Swimming is a fun recreational activity that also has a lot of potentially lifesaving benefits. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional deaths in children younger than 15 years old, with more children between the ages one and four dying from drowning than any other cause except birth defects. It is estimated that an average of 11 fatal and 22 non-fatal unintentional drownings occur in the United States every day and over 40% of all drowning survivors that end up in emergency rooms require long-term hospitalization and medical care. Signing up for swimming lessons near you helps you acquire a lifelong skill that not only drastically reduces your risk of drowning but also provides an incredible workout routine and improves your overall health.
When looking for swimming lessons near you for either yourself or your kids, you should make sure that the swimming school you intend to enroll with operates in strict accordance with federal, state, and local pool regulations. With over 309,000 public swimming pools in the country, this might seem like a daunting task. However, by asking the following carefully selected questions, you can narrow your options down and end up with the best options for swimming lessons near you:
Are You Licensed, Registered, or Certified?
In the United States, each state has strict regulations and requirements that govern the construction, maintenance, and operation of swimming pools and aquatic facilities within its jurisdiction. While the specifics of these regulations vary by location, they typically require that swimming instructors be certified in safety procedures like first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the very least. In many cases, these instructors are required to obtain these certifications from recognized organizations like the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, and the American Safety and Health Institute. Before signing up for swimming lessons near you, make sure that the swimming school and its swimming instructors comply with all applicable state regulations as well as any local permit requirements for your area of residence. Request proof of certification from the instructor that will be teaching your swimming lessons and contact the relevant issuing organization to confirm its authenticity. You can also contact your local consumer protection agency to verify if your intended swimming school has met all necessary operational requirements.
In addition, it is a good idea to sign up for swimming lessons with a school or instructor that is an active member of a swimming-related trade association. Swimming-related trade associations generally have strict codes of conduct that their members are expected to uphold. Also, these associations typically provide continuous training, education, and advanced certification opportunities, all aimed at ensuring that member schools and instructors provide safe and optimum services to their clients. Examples of these types of associations include the American Swimming Coaches Association, the United States Swim School Association, and the International Swim Coaches Association.
How Much Do Swimming Lessons Cost?
In the United States, the average cost of swimming lessons is $20 - $60 per hour. Note that some swimming instructors may conduct lessons in half-hour, 45 minute, or 90 minute sessions, and the total cost of your swimming lessons will be primarily dependent on the length of your training session. Other factors that affect the cost of swimming lessons include the type of lesson, your location, age, and your level of swimming experience. Listed below are some common swimming lessons average cost estimates:
- Private lessons (1 2 students) - $40 - $75 per student
- Semi-private lessons (3 5 students) $20 - $45 per student
- Group lessons (6 10 students) - $15 - $25 per student
- Specialty classes - $50 - $150
Some ways through which you can save money on your total cost of swimming lessons include:
- Shop around for prices: doing this helps give you a fair estimate of the cost of swimming lessons in your area and ensures that you do not get overcharged
- Look out for package deals: swimming schools typically offer discounts on bulk purchases and these are a great way to save money on swimming lesson costs. As such, rather than paying for each lesson as you take it, you should consider paying for several lessons upfront.
- Consider private swimming lessons: while group lessons are initially cheaper, in many cases the students end up spending a large part of the session waiting on the sidelines until they can get their turn with the instructor. On the other hand, paying for private lessons offers you more one-on-one time with the instructor. This ensures that you get value for your money and also reduces the overall time that it would take you to properly learn how to swim, which in turn reduces your total cost of swimming lessons.
- Ask about trial lessons: find out whether the swimming school will offer a trial lesson, especially if you plan on enrolling your kids. Trial lessons are a good way to observe a swimming instructor's interaction with you or your kids before you commit to any payments.
- Ask about family or group discounts: many swimming schools offer discounts for individuals that sign-up for swimming lessons with friends or members of their family. If you have more than one kid and want them to learn how to swim, then you should strongly consider taking advantage of any available discounts on multiple enrollments. Doing this not only saves you money but also makes the learning experience more enjoyable for these kids.
What Are Common Swimming Lessons Expenses?
Signing up for swimming lessons near you usually generates certain expenses that are not typically covered by the actual cost of the lessons. Some of the most common expenses generated by swimming lessons include:
- Registration fees: some swimming schools may require you to pay an annual registration fee to access their pools and other facilities. In many cases, these fees are charged per student.
- Swimming accessories: before you begin your swimming lessons, you will be required to purchase appropriate swimming accessories. These include swimsuits, goggles, swim caps, shower supplies, towels, flip flops, and disposable or reusable swim diapers for children that have not been potty trained. The costs of these items are primarily dependent on your personal preferences and they can range from as low as $5 per item to as high as $100 or more.
- Home service fees: if you want your swimming lessons to take place at a residential pool, then you will have to cover the cost of transporting the swimming instructor to and from your home or the location of this pool.
- Specialty lessons: many swimming instructors charge additional fees for injured, special needs, or differently-abled students.
Always inquire about any additional expenses and payments that you may have to make before finalizing arrangements with your intended swimming school. Have a clear understanding of these costs and get a detailed contract from the swimming school or instructor. Doing this limits the possibilities of any financial misunderstandings occurring down the road.
Who Will Do the Work?
Before you sign up for swimming lessons at any swimming school near you, it is important to get details on the swimming instructor that will be teaching these lessons. Confirm that this instructor has obtained basic safety certifications in first aid and CPR from a widely recognized association like the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association. Make sure that the swimming instructor has proper liability insurance coverage, and you can also ask for proof of other relevant advanced certifications or membership in a reputable swimming-related trade association. It is also a good idea to observe the swimming instructor during a training session. This way you can determine if the instructor's teaching techniques and personality match yours or that of the person that will be taking the swimming lessons.
Finally, if you are signing up for swimming lessons on behalf of kids and adolescents, then it is advisable to find out whether the swimming school carries out appropriate criminal background checks on its employees before hiring them. Alternatively, you can contact your local law enforcement and judicial administrative agencies or utilize resources like security companies and private investigators to help you run a background check on the swimming instructor that will be handling the lessons.
What Qualifications Should a Swimming Instructor Have?
Swimming instructors are typically required to have a high school diploma or its educational equivalent and also obtain basic safety certifications from widely renowned organizations like the American Red Cross, the American Safety and Health Institute, and the American Heart Association. Note the Red Cross and other organizations like the American Swimming Coaches Association also provide advanced certification opportunities for swimming instructors, and some employers may require these advanced certifications before hiring a swimming instructor to provide lessons in their facilities. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that approximately 325,640 recreation workers are currently employed in a variety of settings across the country. This includes amusement and recreation industries such as swimming schools and other aquatic facilities where these individuals work as swimming instructors. In addition to obtaining advanced certifications, swimming instructors that wish to demonstrate their level of expertise and professionalism may do so by joining associations like the International Swim Coaches Association and the United States Swim School Association as well as the American Swimming Coaches Association.
Will You Provide References?
During your search for suitable swimming lessons near you, you may likely get referrals on swimming schools from family, friends, and even online referral pages provided by trade associations like the United States Swim School Association. Regardless of how you come in contact with the swimming school, you should always ask for references from a swimming instructor before signing up for any lessons. Asking for references helps you get first-hand reviews and opinions on swimming instructors and is very useful in helping you decide whether or not to go ahead with a particular instructor or search for a different one. Professional and reputable swimming instructors will not only be able to provide you with references but will also do this gladly. On the other hand, if a swimming instructor cannot provide you with the names and contact details of at least three satisfied clients, then this is a strong indication that you should seek another instructor.
In addition to asking for references, you can also get reviews and opinions on swimming instructors through sources like Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Google Review, and any other third-party website that allows interested parties to publish their personal experiences with individuals and businesses that offer consumer services.
Quick Facts about Swimming Instructors
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Expert Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Swimming
How Long Does It Take to Learn to Swim?
The length of time it would take you to learn how to swim primarily depends on how your body acclimatizes to being in the water. Some people pick up swimming easily and naturally, while others take a much longer time and may even find the idea of being in water scary. Nevertheless, many experts believe that it will typically take an adult an average of 20 hours of lessons to learn how to swim.
What Are Some Benefits of Swimming?
In addition to being a fun recreational activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, swimming has several physiological and health benefits. Some of the benefits of swimming are:
- It reduces your stress levels
- It keeps your heart rate up
- It builds and improves your endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness
- It helps with muscle toning and strength building
- It helps you maintain a healthy weight
- It keeps your heart and lungs healthy
- It improves your coordination, balance, and posture
- It improves your flexibility
- It provides a complete body workout experience
- It is a pleasant way to cool down on a hot or sunny day
- It is a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise
- It can be used as a form of low-impact therapy for certain injuries and conditions
- It can be done in a wide variety of places
What Should I Expect from My First Swimming Lesson?
Going to your first swimming lesson can be an exciting and somewhat overwhelming experience. However, knowing what to expect and being prepared before attending this lesson can help reduce your anxiety. Some things to note before attending your first swimming lesson are:
- Remember to bring your swimming costume and other accessories like goggles and hats. Note that some swimming schools may provide these items either when you sign up for the lessons or on your first day
- Arrive early. Doing this gives you enough time to get settled in properly and familiarize yourself with the swimming school and its setup
- Bear in mind that, depending on your initial ability and confidence, you may not do any actual swimming during your first lesson. Your instructor may use this initial lesson to put you through safety basics and help build up your confidence
- Always let your swimming instructor know if you feel that any of the suggested swimming activities are incompatible with your current abilities. Sometimes, a swimming instructor might suggest activities that are outside your comfort zone. While this is necessary to build your skill level, you should never feel embarrassed about letting the instructor know that you feel a bit anxious about carrying out these activities
- Be patient and trust your swimming instructor's experience and expertise. However, this should not stop you from providing feedback that you think will be useful in helping the instructor modify activities to better suit you
What Are the 5 Basic Skills in Swimming?
The five basic swimming skills that all beginners need to learn and master are:
- Breath control
What Are the 10 Safety Tips for Swimming?
Ten safety tips that can help minimize the risk of injury or drowning when swimming are:
- Never swim alone. It is always a good idea to have either a lifeguard or a friend or sibling that is also a good swimmer nearby
- Never leave children unsupervised when they are in the water. You should always be within arm's reach
- Do not play breath-holding games whilst in the water
- Make sure that young children and inexperienced swimmers always wear a life vest
- Do not jump into the water to save a friend. Always draw the attention of a lifeguard if you see someone struggling to keep their head above water
- Always enter and exit the pool properly. Never jump or dive headfirst into shallow water or any body of water that you are unsure of its depth
- Stay away from pool drains
- Always stay within designated swim areas
- Avoid taking alcohol, either before swimming or if you have to supervise swimmers
- Learn how to perform CPR.
What Is a Good Age for Kids to Begin Swimming Lessons?
It is generally recommended that kids should begin swimming between the ages of four and six. It is believed that at this age, most kids can learn how to tread water, float, get to designated exit points, and pick up other basic water survival skills. Nonetheless, you can also enroll kids between the ages of one and four in parent-child swim lessons to introduce them to good water safety habits and build their swim readiness skills.
Are Infant Swim Classes Recommended?
Swim classes are not usually recommended for infants under the age of one because there is no evidence that these classes will actually lower their drowning risk. However, you can enroll these infants in parent-child water play classes to help them get used to being in pools.
How Many Swimming Strokes Are Used in Major Competitions?
Four strokes are used in major swimming competitions. These strokes are:
- The Freestyle
- The Backstroke
- The Breaststroke
- The Butterfly
A combination of all these strokes is known as the Individual Medley.