Swim Lessons and Swimming

You're never too young to learn and never too old to start

The "Swim for Life Lifesaving Society program features seamles program progression, from parent and tot to leadership programs. Stroke and skill-driven program content and Water Smart® messages embedded in the skills taught during the programs.

picture of kids swimming






Looking for something to do with the kids or looking to do some fitness swimming?  Drop in to one of the many recreation swims offered.  Please review the swim admissions and supervision standards prior.

Drop In Swim Schedule

Swim admission and supervision standards

Aquafit Programs

Spray Pads

Rotary Park Pool

 Swim Lesson Progression chart and program descriptions

Parent and Tot Ratios 1:12

Parent & Tot 1 (4-12 months)

Help your child feel and explore the water- floating, splashing, reaching and paddling.  Learn how to help your child play in and play with comfort and confidence.

Parent & Tot 2 (12 -24 months)

Children are taught to get their face wet, blow bubbles, and gain comfort in the water through a variety of songs and activities.  With your guidance, they will learn assisted front and back floats, and begin to use kicking to travel across the surface.

Parent & Tot 3 (2-3 years)

Toddlers will have fun jumping into the water and climbing out again and will learn to hold their breath and open their eyes underwater.  Practicing front and back floats in "starfish" and "pencil" positions along with kicking on front and back, provides the building blocks for moving to the Preschool program at 3 years of age.

Preschool (3-5 years old at beginning of session)

Preschool A - Ratio 1:4

Preschoolers will have fun learning to get in and out of the water, getting their face wet, blowing bubbles underwater, jumping into chest deep water, trying floats with assistance and practicing assisted glides on their front and back.

Preschool B - Ratio 1:5

Participants will learn to jump into chest deep water by themselves and submerge and exhale underwater.  While wearing a lifejacket, they will work towards mastering front and back floats, front and back glides and work towards kicking on their back for 5 metres.

Preschool C - Ratio 1:5

Participants will learn to independently perform front and back floats (5 seconds each) and front and back glides (3 metres each).  They will work towards propelling themselves for 5 metres using flutter kicks and will jump and roll into deep water wearing a lifejacket.

Preschool D - Ratio 1:5

Participants will learn to do solo jumps and slide rolls into deep water and will learn to tread water while wearing a lifejacket.  They’ll do kicking glides on their front (7 metres) and slides (5 metres) and will learn front crawl using a lifejacket.

Preschool E - Ratio 1:5

These advanced preschoolers learn to tread water and start swimming front crawl and back crawl without a lifejacket.  They will also learn forward rolls into deep water, vertical whip kick and challenge themselves with flutter kick interval training.

Transition from Preschool to Swimmer

For children who are 5 years old, you have the choice of registering in the Preschool levels (with 3 to 5 year old classmates) or in the Swimmer levels (with 5 to 12 year old classmates).  When transitioning from the Preschool levels to the Swimmer levels, use the information below to determine the appropriate Swimmer level for your child. Participants must be 5 – 12 years old at the beginning of the session.

Completed Preschool A, B or C- Register in Swimmer 1

Completed Preschool D or E- Register in Swimmer 2

What will you learn?

Swimmer 1 - Ratio 1:5

These beginners will become comfortable jumping into water with and without a lifejacket.  They’ll learn to open their eyes, exhale and hold their breath underwater, and work on floats, glides and kicking through the water on their front and back.

Swimmer 2 - Ratio 1:5

Participants will learn front crawl and back crawl, working towards completing 10 metres of each stroke.  Front crawl breathing in a regular berating pattern with underwater exhalation is a key skill learned, along with jumping into deep water and treading water.

Swimmer 3 - Ratio 1:5

Junior swimmers will work to develop Swim to Survive skills which include rolls into deep water, treading water for 30 seconds and swimming 25 metres.  Swimmers will build on the strokes learned previously by increasing distance and mastering side breathing for front crawl.  Kneeling dives, front rolls and in-water somersaults and handstands are also learned.

Swimmer 4 - Ratio 1:7

Participants continue to strengthen their front crawl and back crawl, and swim full lengths of each stroke.  Swimmers will also learn standing dives, whip kicks and breast stroke arm drills and will work towards completing the Canadian Swim to Survive Standard of a roll into deep water, tread water for 1 minute and swim 50 metres.

Swimmer 5 - Ratio 1:10

Intermediate swimmers will learn breaststroke, shallow dives, tuck jumps and eggbeater kick.  They will refine their front and back crawl technique over 50-metre swims, 25 metre sprints, interval training and they will learn head-up front crawl.

Swimmer 6 - Ration 1:10

Participants will master stride entries, compact jumps, and lifesaving kicks such as eggbeater and scissor kick.  They will develop strength and power in head-up breaststroke sprints, further refine their front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke for improved efficiency and complete 300-metre swim workouts.

Swimmer 7 - Rookie Patrol - Ratio 1:12

Swimmers develop strength and efficiency in front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke and begin learning lifesaving and rescue skills including surface dives, obstacle swims and lifesaving kicks to support themselves and objects.  Participants also begin learning the basics of first aid, including assessment of conscious victims, contacting Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and treatment for bleeding.

Swimmer 8 - Ranger Patrol - Ratio 1:12

Swimmers improve efficiency, speed and endurance with each swimming stroke and lifesaving kick.  They tackle rescue skills in a lifesaving medley, timed object support and rescue with a buoyant aid while learning to recognize victims and obstructed airway rescue procedures.

Swimmer 9- Star Patro l - Ratio 1:12

Swimmers are challenged with 600-metre swim workouts and a 300-metre endurance swim.  Development of lifesaving and rescue skills continues with defense methods, rescues with a towing aid, and victim support and removals.  Participants also learn to care for people with asthma, allergic reactions and bone or joint injuries.

Children/Youth Specialty Lessons (8-15 years at beginning of session, with a minimum Swimmer 3 ability) Ratio 1:12

Lifesaving Sport Fundamentals

Be introduced to lifesaving sport skills while learning about team building and fair play.  Train for Lifesaving Sport events that involve racing starts, swimming under obstacles, recovering and towing manikins, rope toss rescues and racing with swim fins on.  With 5 levels to advance through, Lifesaving Sport is a program you will enjoy over and over.

Springboard Diving

Taught by a certified Dive Ontario instructor, participants learn front and back layouts, tuck jumps, pike dives, back dives and more with multiple levels to complete, each with increasingly challenging skills to perfect.  Participants may want to take this class again and again.

Aquatic Leadership programs (12+ years)

Aquatic Leadership

To continue advancing towards becoming a lifeguard and swim instructor, see the aquatic leadership programs.

Adult/Youth- Level 1

This level is for beginning swimmers and includes skills similar to Swimmer 1 and 2.  You will gain comfort in the water, learn to submerge and exhale underwater, practice floats and glides on your front, back and side, propel yourself by kicking and work towards swimming 10 metres of front crawl and back crawl.

Adult/Youth- Level 2

This level includes skills similar to Swimmer 4 and is for those who are able to swim 10 metres on front and back.  You will develop effective front crawl breathing and improve the efficiency of your front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke.  Surface support (treading water) and dive entries are also practiced.

Adult/Youth- Level 3

This level is similar to Swimmer 5 and 6.  You will work towards a 300-metre workout, sprinting for 25-50 metres and mastering your front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke.  Learn eggbeater kick, stride entries and compact jumps.  Note: 12 year olds who have completed Youth level 2 should register in Swimmer 5 program.

ICAN and Specialty Lessons (All ages)

Inclusion/Special Needs ICAN Swim

Participants with disabilities will be provided with extra support at swimming lessons. (Note, these are not private lessons) If registering online, select from the ICAN swim level groupings and follow the prompts to register.

Family Lessons

Are you interested in one lesson time for all family members to learn to swim? Participating family members will be divided into separate classes with other families based on swimming ability so that you can all experience your swimming lesson at the same convenient time.  Note: Only one family member registers on behalf of all participating family members (maximum of 5 family/household members, including adults).

Private Lessons

Do you need extra help with a specific skill?  Would you feel more comfortable in a one-to-one setting with an instructor? Enjoy swim lessons customized for your specific needs.

 Leadership Programs

Bronze Star

Prerequiste: Star Patrol recommended. Participants develop problem-solving and decision making skills individually and in partners.  Candidates learn CPR and develop the lifesaving skills needed to be their own lifeguard.  This program includes a timed 400 metre swim, and will help to prepare participants for success in Bronze Medallion.

Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid

Prerequiste: 13 years of age or Bronze Star. Gain an understanding of the lifesaving principles embodied in the four components of water rescue: judgment, knowledge, skill and fitness.  Rescueers will learn tows, carries, defense methods and releases in preperations for challenging rescues.

Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid

Prerequisite: Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid. Lifesavers learn to perform safe rescues in challenging emergency scenarios, providing advanced training in the lifesaving principles learned in Bronze Medallion. Bronze Cross is the prerequisite for the Swim Instructor and National Lifeguard courses. Standard First Aid covers all aspects of first aid and CPR training, including CPR-C certification, breathing and cardiac emergencies, bone and joint injuries, bleeding, and other medical emergencies.

Lifesaving Assistant Instructor

Prerequisite: 14 years of age and current Bronze Cross (or higher) certification and Standard First Aid. Through classroom learning and in-water practise, this program prepares candidates to help certified instructors with swimming and lifesaving classes. You will be introduced to key principles of learning and teaching, and master basic progressions. The roles and responsibilities of instructors and their assistants are emphasized. 100% attendance is required.

Lifesaving and Swim Instructor

Prerequisite: 16 years of age and Bronze Cross award or higher and Standard First Aid. (Note: HIGH FIVE® is now included in Instructor’s certification.) This program prepares the instructor to teach and evaluate swim strokes and lifesaving skills. Through classroom learning and in-water practise, instructor candidates explore proven teaching methods; learning strategies and activities; a variety of strokes and skills; effective correction techniques and evaluation criteria. Practice teaching is emphasized throughout. 100% attendance is required.

National Lifeguard

Prerequisite: 16 years of age, Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid. Recognized as the standard measurement of lifeguard performance in Canada, National Lifeguard education is designed to develop a sound understanding of lifeguarding principles, good judgment and a mature and responsible attitude toward the role of the lifeguard. 100% attendance is required.