Learn how to swim with us! YMCA swimming lessons are a progressive program teaching swimming skills, stroke technique and water safety skills such as floating, treading water and safety entering and exiting a pool.

Swim lessons are available for YMCA members of all ages, from infants to adults. Private swim lessons are also available. 

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Updates to Swimming Lessons

What has changed with Swimming Lessons?

Beginning with March 2023, YGBW has made some changes to the format and class names for swimming lessons. Understanding that parents are juggling multiple activities, changes to our swimming lessons to allow them to fit more flexibly into schedules while reducing confusion and expanding availability. Along with this change:  

  • Preschool Swim Lessons levels 1 – 4 classes have been merged into a single class, named Preschool Swim Lessons which will be offered monthly.  
  • Youth Swim Lessons levels 1 – 3 have been merged into a single class, named Youth Swim Lessons, which will be offered monthly. 
  • Youth Swim Lessons levels 4 – 6 have been migrated to an academy format which will extend lessons to 12 weeks. 

Instructors at all levels are experienced in working with various levels of swimmers. All students learn at their own pace, and we have a structure that provides support for every swimmer to feel successful as they move through all of the progressions of YMCA Swim Lessons. 

When can I sign up for swimming lessons?

Members of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine may register for lessons for March, April and May starting on Saturday, January 28. Guests (non-members) may register for lessons for March, April and May starting on Friday, February 10.   

Which swim lesson level should I sign up for?

For most swimmers, you do not need to sign up for a specific level. Parent/Child, Preschool and Youth Lessons will be held once a week for a month.  

Students who are recommended for Youth Levels 4-6 will be provided with documentation for registering for Youth Academy lessons. If you believe your child belongs in Youth Level 4, 5 or 6, please reach out to the Aquatic Director at your branch to have them evaluated. Registration for these classes is not available until your evaluation is completed. 

Can I change my swim lesson schedule?

To provide the most consistent lesson possible, we ask that members stay with their same day and time for the entire month. At the end of the month, if space allows, we can look at moving students to other days and times.  

Can you guarantee my favorite instructor?

The YMCA believes that every student grows in an environment where they are exposed to different instructors. As a student progresses, instructors with more experience with stroke techniques may be best for the student. We will work with each family to ensure that every child has a positive experience in our program.  

Do you cancel lessons for inclement weather?

Most swimming lessons are held in our indoor pools. The State of PA requires that we clear all pools in the event of electrical storms (thunder/lightning) for 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder of the last bolt of lightning. When this happens, we cancel swim lessons, and do not refund members for the class. When there is snow/ice, and we cancel programs, we also do not refund members for the class. Make-up lessons are not available.  

Are the pools heated?

All YGBW indoor pools are heated, but some swimmers still get cold. We recommend having a towel ready for each swimmer on the pool deck immediately after lessons are over, so that they can warm up on their way to the locker rooms. Wearing a rash guard can also help young swimmers who are cold in the water.  

What if my child gets sick and can't continue with their lessons?

Once swim lessons have started, we do not refund the program. However, if a child cannot continue in swim lessons, we will credit or refund any missed months of swim lessons for future lessons.  

How will I know if my child is progressing?

Students in every level of swimming lessons will receive a progress report at the end of the month of lessons.  

Students in academy programs will receive a mid-session report at 6 weeks, as well as an end-of-session progress report at the end of the 12 weeks.  

Why is it taking so long for my child to level up?

Every child is different. Some children learn certain skills quickly but may take longer to learn other skills. Our program is progressive, so once they become proficient in a skill, it is easier to move up to build on more advanced skills. We encourage family members of the Y to bring their children for family swims to practice the skills they have learned in their lessons every week. This helps build both skills and confidence in the water.  

What should my child wear to their lesson?

Students should wear bathing suits that are comfortable to them. Students who get cold quickly may want to consider a long-sleeve rash guard as well.  

What do I do if my child cries during lessons?

Our program is very focused on meeting students where they are, and not pushing them to do things they are not comfortable with. Still, some children have a hard time being in lessons for the first time. Your instructor will work with you on what the best fit for your child is. This may mean staying with your child for the first lesson, or it may mean leaving and not being visible for them to see you. We know this can be stressful, not only for students but also for parents. Most students stop being upset once they realize how much fun swimming lessons are, but some take a little more time.  

How do I check in for my lessons?

You will enter the facility and head to the locker room that takes you to the pool where swim lessons are held. You can ask the member services staff member where that is. Once you get through the locker room, you will look for the swim lesson signs where you will meet your instructor on the first night of lessons. Lessons will be at the same spot each week for the month.  

What happens if my child is less advanced than the others in their class?

All of our instructors are experienced in working with various levels of swimmers. Generally, less experienced swimmers learn a lot from watching other swimmers in the pool. All students learn at their own pace, and we have a structure that provides support for every swimmer to feel successful as they move through all of the progressions of YMCA Swim Lessons. That said, we do encourage members of the Y to bring their swim lesson students to the Y during family swims to practice the skills they have learned at swim lessons. Most students progress when they have time to practice.  

Do you offer make-up lessons?

We do not offer make-up lessons.  

If I need to withdraw from lessons, will my preferred time/day/instructor be available in the future?

If you withdraw from lessons, we cannot guarantee a particular day/time/instructor moving forward.  

Do you have classes on the holidays?

The YMCA of Greater Brandywine does not offer swim lessons on the following holidays: Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  

There are also certain breaks throughout the year for annual cleaning of the branch and staff training. 

Are goggles or swim caps required?

Goggles are not required, other than for academy swimmers in Youth Levels 4-6. In all other lessons, goggles are encouraged. Instructors can give you some guidance on what style to purchase based upon your child’s age and skill level, and they will not be used for the entire lesson. Please make sure to clearly write your student’s name on the band of their goggles as soon as you purchase them.   

Swim caps are not required, but are encouraged for swimmers in Youth Levels 4-6, especially if a student has longer hair.  

Are swim diapers required?

Swim diapers are required for any child who is not fully potty trained. If you forget your swim diaper, please let your instructor know. We often have them available for parents to use.  

Can I leave the facility during the lessons?

We require that one parent or trusted adult stay inside the facility during swimming lessons. You will also need to come to the pool deck for drop-off and pick-up for every lesson. This is a YMCA of Greater Brandywine safety protocol. You do not need to stay on the pool deck, but you do need to stay within the facility during the lesson.  

Can you register for lessons online?

Yes! You can register for swim lessons online

Levels 4 – 6 require an evaluation prior to registration. Registration will need to take place in person at a branch. Registration is available online after their evaluation is added to their record.  

Do you prorate lessons if we start mid-session?

We do not prorate lessons if you start in the middle of the month.  

Can you swim in the pool before/after my child’s lesson?

The family swim schedules are posted at every branch. We ask that you follow that schedule and not swim during lessons. This allows us to provide a great experience for the students in our lessons, and provide a great family swim experience with no lessons to swim through while enjoying the pool and practicing skills at the Y.  

When do you recommend, we arrive for our lesson?

We recommend aiming to arrive at the pool desk 3-5 minutes prior to the lesson starting. This gives you a little wiggle room in the event changing takes longer than expected, or there is traffic on your way to the Y. This also ensures that you are not so early that it’s hard to keep your swimmer occupied for 15-20 minutes on the pool deck.  

Why are swim lessons changing from 7-week sessions?  

Understanding that parents are juggling multiple activities, we have made changes to our swimming lessons to allow them to fit more flexibly into schedules. This includes migrating many of our swim lessons from their previous seven-week session to our new monthly format. Families can choose to enroll in a single month, or several consecutive months and classes will meet once per week.  

Youth Lessons at levels 4 – 6 will shift to an academy format, extending the lesson to a 12-week format, to allow more time instruction. Students will need to go through an evaluation or be recommended for this level to enroll.