Swim Lessons

Why Swim at the Y

strong swimmers confident kidsSwimming is not only a well-known healthy activity that exercises the entire body —it is also a skill that can both save lives and enrich them.

Learning how to swim and be comfortable in the water is just as important as learning how to look both ways before crossing a busy street, or knowing what to do in the event of a fire.

The swim lessons we provide for almost all ages help develop competency in swimming alongside confidence and endurance. Instruction is delivered in a caring atmosphere by certified instructors who give students personalized attention and encouragement.

Beyond learning how to swim, our competitive swim teams offer an enjoyable swimming experience for all ages and abilities. Our coaches maintain a positive and challenging environment where swimmers can learn and train together as a team, pushing each other to succeed with encouragement, individual discipline, and pride in everyone's achievements.

Our aquatic facilities include heated pools with room for lap swimming, recreational, family swim, aqua aerobics, swim teams, swim clinics and, of course, swim lessons!

Sign up for swim lessons and see for yourself why the Y is 'America's Swim Instructor!


Contact your local Y for more information on Swim lessons
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Swim Lessons Available at the Y of San Diego County


We offer private swim lessons for swimmers of any age and skill level who are seeking extra attention and focus. Our trained instructors customize each lesson to fit the participant's unique needs and find the level that best fits the swimmer - there's nothing quite like it! Our private swim lessons are available for all our swim lesson stages. Sign up for private swim lessons at the Y near you!


Semi-private swim lessons are available for swimmers of all ages seeking to enhance their skillset alongside a small group of three to four others at a similar skill level. Semi-private lesson participants must first register for a private lesson. In order to ensure availability, please contact the YMCA support center at (858) 514-4411 to schedule semi-private lessons before registering for private swim sessions. For further details on enrolling in semi-private swim lesson, contact your location's aquatics department, which you can find on the YMCA aquatic facilities page.

Register for Private Swim Lessons


Swim lessons are for everybody! We offer private swim lessons for swimmers of any age and ability.

Learn more adaptive swim below

Swim Lesson Stage Descriptions

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 (Stage 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.

Find Water Discovery Swim Lessons

Water Exploration (Stage B)

In Stage B, parents work with their children to explore body positions, floating, blowing bubbles, and fundamental safety and aquatic skills.

Find Water Exploration Swim Lessons

Water Independence (Stage C)

In Stage C, students experience their first class without a parent and learn how to be comfortable and safe in the water.

Find Water Independence Swim Lessons

Swim Basics

Students learn personal water safety and achieve basic swimming competency.

Water Acclimation (Stage 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.

Find Stage 1 Swim Lessons for Ages 3-5 | Find Stage 1 Swim Lessons for Ages 6-12

Water Movement (Stage 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.

Find Stage 2 Swim Lessons for Ages 3-5 | Find Stage 2 Swim Lessons for Ages 6-12


Water Stamina (Stage 3)

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.

Find Stage 3 Swim Lessons for Ages 3-5 | Find Stage 3 Swim Lessons for Ages 6-12

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 (Stage 4)

strong swimmers confident kidsStudents 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.

Find Stage 4 Swim Lessons for Ages 3-5 | Find Stage 4 Swim Lessons for Ages 6-12

Stroke Development (Stage 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.

Find Stage 5 Swim Lessons for Ages 6-12

Stroke Mechanics (Stage 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.

Find Stage 6 Swim Lessons for Ages 6-12

Adult and Teen Swim Lessons

Everyone learns at a different pace, and it's never too late to start! We offer several swim lessons tailored specifically for adults and teens, providing a safe and encouraging learning experience for every skill level.

Find Adult & Teen Swim Lessons

About Swim Lessons

Swim lessons at the Y of San Diego County are for those of all ages and swim levels and are available to group or private lessons.

Lessons take place at our Y branches aquatic facilities located throughout San Diego County. Wondering where to begin? View our swim lessons level selector and read through our descriptions below for more information!


  • All YMCA swim instructors are nationally certified and are trained in CPR, AED, First Aid, and Oxygen Administration.
  • Private lessons and small group lessons offered.
  • Private lessons are available for children of all ages.
  • Small group lessons are available for children 1 to 7 years of age.
  • Parent must be in the water with the child in all Swim Starters classes.
  • Curriculums that focus on skills-based instruction with an emphasis on personal safety.
  • Tools and resources provided to support students and families when outside of the Y.
  • Students’ progress tracked throughout the session and discussed with parents.
  • Mid-session reports given halfway through sessions and certificates of achievement given at completion.
  • Swim lessons available at a variety of Y locations.
  • Swim lessons offered in progressive swim stages: Swim Starters, Swim Basics and Swim Strokes. 
  • Swim lessons available to adults and teens, with opportunity to progress into swim teams and masters swim. 


We believe that our community is stronger when we are inclusive of everybody, including those with disabilities. Our adaptive swim lessons are designed for individuals with a variety of unique needs including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, sensory challenges and physical disabilities. These specialized swim lessons will focus on basic water safety and swimming skills, achieving incremental goals, building self-confidence and functional abilities – all in a relaxing, fun and supportive environment! 


  • Basic water safety and swimming skills
  • Achievement of small goals
  • Building self-confidence and functional ability
  • Creating a relaxing, fun and supportive environment


Adaptive swim is available at the following YMCA locations:

  • Toby Wells YMCA
    5105 Overland Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92123
    (858) 496-9622
  • Cameron Family YMCA
    10123 Riverwalk Drive
    Santee, CA 92071
    (619) 449-9622
  • John A. Davis Family YMCA
    8881 Dallas Street
    La Mesa, CA 91942
    (619) 464-9622
  • T. Claude and Gladys B.
    Ryan Family YMCA

    4390 Valeta St.,
    San Diego, CA 92107
    (619) 226-8888
  • McGrath Family YMCA
    12006 Campo Road
    Spring Valley, CA 91978
    (619) 462-9622
  • Rancho Family YMCA
    9410 Fairgrove Lane
    San Diego, CA 92129
    (858) 484-8788

Inquire more about registration by calling the YMCA location near you.

Swim Clinics at the Y

Looking to take your swimming skills to the next level? Learn more about swim clinics at the Y!

Swim Clinics at the Y


View All Swim Lessons Programs