Swim Lessons & Aquatics

Swim Lessons
Working from the overall Y philosophy of self-development, the emphasis in our swim lessons is on learning, not passing or failing. It is the goal of our swim lessons to build self-esteem and assist personal growth by using encouragement and praise.

Learn about Swim Testing and Evaluations in our Aquatic Safety Policy

Our Y Swim Lessons Program is a National YMCA program following the guidelines of the YMCA of the USA. Our Swim Lesson staff is dedicated to fulfilling the YMCA mission in a safe and caring environment. Each instructor is certified in Lifeguarding or Aquatic Safety, CPR for the Professional and First Aid. The instructors are also required to have a national swim instruction certification. Instructor Assistants have been trained in Water Safety, First Aid and assisting techniques.

Descriptions of the swim lesson levels are below. Lessons are divided into three main categories: Parent-Child (ages 6-36 months), Preschool (ages 3-5 years), and Progressive (ages 6-12). Private, Teen and Adult lessons are also offered.

Swim classes for those over 3 years old, with the exception of Pike A and Polliwog, require a swim evaluation for placement by Aquatic Staff. Please call to schedule your free evaluation at your branch:

Audubon YMCA: Contact Erica (610)-539-0900
Phoenixville YMCA: Contact Maureen (484)-921-5846.
Pottstown YMCA: Contact Sandy Messner, (610)-323-7300.
Spring Valley YMCA: Contact Lisa McGregor (484)-984-2011.
Upper Perkiomen Valley YMCA: Contact Michael, (215) 679-9622

Click here for the complete list of days and times lessons are being offered

Parent-Child (Ages 6 -36 Months)

This water enrichment program provides a positive environment for children ages 6-36 months with a parent or guardian in the water. Parents are guided through basic swimming skills by our trained instructors. If a child is not fully potty trained, the child must wear a swim diaper

Shrimp & Kipper (6-18 months)
Fun with games, songs and nursery rhymes while introducing basic swimming skills during this water adjustment class.

Inia (19-30 months)
Fun with games, songs and nursery rhymes while introducing basic swimming skills and the use of floatation aids.

Perch (30-36 months)
Pre-requisite: Inia. Parents teach introductory swimming skills and safety precautions to their child guided by the instructor. Children should be comfortable wearing a flotation device to aid their learning and not be fearful of the water. The class prepares children for lessons without parents in the pool.

Pre-Pike (30-34 months)
For children ready to move out of Perch who are not yet 3. Child must be independently swimming with the bubble. Parent will be in the water with their child, but instructors will be working with the children.

Pre-School (Ages 3-5)

Children learn the fundamentals of swimming with emphasis on personal safety and developing strength, endurance and coordination. If a child is not fully potty trained, the child must wear a swim diaper.

Pike A
First level without a parent. Introduction to basic skills, kicking, paddling, blowing bubbles, and putting head under water. Goal is independent swimming with bubble and barbell, along with the socialization in a class environment.

Pike B
Students will increase endurance using kickboards and swimming further distances wearing a flotation aid. Skills introduced include front and back floating, jumping into deep water, and breath control. Child needs to be able to swim 8-10 feet and float 5 seconds without a flotation aid to move into Eel.

Advanced beginner level for children who can swim independent from the instructor, but still need the assistance of a bubble. Stroke development is emphasized and children will begin to swim further distances unassisted. Child needs to be able to swim unassisted half pool length with face in water to move into next level.

Intermediate level class using minimal flotation aid. Correct body positioning and swimming with face in water is emphasized. Backstroke and deep water skills are developed. Student needs to swim the length of the pool unassisted with no flotation aid on both front and back to advance to the next level.

Advanced level class practicing all skills without flotation aid. Development of rotary breathing, endurance, and advanced strokes.

Starfish Club
The most advanced level for 5 & 6 year olds. This class is for kids who are ready for the progressive lessons but are still in Kindergarten. Must be referred by instructor!

Progressive (Ages 6-12)

Children learn the fundamentals of swimming and water safety with increased stroke development and endurance building as the level increases. Students should be in 1st grade or above.

Inexperienced through beginner. Introduces basic floats, freestyle, breathing control and water safety. Students need to swim length of pool and float 10 seconds unassisted to move to the next level.

Advanced beginners. Introduces front crawl, rotary breathing and backstroke. For children to move to the next level, they should swim freestyle with rotary breathing the length of the pool and tread water for 30 seconds.

Intermediate level emphasizes endurance, refines freestyle and backstroke. Breaststroke and side stroke introduced. Students should have the ability to continuously swim freestyle for 2 lengths and backstroke 1 length to move to the next level.

Participants will refine breaststroke and sidestroke while increasing endurance with freestyle and backstroke. Butterfly is introduced and more advanced water safety skills are discussed.

Flying Fish/Shark
Swimmers must be able to swim 100 yards of freestyle/backstroke, 25 yards of breaststroke and attempt the butterfly. Must also be able to do a flip turn.

Private Swim Lessons

Gain confidence in the water or improve your swimming skills with swim instruction tailored to your individual needs. Lessons are available for all ages. We do our best to coordinate days and times for your convenience depending on pool availability. For more information on private lessons at:

Audubon YMCA: Contact Janet, (610)-539-0900
Phoenixville YMCA: Contact Jeff (484)-921-5845 or Maureen (484)-921-5846.
Pottstown YMCA: Contact Sandy Messner, (610)-323-7300.
Spring Valley YMCA: Contact Joyce (484)-984-2012.
Upper Perkiomen Valley YMCA: Contact Lisa, 215-679-9622

Along with swim lessons, the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA offers a diverse aquatics program. The benefits of participating in our YMCA aquatics classes and programs include better mobility in water, a sense of respect for all types of bodies of water and more enjoyment when swimming with friends. Lifeguarding is a great way for teens to learn valuable life-saving skills and provides them with excellent career opportunities at the YMCA. Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA lifeguards must consistently demonstrate accountability and leadership. In 2006, over 300 lifeguards kept watch over our swimmers. 70% were young adults under the age of 22. Their role as YMCA lifeguards has taught them the value of responsibility and being someone people can trust.

Our Youth Aquatics classes and activities include:

  • Special Needs Aquatics Program
  • Synchronized Swimming Lessons & Team
  • Gym & Swim classes
  • Lifeguarding & CPR Courses
  • Teen Aquatic Workout
  • Mighty Mites & Seahawks Summer Squirts Pre-Swim Teams
  • Masks, Fins & Snorkels
  • Blue Wave Swim Team

Click here for the complete list of days and times Youth Aquatics classes are being offered.