NYC Resources 311 Office of the Mayor

Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Learn to Swim

Knowing how to swim prevents drowning and improves your health, fitness, and safety. To help teach New Yorkers to swim, Parks is offering free swimming lessons for people of all ages at our indoor pools during the fall, winter, and spring.

We offer our summer Learn to Swim classes for tots (1 1/2 - 5 years old), children (6 – 17 years old), and adults (18 years old or older). All Learn to Swim participants, including children, adults, and parents of participating tots must be a member of a recreation center. Please visit our Recreation Center Membership page for more information about our memberships.

Classes

  • Fall Session: October 19, 2015 - January 2, 2016
    Registration opens on Monday, October 5 at noon and ends on Monday, October 12 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Winter Session: January 19, 2016 - March 26, 2016
    Registration opens on Wednesday, January 6 at noon and ends on Tuesday, January 12 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Spring Session: April 4, 2016 - June 11, 2016
    Registration opens on Wednesday, March 23 at noon and ends on Tuesday, March 29 at 11:59 p.m.

About Our Registration

Registration for all Learn to Swim sessions are held through a free online lottery using a secure site. You must have a valid email address to register. If you do not have access to a computer, please reach out to a nearby Computer Resource Center, and ask for its hours.

Lottery and Program Rules

  • You or your child may only register for one class per session. Registering more than once for a session will automatically disqualify you or your child from the lottery.
  •  Parents applying for their children can indicate whether they prefer Saturday or afterschool classes.
  • We will email the results of the lottery to you by Thursday, October 15 for the fall session, Friday, January 15 for the winter session, and Friday, April 1 for the spring session.
  • Lottery selections are non-transferable. If you or your child has won a spot, you cannot give this spot to another person, even if it's another family member.
  • If you or your children are not selected in the online lottery, you will be placed on a waiting list for this program, and will be emailed if a slot becomes available. We are not able to tell you your current place on the waiting list.
  • After the lottery is drawn, any remaining spots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis through a walk-in registration at the class’s location. Walk-in registration will take place from 9:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday, October 17 for the fall session, Saturday, January 16 for the winter session, and Saturday, April 2 for the spring session.

Learn to Swim Sites

There are currently no programs available for registration at this time.

About the Classes

Toddler Classes: 1 1/2 to 5 years Old

Teach your tot to be ready to learn to swim! In this class, we'll get your tot used to the water, with the help of one of our Aquatic Specialists. Parents or guardians help their kids get familiar with the water, become comfortable floating on front and back, and be able to control their breath by blowing bubbles or submerging under water. Toddler classes are held on Saturdays.

Your tot must be at least 1½ years of age on the first day of class. You must bring a copy of your tot's birth certificate or an equivalent document on the day of the first class. Your documents will be returned after verification is completed.

Parents of participating tots must be a member of a recreation center. Please visit our Recreation Center Membership page for more information about our memberships. You must accompany your tot in the water at all class sessions. There must be a ratio of one parent for every tot at each session. Swimmers who are absent from two consecutive classes will be dropped. 

Child Classes: 6 – 17 Years Old

Teach your child to be ready to swim. Your child will be placed in one of two levels of classes. Classes are held on Saturdays, and afterschool from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Level I: Children at this level learn basic aquatic skills. They'll learn how to safely get into and leave the water, how to control their breath by blowing bubbles, how to float and kick on front and back and move through the water. They'll also learn how to stay safe around the water and what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Level II: Children at this level learn to move their arms and legs together in a swimming motion. We'll work on teaching children to swim without assistance, and improve on skills that they learned in Level I. They'll be able to understand dangerous water conditions and how to assist a swimmer in a water emergency.
  • Level III: Children at this level will learn to work on stroke improvement techniques which may include swimming the front crawl with breathing for 25 yards, backstroke for 25 yards, swimming the breaststroke for 15 yards, swimming the butterfly with kick for 15 yards and sidestroke for 15 yards as well as open turns on front and back and body motion.

Your child must be at least 6 years of age on the first day of class in order to participate in the children's program. You must bring a copy of your child's birth certificate or an equivalent document on the day of the first class. Documents will be returned after verification is completed.

Lottery winners for the Saturday classes must attend a mandatory water test to determine the class level. If a child misses the water test and the first day of class they will be dropped from the session. Participants who are absent from two consecutive classes will be dropped from the program. Missing the water test will result in a first absence.

Adult Classes (ages 18+)

Adults must be at the beginner level in order to participate in Learn to Swim classes. A water test will be conducted on the first day of class to determine eligibility. Adults learn basic level swimming and safety skills, including the development of breath control, floating, gliding, kicking on front and back, rotary breathing, arm strokes on front and back, safety skills, and entries and exits. Swimmers who are absent from two consecutive classes will be dropped. 

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