Since 1931, the YMCA has been a leader in aquatics in Canada. The YMCA developed the first nationally recognized aquatics program and has continued to train aquatic leaders ever since.

Why swim at the YMCA?

  • At the YMCA we focus on helping people develop. Each swimmer is challenged to grow and improve while the levels are a tool to help parents understand progress on different items. Children will be continually challenged and not limited to completing a level before being introduced to new skills.
  • YMCA staff are trained not only to teach swim skills but also help children understand and live the YMCA Core Values – Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility.

Has your child been previously enrolled in Lifesaving Society or Red Cross Swim Lessons? CLICK HERE for a YMCA Swimming Lesson Conversion Chart. Continuous swim lessons is the name given to YMCA’s swim lesson format, which offers lessons throughout the year and eliminates the need for participants to re-register. It provides the ability for participants to register at any time and progress at their own pace within a group. Program break weeks will occur March, September, and December/January. Progress cards are available online.


Once you register for a time slot, it is yours to keep until:

  • you choose to move to a different day or time;
  • your membership becomes inactive;
  • you miss three classes in a row without informing the YMCA.

If your child is going to miss three classes in a row please inform the membership desk as this will allow us to save your child’s space. Otherwise we will assume you are no longer interested in attending and place someone else in the space.


YMCA L’il Dippers (6 months – 5 years)

L’il Dippers 1

  • Goal in class is to build values and introduce a wide range of water activities in a fun, safe atmosphere.
  • Skills taught include comfort in the water; splashes with arms and legs; pool area orientation; hold wall and kick feet; and front/back float assisted.

L’il Dippers 2

  • Bobbers: hold wall kick and blow bubbles, front and back glide assisted, water hazards
  • Floaters: bobs unassisted, front and back glide with kick 3 metres, how and when to wear a personal flotation device
  • Gliders: deep water skills, front and back swim 5 metres, accessing EMS
  • Divers: surface support 10 seconds, front and back swim 10 metres, boating safety
  • Surfers: kneeling dive, front and back swim 15 metres, ice safety
  • Dippers: surface support 45 seconds, front and back swim 25 metres, introduction to throwing assists

Learn to Swim (6+ years)

  • Otter: Going under water and gliding on top of the water
  • Seal: Using flutter kick and rolling the body from side to side for streamlined movement through water
  • Dolphin: Coordinating arms, legs and breathing for smooth propulsion during front and back crawl
  • Swimmer: Front and back crawl stroke standards, treading water for 1 minute, and 25 metre endurance swim

YMCA Star Program (6+ years)

  • Star 1: Whip kick on their back, and 75 metre endurance swim
  • Star 2: Whip kick on their front, eggbeater as surface support and 100 metre endurance swim
  • Star 3: Elementary backstroke, dolphin kick, and 200 metre endurance swim
  • Star 4: Breaststroke, side stroke, and 350 metre endurance swim

YMCA Star Leadership Program (6+ years)

  • Star 5: Butterfly, throwing a buoyant aid to a swimmer, create and teach a water game, and 500 m endurance swim
  • Star 6: First aid, towing someone to safety, demonstrate how to teach a skill, and 600 m endurance swim.
  • Star 7: First aid, teach someone a skill using effective feedback, and 400 m in 12 minutes endurance swim.

Lifesaving Fitness – Bronze, Silver, Gold (10+ years)

  • Work on physical standards for aquatic leadership courses
  • Prerequisite: Star 7 or equivalent
  • Course Fee: $0