Aquatics

Aquatics have been a part of YMCA programming since 1885, when the first YMCA swimming pool was built in the Brooklyn YMCA in New York.

The following class levels are taught at YMCAs nationally and were established by the YMCA of the USA. The aquatics staff at your branch will help to determine the proper level of instruction for each student.

Parent/Child Swim Lessons: (ages 6 months to 3 years)
A parent/child swim lesson in which children are acclimated to the water through exploratory techniques. Each class is 30 minutes.

Preschool Swim Lessons: (ages 3 to 5 years)
These classes are designed to assist children in personal safety, personal growth, stroke development, water sports and games, and rescues. Skills mastery in all aspects is required before advancement to the next level. Classes are 30 minutes.

Preschool level 1. Pike is our first preschool level without parent participation. Children continue to progress on their skills learned in Parent/Child lessons. There is continued emphasis placed on building endurance, self-confidence, and coordination.
Preschool level 2. In Eel class, children continue to progress on their skills learned in Pike. There is continued emphasis placed on building endurance, self-confidence, and coordination. To enter Eel, a child must have completed Pike or be able to swim on their front, back and side 5 feet without a flotation device.
Preschool level 3. Rays class continues progress on the skills learned in Eel, as well as introduces new strokes. To enter Ray, a child must have completed Eel or be able to swim on their front, back and side 15 feet without a flotation device.
Preschool level 4. Starfish class prepares your swimmer for our school-age youth lessons. The Starfish class continues to progress on the skills learned in Ray. When a child completes the Starfish level, they will have a stronger sense of self-confidence, have built endurance and worked on their coordination. To enter Starfish, a child must have completed Ray or be able to swim on their front, side and back, as well as perform the front crawl and backstroke for 20 feet without a flotation device.

Youth Swim Lessons: (ages 6 to 15 years)
These classes are designed to teach school-aged children personal growth, personal safety, stroke development, water sports and games, and rescue skills for beginner through advanced levels. Classes meet once a week for eight weeks, and each class is 45 minutes. Skills mastery is required before advancement to the next level.

Youth level 1. Polliwogs is for children who do not know how to swim or have never had a structured beginning-level class. Children will become comfortable in the water and learn how to paddle on their front, back and sides with a flotation device.
Youth level 2. Children continue to gain self-confidence in the water, as well as begin to learn to swim without a flotation device on their front, back and side. Front alternating paddle is also introduced. To enter Guppy, a child must have completed Polliwog or be able to swim the length of the pool on their front, back and side with a flotation device.
Youth level 3. Students are moving from beginner to intermediate by improving on their back crawl, elementary backstroke, and front crawl. This class introduces breaststroke, sidestroke, and improves on safety skills. To enter Minnows, a child must have completed Guppies or be able to swim 25 yards on their front, back and sides, as well as, front crawl and back crawl.
Youth level 4. This level continues to develop and perfect the skills and strokes learned in previous classes and introduces the dolphin kick. To enter Fish, a child must have completed Minnows or be able to swim 25 yards front crawl, breaststroke, sidestroke, backstroke, and elementary backstroke.
Youth level 5. Students are introduced to the complete butterfly stroke and breaststroke, and continue to work on endurance and technique on skills previously learned. To enter Flying Fish, a child must have completed Fish or be able to swim 50 yards front crawl, breaststroke, elementary backstroke, backstroke, and sidestroke.
Youth level 6. Students learn the relevance of swimming skills, lifesaving techniques, conditioning, and decision making. To enter Shark, a child must have completed Flying Fish or be able to swim 100 yards freestyle, breaststroke, elementary backstroke, backstroke, sidestroke, and 15 yards butterfly.

The following locations have pools:
Hampton | Luter | Newport News | Northern Neck | Northumberland (outdoor pool only) | R.F. Wilkinson | Victory

The following locations offer Swim Lessons (some only during the summer):
Greater West Point | Hampton | Luter (Smithfield) | Mathews | Middlesex | Newport News | Northern Neck | Northumberland | R.F. Wilkinson (Williamsburg) | Victory (York County) | Westmoreland

Mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.