include competitive swimming, lifesaving, synchronized swimming, aquatic fitness, or water polo.

Star 4 is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will work with your child to learn each new skill.
 

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You're ready for Star 5 swim lessons!


Star 5 is for children 10 years and older who have completed Star 4 or who show an equivalent skill level. We will introduce the butterfly stroke along with lifesaving and first aid elements from the Rookie and Ranger levels of the Canadian Swim Patrol program.

Swimmers will also have the opportunity to continue to develop advanced aquatics skills by selecting from a range of options: advanced strokes, water polo, synchronized swimming, or aquatic fitness.

Led by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor, swimmers will work together in groups to reach their goals. After completion of Star 5, your child will be eligible to be certified as a Rookie in the Canadian Swim Patrol program.
 

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You're ready for Star 6 swim lessons!

Star 6 is for children 10 years and older who have completed Star 5 or show an equivalent skill level. Swimmers will continue to develop lifesaving and first aid skills at the Ranger and Star level of the Canadian Swim Patrol program. They will also begin to learn how to teach others to swim.

Star 6 encourages your child to take responsibility for their own learning outcomes by selecting optional skills to learn, including advanced strokes, water polo, synchronized swimming, or aquatic fitness.

Led by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor, swimmers can work together in groups to reach their goals. After completion of Star 6, your child will be eligible to be certified as a Ranger in the Canadian Swim Patrol program.
 

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You're ready for Star 7 swim lessons and the Junior Lifeguard Club!


Star 7 is for children 10 years and older who have completed Star 6 or show an equivalent skill level, and have a strong interest in pursuing more advanced aquatics certifications. Star 7 bridges to the YMCA Assistant Swim Instructor and Lifesaving Society's Bronze programs.

In addition to first aid and lifesaving skills, swimmers will also continue to build their abilities by selecting from a list of optional skills to learn, including advanced strokes, water polo, synchronized swimming, or aquatic fitness.

Star 7 is led by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor and runs for an hour as a club. Swimmers work together to reach their goals and practice lifesaving skills with each other. At the end of Star 7, your child will be eligible to be certified as a Star in the Canadian Swim Patrol program.

Junior Lifeguard Club 
A fun, fast-paced opportunity for swimmers to stay active in the water while learning rescue skills from experienced lifeguard role models. Participants will be tested for and receive their bronze star and bronze medallion - at no extra cost.
 

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You're ready for a Bronze Medallion course!


At age 13 swimmers can register for their Bronze Medallion; step 1 to becoming a lifeguard and/or swim instructor.

This program teaches an understanding of the lifesaving principles embodied in the four components of water-rescue education: judgment, knowledge, skill, and fitness. Rescuers learn tows and carries, defense methods, and releases in preparation for challenging rescues of increased risk. Lifesavers develop stroke efficiency and endurance in a 400m timed swim.
 

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Preschool Parented (3 months – 3 years)

Splashers and Bubblers

Introduce your little one to the fun of the swimming pool! Parents get in on these fun and engaging classes by participating with your child. You will learn how to be safe in and around the pool. This program will teach your infant/toddler to be more comfortable and confident in water and prepare them for independent swim lessons.

Children 2 years and under and anyone incontinent must wear both a swim diaper and waterproof pool pants. These items are available for purchase in our vending machines. 

 

 

YMCA Preschool Swim Program (3 - 5 years)

Bobbers and Floaters

Splash up some fun for your toddler/preschooler in this swim basics program. Your child will learn how to be safe and have fun in the water while learning foundational swimming skills. Bobbers will learn to be comfortable with their face in the water and basic movements while being supported. Floaters will perform unassisted bobs and learn the basics of floats and glides.

Gliders and Divers

See your child thrive in the water. Your child will progress from the basic skills learned in Bobbers and Floaters. Participants will be introduced to front and back swims, as well as a variety of deep-water skills. Gliders will learn deep-water skills and perform a five-metre back swim. Divers will learn to do a 10-second surface support swim, a 10-metre front and back swim, and have lessons in boating safety.

Surfers and Jumpers

Advance your preschooler's swimming skills. Your child will build confidence in the water all while learning more advanced skills. Surfers will perform kneeling dives, 15-metre front and back swims, and learn about ice safety. Jumpers will learn to surface-support for 45 seconds, perform 25-metre front and back swims and will be introduced to throwing assists.

 

 

YMCA Learn to Swim Program (6 - 14 years) 

Otters and Seals

Introduce your child to the important life skill of swimming. Children will improve their body awareness and motor skills as they submerge, kick, roll and jump in the water. Otters will learn to swim underwater and glide on top. Seals will learn to use flutter kicking and rolling their bodies from side to side for streamlined movement through the water.
 

Dolphins and Swimmers

Have your child dive into improving swimming skills. This program is designed to increase your child's swimming distance up to 15 metres using common crawl strokes. Dolphins will coordinate arms, legs and breathing for smooth propulsion during front and back crawl. At the Swimmers level, participants will increase skills in front and back strokes, endurance and treading water.

 

 

YMCA Star Program (6 - 14 years) 

Stars 1 and 2

After completing the Swimmer level, continue your journey to becoming a star swimmer here. In Star 1, you will learn to whip kick on your back, and will perform a 75-metre endurance swim. In Star 2, you will learn to whip kick on your front, eggbeater as surface support, and swim 100 metres. Optional activities provide opportunities to explore competitive swimming, synchronized swimming, water polo and aquafit.

Stars 3 and 4

Thrive in the water! Star 3 swimmers will learn elementary backstroke and dolphin kicks and will do a 200-metre endurance swim. In Star 4, participants learn breaststroke and sidestroke, and will perform a 350-metre endurance swim. Optional activities provide opportunities to explore competitive swimming, synchronized swimming, water polo and aquafit.

Stars 5 and 6

Advance your swimming skills! In this program, you will use skills learned in previous lessons and apply them in new ways. You will swim butterfly, throw a buoyant aid to a swimmer, create and teach a water game, and perform a 500-metre endurance swim. Star 6 also includes first aid, towing someone to safety, and demonstrating how to teach a skill.

Star 7

You'll be the ultimate swimming star after this challenging level! Enhance your skills in this final level of YMCA's Star Leadership program. In this program, you will gain a deeper understanding of the roles of lifeguards and swim instructors by assisting them with their responsibilities. You will also learn first aid, how to teach others skills using effective feedback, and will perform a 12-minute 400-metre endurance swim.

Swim to Survive

Swim to Survive® is different than swimming lessons - and not a replacement for them. Swim to Survive® teaches the necessary skills to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. Meeting the Canadian Swim to Survive® Standard is an important first step to being safe around water.

 

 

Adult Swim Program

Adult Level 1

Learn the basic swimming skills to become comfortable in the water. You will learn to safely enter and exit the pool, how to move through the water, and to float with and without assistance. Other skills such as breathing techniques, flutter kick and front and back swimming may be introduced depending on individual abilities.

Adult Level 2

Improve your swimming strokes and build on your skills. In this class, you will learn front and back crawl, treading water and whip kick. You'll also receive an orientation on deep water and will practice swimming greater distances. Participants should be able to continuously swim 25-50 meters of front and back crawl.

Adult Level 3

Build endurance while developing and improving swimming strokes. In addition to front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke, you'll get an introduction to sidestroke, butterfly and eggbeater. Different lifesaving skills may also be included. You must be able to swim 50 meters and be comfortable in deep water.

 

 

Private Lessons

Private Lessons

Need a little one-on-one practice to achieve your goals? Private lessons will help you quickly reach your goals and make you a stronger swimmer through personally tailored instruction. Both private and semi-private lessons are available for ages three years and older. See Member Services for details.