Swim Lesson Tips
The Pleasant Valley Aquatic Center Swim Lesson Program offers classes for every level of swim ability. The levels are progressive so children can build on skills learned in the previous level. For specific level descriptions and prerequisites please review our Class Levels below.
Please remember when registering your child for swim lessons that it is not uncommon for children to repeat a level several times. If your child has taken swim lessons before, but it has been more than three months since they last took a lesson, we suggest you enroll your child in the last level they were in--regardless of whether they passed or not. Also, when in doubt as to which level to enroll in, it is best to choose the lower level so as to build your child’s confidence in the water.
Please remember the age minimums are a suggested guideline. Children learn to swim at their own pace. Should you need to enroll your child in a level where he or she is younger than the age minimum, please call the District Office at 805-482-1996, or register in person.
Please use the following guidelines to help you choose a level that is right for your child. Should you have further questions or concerns, please call the Aquatic Center at 805-987-8198.
- If your child is under 3 years of age, he or she must enroll in a Parent and Child Class.
- If your child is three years of age and has no previous water experience, is timid of the water, or has never been in a group class without a parent, then he or she should be enrolled in the Preschool Aquatic level. This class is taught primarily on the stairs and wall.
- If your child is three years of age or older, has limited water experience, enjoys being in the water, and does not mind being in a class without a parent, then he or she should be enrolled in Level 1. This class is taught primarily on the stairs with lots of assisted practice in the 3 ½ ft. depth.
- If your child is four years or older, is comfortable in the water, can submerge their face in the water, and/or has passed Level 1, then he or she should be enrolled in Level 2. This class is taught primarily in 3 ½ ft – 4 ½ ft water.
- If your child is five years or older, is confident in the water, able to swim five body lengths of front and back crawl, can float unassisted, and/or has passed Level 2, then he or she should be enrolled in Level 3. This class is primarily taught in water between 5 ft and 10 ½ ft.
- If your child is six years or older, can swim 15 yards of front and back crawl and elementary backstroke, can tread water for 30 seconds, can breathe to the side while swimming front crawl, can perform sitting and kneeling dives, and/or has passed Level 3, then he or she should be enrolled in Level 4. This class is taught in water up to 12 ft. deep.
- If your child is six years or older, can swim 15-25 yards of front crawl, back crawl, breast stroke, sidestroke, and elementary backstroke, can perform open turns for front and back crawl, can tread water for up to two minutes, can perform a stride and standing dive, and/or has passed Level 4, then he or she should be enrolled in Level 5. This class swims the entire length of the pool and is primarily taught in water 12 ft. deep.
- If your child is seven years or older, can swim 25-50 yards of front crawl, back crawl, breast stroke, butterfly, sidestroke, and elementary backstroke, can perform a flip turn while swimming front and back crawl, can tread water for up to three minutes, can perform a shallow angle dive, and/or has passed Level 5, then he or she should be enrolled in Level 6. This class swims the entire length of the pool and is primarily taught in water 12 ft. deep.
- If your child is 14 years or older and is interested in swim lessons we offer Adult Swim Lessons and Private Lessons. These classes begin in the shallow end and progress to deeper water as the class advances.
- If your child has passed Level 6, or is too advanced for swim lessons, but would like to improve his or her strokes, we suggest he or she tryout for the Pleasant Valley Swim Team.
Adaptive Swim Lessons **NEW**
These private Swim Lessons are designed for individuals with special needs only. A staff member will contact you prior to the start of the lesson.
Parent & Child Aquatics
Age: 6 months to 3 years.
This class helps parents and infants become comfortable in the aquatic environment by playing games and developing skills. Parents are taught to safely work with their child in the water, including how to appropriately support and hold their child, as well as several water safety topics. As they progress they will explore more advanced skills including front and back glides with assistance, and changing direction in the water.
Emphasized in the Parent and Child class, is safety and water exploration to help infants have fun in the water. Together, parents and toddlers learn new holding and support techniques and explore more advanced skills including, front and back glides with assistance and changing direction in the water.
Parent & Child Aquatic Courses are designed for parents and infants, between 6 months and 3 years old, enjoying their first water experience together. These classes provide parents with information and techniques to create safer aquatic experiences for their children. Songs and games are used to present a variety of water orientation and adaptation skills in a pleasurable and reassuring environment.
These classes are not designed to teach children to swim on their own. Instead, these classes lay an early foundation for children to succeed in the Learn to Swim Program with the objective of having fun and becoming comfortable in, on and around water. They also help parents feel more comfortable handling and playing with their child in the water. One parent or adult must accompany each child in the water. Children who are not potty trained must wear swimming diapers and plastic pants with full elastic legs and waist over their diapers.
Orientation to the Water Environment - Age: 3+
Preschool Aquatics are for preschool children ages 3-4 years with limited or no water experience. These classes are without a parent or guardian.
This is a Childs first experience in a lesson without being accompanied by an adult. Songs, games, and activities help orient pre-school age children to the aquatic environment. Children learn basic aquatic skills while developing positive attitudes, good swimming habits and safe practices. Prerequisite: Students should be comfortable in the water without a parent and be able to sit on the steps.
Learn to Swim classes teach aquatic and personal water safety skills in a logical progression. Consisting of 6 levels, participants build on their basic skills to learn various strokes on the front, back and side. As the levels increase, participants learn to refine the different strokes and build endurance. In addition to the skills required to pass a level, participants must also successfully complete an Exit Skills Assessment before moving on to the next level. Please note, the age requirements for the Learn to Swim levels are guidelines only. Each child will advance at their own rate and we can accommodate them so long as they meet the prerequisites of the level they are enrolling in. It is common for most students to repeat levels.
Introduction to Water Skills - Age: 5+
This level is designed for students with limited water experience who still enjoy their water time. Activities help participants feel comfortable in the water environment and introduce basic swimming skills that are built on subsequent levels, such as: supported floats and glides, alternating arm and leg technique, and retrieving submerged objects. Prerequisites: Students should be comfortable in the water without a parent and be able to hold onto the wall. All skills are assisted by the instructor.
Prerequisites: Must be able to hold onto the wall.
Fundamental Aquatic Skills - Age: 5+
Students are comfortable in the water and ready to learn the fundamental skills of swimming. Level 2 teaches floats without support and how to recover to a vertical position. Participants further develop alternating arm and leg actions on the front and back that lay the foundation for future strokes.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Level 1. Must be able to put their face in the water.
Stroke Development - Age: 6+
Students are confident in the water on both their front and back. In Level 3, students are introduced to dolphin kick, scissor kick and breaststroke kick, and continue to build on their swimming skills. Level 3 students are challenged more by swimming 25 yards of the pool. Prerequisites: Successful completion of Level 2, and must feel comfortable swimming freestyle and backstroke.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Level 2. Must feel comfortable swimming front stroke and swimming on their back.
Stroke Improvement - Age: 6+
This level continues to develop confidence in the strokes learned thus far by improving their freestyle, backstroke, and elementary backstroke, as well as their endurance. Students learn the butterfly, sidestroke, and breaststroke in this level. Level 4 students are challenged by swimming continuously with the introduction of turning on the wall.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Level 3.
Stroke Refinement - Age: 7+
In this level, students are strong swimmers and refine their strokes and continue to build endurance. Swimmers will strive to successfully swim 100 yards freestyle and backstroke, and 50 yards of butterfly and breaststroke. Level 5 students are also introduced to more advanced skills including flip turns and surface dives.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Level 4.
Swimming & Skill Proficiency - Age: 7+
This level prepares students for the swim team, or Jr. Lifeguard program. Students swim continuously with more ease, proficiency, power, and smoothness over great distances. In Level 6, students focus on competitive starts and flip turns.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Level 5.
Adult Learn to Swim
This class helps participants learn basic water safety, conquer fear of the water, and improve swimming ability. The class focuses on fundamental swimming skills such as floats, glides and front crawl. Classes are kept small so individual goals can be emphasized and individuals may stay challenged as they progress.
Private Swim Lessons
Enjoy 25 minutes of private instruction to fit your needs. Perfect for adults and children! If you or your child needs to work on a specific skill, receive extra help to pass a specific level, or would benefit from one-on-one instruction, private lessons are the perfect option. Private lessons are offered on Saturday mornings and weekday evenings.