Skip to main content

The YMCA Swim Lessons program uses a skill based approach designed to meet the needs of the community we serve. Swim Starters develops water enrichment and aquatic readiness in children. Recommended are range: infants and toddlers (6 mos.-3 yrs.). Swim Basics develops personal water safety and basic swimming skills in students of all ages.

Recommended age ranges: preschool youth (3-5 yrs), school age youth (5-12 yrs), teens and adults (12+ yrs). Swim Strokes introduces and refines stroke technique in older students. Recommended are ranges: school age youth (5-12 yrs), teens and adults (12+ yrs).  

Swim Lesson Breakdown


Swim Starters

Swim Starters  make up this parent-child category. Children learn to be comfortable in the water. Rather than teaching children how to survive in the water or become accomplished swimmers, Swim Starters focuses on developing swim readiness skills through fun and confidence building experiences. Parents also learn essential skills in Swim Starters. Close supervision is the best way to prevent drowning. Parents learn how to supervise children in the water, how to prevent accidents and how to plan for emergencies. 


Water Acclimation (1):

Students develop comfort with underwater exploration and learn to safely exit in the event of falling into a body of water. This stage lays the foundation that allows for a student's future progress in swimming. Students will focus on: exploring the aquatic environment with instructor help, developing basic skills to propel and glide with instructor help, learn basic aquatic safety and accepting some responsibility for safe practices.

Water Movement (2):

In this stage, students focus on body position and control, directional change and forward movement in the water while continuing to practice how to safely exit in the event of falling into a body of water. Students will focus on: exploring the aquatic environment without instructor help, develop basic skills to propel and glide through the water without instructor help, learning basic aquatic and boating safety and accepting some responsibility for safe practice.

Water Stamina (3):

In this stage, 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. Students will focus on: integrated arm and leg action, rhythmic breathing in back and front glides, develop forward movement on the front and back, practicing skills and safety techniques in deep water.


Swim Strokes

Swim Strokes stages introduces and refines stroke technique. In these three stages, 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 (4):

Students in this stage develop stroke technique in front crawl and back crawl and learn the breaststroke kick and butterfly kick. Water safety in reinforced through treading water and elementary backstroke. Students will focus on: developing the front crawl and back crawl, introducing components of the breaststroke and butterfly and practicing safety techniques in deep water.

Stroke Development (5):

Students in this stage work on stroke technique and learn all major competitive strokes. The emphasis on water safety continues through treading water and sidestroke. Students in this stage focus of the following: developing stamina in the front crawl and back crawl, developing the breaststroke and butterfly and building endurance techniques for deep water safety.

Stroke Mechanics (6):

In this stage, students refine stroke technique on all major competitive strokes, learn about competitive swimming, and discover how to incorporate swimming into a healthy lifestyle. Students in this stage focus on the following: developing endurance in the competitive strokes, developing skills related to competitive swimming like flip turns and enhancing skills and building endurance in deep water.


Private Lessons

The Worthington Area YMCA offers private lessons in a 1-on-1 environment. These lessons are designed to give participants individualized attention in order to improve their swimming skills. Each session includes five, 30 minute lessons. Private 1:1 Ratio, or Semi Private 1:2 or 1:3 Ratios also available for families. To contact Aquatics Director about setting up Private Lessons, Click Here.



  • Students begin with those skills they are ready to learn.
  • Students achieve new skills often, which helps them build self-confidence.
  • Students have fun and develop new friendships as they get to know one another through group activities.
  • Students gain an important life skill that will keep them safe.


  • Students learn in a student-centered, caring atmosphere and receive personalized attention.
  • Lessons are developmentally appropriate and quickly and effectively teach swimming skills.
  • Well-trained instructors prioritize safety and encourage students to develop a lifelong interest in aquatics.
  • Y staff inform parents of students’ progress and actively encourage at-home activities and conversations related to swimming, water safety, and character development.
  • Lessons promote and reinforce the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.


Financial Assistance Available 

No one will be turned away because you can't afford to pay for a program. Financial assistance is available. Click here for more information.