Swim Lessons

Ages 2 years and older
Learn-to-swim in a safe and fun environment! Our instructors have been trained to teach lessons so you can get the most out of learning while staying safe from COVID. Private Lessons for Youth and Adults. Semi-Privates available for members of the same household with similar swimming ability.

Scholarships available!

Interested in Swim Lessons, but it's outside your budget? Apply for a scholarship! The David Hunter Memorial Scholarship Fund is to help youths participate in recreation programs at a reduced payments. For more information or to apply, visit the David Hunter Memorial Scholarship Fund page.

swim lessons - MS

Photo by Marin Stuart

Dates and Times

Spring Session: Saturday May 22 - Saturday June 5 (3 Lessons)
Summer Sessions: TBD

Each lesson is 20-minutes long with 5 minutes after the lesson to exit the facility.

Activity Pool:

  • 9am
  • 9:30am
  • 10am
  • 10:30am
  • 11am
  • 11:30am


Lottery Registration begins Thursday May 13th at 9am and closes Sunday May 16th at 12pm
Lottery winners will be chosen and notified on Monday May 17th
Swim Lesson lottery registration will be for RESIDENTS only. If after winners are chosen there are still spaces available, enrollment will open to both Residents and Non-Residents on Monday May 17th at 12pm.

Here are step-by-step Lottery Registration Instructions.

Due to the high demand of our Swim Lesson program, plus the limited amount of instructors and space, registration will be by lottery. The lottery system takes anyone that registered for the lottery and randomly selects "winners" that will be registered in those time slots. More information about the lottery system will be available soon, including a how-to register.

register online here!

lottery information

  • For step-by-step instructions on registering using the lottery system, please download this PDF.
  • Each member of your household that you wish to enroll must have a birthday in our system. To update birthdays, please email recreation@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.
  • Enroll in only one time choice per child. You will be asked for your second and third time choices on another screen. ENROLLING IN MORE THAN ONE TIME CHOICE WILL MAKE YOU INELIGIBLE IN THE SYSTEM FOR LOTTERY SELECTION.
  • Lottery winners will be emailed on Monday May 17 before 12pm noon.
  • If chosen as a "winner" you must go online and pay the registration balance within 24 hours. After 24 hours, you will be cancelled from the lesson and the next "winner" will be enrolled.
  • To pay your balance, go to the online registration page and log in. Click on "My Account" at the top of the page, and under "History & Balances" click "Pay Old Balances."

Lesson Information

  • Lessons will be taught in a physically distanced format. Instructors will be wearing face shields and staying 6 feet away from students.
  • If student is 6 years of age or younger, or unable to swim (level 2 and lower), a caregiver who is comfortable swimming must accompany the student in the water during the lesson. Students swimming ability is at the discretion of the instructor.
  • Only the student and one (1) caregiver are allowed to enter the facility during the student's lesson. Caregiver must stay in the dedicated viewing area during lessons.
  • Every student and caregiver must pass a health screening before entering the facility. The health screening includes staff verbally asking and tracking answers to the following questions:
      • Have you had a fever (100 degrees or more) in the last 24 hours? 
      • What was your temperature reading today? 
      • Have you had a cough or shortness of breath in the last 24 hours? 
      • Have you been in contact with anyone that has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 2 weeks? 
  • If the answer to any of these questions is YES or the temperature reading that is reported was 100 degrees or more, than you should immediately go home. 
  • Students will have 5 minutes to exit the pool after their lesson ends.


For 3 Lessons:
$99 Resident Private
$123 Non-Resident Private
$165 Resident Semi-Private for two students ($69 after paying $99 for first student)
$207 Non-Resident Semi-Private for two students ($87 after paying for first student)

Youth Swim Lesson Levels

Please read the following level information to help describe the students swimming ability:

Parent & Tot Swim (ages 6 months - 3  years): Teaches parents basic water safety while introducing tots to new skills and fun. Songs, water safety, entering and exiting the water, and holding techniques are some of the topics covered in this lesson. Infant or toddler is accompanied in the water by their parent/guardian(s).

Preschool Swim (ages 2.5 - 4 years): An introduction to swim lessons, this level focuses on building comfort and enjoyment in the water using songs, games and play. Children ages 3 and under are required to wear swim diapers while in the pool. Caregiver must accompany child in water for lessons.

IMG_6685-MSPhoto by Marin Stuart

Youth Level 1: Introduction to Water (ages 4 - 9 years): This introductory level focuses on basic swimming skills while helping participants adjust to being in the water. A great level for children who have never participated in swim lessons before or are not comfortable in the water. Caregiver must accompany child in water for lessons.

Youth Level 2: Beginning Aquatic Skills (ages 4 - 10 years): For children who feel comfortable in the water, especially on their back, and with their face fully submerged in the water. This level emphasizes floating by yourself and learning some beginning strokes. Caregiver must accompany child in water for lessons.

Youth Level 3: Fundamental Aquatic Skills (ages 5 - 11 years): For children who can swim unsupported freestyle and backstroke for at least 10 yards. This level focuses on developing freestyle, backstroke, and elementary backstroke. Breaststroke and treading water are introduced. Caregiver may have to accompany child in water for lessons.

Youth Level 4: Stroke Development (ages 6 - 13 years): Children must be able to swim freestyle and backstroke for 15 yards with side breathing. This level emphasizes developing techniques of different strokes with an introduction to turns.

Youth Level 5: Stroke Refinement (ages 6 - 13 years): Children must be able to swim at least 25 yards of freestyle, backstroke, elementary backstroke and breaststroke. This level refines all strokes, including butterfly, while working on endurance and flip turns.

Please note:

Information on the steps the Swim Center is taking to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus, plus information on our programs and how to reserve lanes, is available in the Policies Manual which you can read here (updated version as of 2/11/21).

High-Use Facility: This is a high-use facility with multiple programs happening at a time. During your reservation time, other programs may be occurring that have loud music or amplified sound.

Verification of Residency: Proof of household address may be requested at any time to verify residency. This may be in the form of a utility bill or rental lease.

Swim Lesson Cancellation Policy: Make-up classes are not available. Requested refunds or transfers will be approved only if initiated no later than 10 business days prior to the first day of class. All refunds/transfers will be charged a processing fee of $21 per class. Refunds will not be granted after the first class meeting except in the case of medical emergency and must be submitted within 48 hours. Cancellations, transfers, and schedule changes will not be granted for non-attendance. Refund requests must be made by email to: recreation@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us. We reserve the right to cancel any sessions due to low enrollment.

The Swim Center is CLOSED on City Holidays:
Monday, May 31, 2021

  1. FAQs
  2. Helpful Hints

Question: Why do I need to get in the water with my child for their swim lesson?

Answer: The Swim Center and the staff are taking every precaution to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This is done through physical distancing and face coverings. Since face coverings are not supposed to be worn in the water, staff must maintain at least 6-feet of distance from other staff and participants. Because of this, caregivers need to help the instructors with students who cannot swim. 

Instructors will teach the lesson like normal, but give a little extra instruction to the caregivers on hand placement and how to move the child in the water.

Question: How do I know what level to register my child?

Answer: Current, all lessons are private lessons, so you do not need to know the level. However during registration, there is a question to describe your child's current swim level or ability. Use the descriptions above to help answer that question.

Question: What do I need to bring to swim lessons?

Answer: Please ensure your child is wearing a well fitting, comfortable swimsuit. Goggles are recommended for Levels 2-5 or if your child does not feel comfortable opening his or her eyes under the water. Don’t forget a towel and some flip-flops for before and after the lesson. Swimmers with long hair should tie hair back or wear a swim cap. And please remember sunscreen, even on cloudy days!

Question: What if my child cries or is afraid?

Answer: Overcoming fear is part of swim lessons. Our swim instructor staff are knowledgeable and enthusiastic with these situations. If you need help encouraging your child into the pool let our staff know. Instructors will encourage your child to join the class in a manor that is responsive to his/her needs. Sometimes tears can have their root not in fear but in separation anxiety. This is part of the learning process as well. If you feel your child may be experience separation anxiety rather than fear of the water it is best to keep your distance during the lesson. Removing yourself from the child’s sight during the lesson may be required in certain situations. In such cases, the child will usually calm down when the parent is out of view and be able to focus and rely on the teacher for instruction and help.

Question: What if my child is sick?

Answer: If your child has a fever or stomach or digestion problems please keep them home from their lesson. If they have a runny nose or cough swimming does not usually worsen these symptoms. You do not have to alert the pool if your child will miss a lesson due to sickness.

Question: Do you offer make-ups or credits for missed classes?

Answer: We do not offer refunds, credits, or make-ups for missed classes. If your child is unable to attend, we look forward to seeing your child at his/her next scheduled lesson. Consistency is important. Please do your best to regularly bring your child to swim lessons. If the Swim Center cancels a class for reasons within our control, we will offer credits as appropriate.