Swim Lessons

Swim Lessons

Ages 6 months 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.

You can register online at www.el-cerrito.org/onlinereg


Interested in Swim Lessons, but it's outside your budget? Apply for our 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.

Fall Swim Lesson Registration is ongoing.

ALL REGISTRATION IS DONE ONLINE at www.el-cerrito.org/onlinereg

swim lessons - MS

Photo by Marin Stuart


Swim Lesson Registration is done online at 

Fall Swim Lesson Registration is ongoing. There are still some spots open, register today!

Lesson Information

  • Swim Lessons are extremely popular and will sell out quickly. If you do not get into the and time of your choice, have back up selections ready and make sure to get on the waitlist for any classes that are full. In the event that space opens up, we will process waitlist enrollments accordingly.
  • Waitlists: we are not able to see waitlist positions. If a spot opens up with very little time before the start of class, the entire waitlist may be contacted on a first come, first serve basis. Please check your emails as that is the main method of contact for waitlists.

Fall Swim Lessons spaces available, register for swim lessons here!

Fall swim Lesson Information

These are the minimum number of lessons available. There may be more depending on instructor availability. The registration website, wwww.el-cerrito.org/onlinereg, has the correct classes listed.

Mon & Wed Grid
Sat Grid
Youth Teen/Adult Sessions
Teen/Adult Prices
Teen/Adult Sessions
Youth Prices

Youth Swim Lesson Levels

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

Parent & Tot Lesson (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/caregiver.

Preschool Lesson (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 and children not potty-trained are required to wear swim diapers while in the pool. In order to help with water adjustment, no goggles are allowed in Preschool Lessons.

Parent Child Swim
Photo by Marin Stuart

Youth Level 1: Introduction to Water (ages 4 - 9 years): This introductory level focuses on helping participants adjust to being in the water while learning basic swimming skills. A great level for children who have never participated in swim lessons before or are not comfortable in the water.  In order to help with water adjustment, we highly suggest not using goggles in Level 1. To pass into Level 2, participants must be able to float unsupported on their front and back, and glide for 5 yards unsupported on their front.

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. To pass into Level 3, participants must be able to swim on their front for 10 yards, plus kick on their back unsupported for 10 yards.

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. To pass into Level 4, participants must be able to do Freestyle with side breathing for 15 yards, Backstroke for 15 yards and jump into deep water and recover to the wall.

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. To pass into Level 5, participants must be able to swim Freestyle and Backstroke for 25 yards, and Elementary Backstroke and Breaststroke for 15 yards.

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. The level after this is Gators Pre-Team, please visit www.el-cerrito.org/gators to view their prerequisites.

Girl Floating in Pool

Teen/Adult Group Swim lessons

Teen/Adult Beginning (ages 12+): This beginning swimming class is designed for adults with little or no experience in the water. Participants learn water adjustment skills, floating on both the front and back, front crawl with side breathing, and back crawl. Participants also become familiar with deeper water and will learn basic safety skills. Teen/Adult Lessons are 55 minutes in length.

Teen/Adult Intermediate (ages 12+): Designed for participants who can swim a minimum of 15 yards of freestyle and backstroke, this class will work on developing endurance and further refine strokes. Elementary backstroke, breaststroke, sidestroke, and butterfly will be introduced. Teen/Adult Lessons are 55 minutes in length. Teen/Adult Lessons are 55 minutes in length.

Teen/Adult Fitness (ages 12+): This class keeps participants swimming while helping with endurance and stroke refinement. Participants must be able to swim a minimum of 50 yards of freestyle and backstroke. Teen/Adult Lessons are 55 minutes in length.


Youth Private Swim Lessons (ages 3.5 - 12.5 years): A 25-minute lesson with one-on-one instructor that meets the needs of the young participant. All skill levels and abilities are welcome.

Interested in Semi-Private Lessons? Semi-Private lessons offer two participants with similar swimming abilities a lesson with one instructor. If interested in semi-private lessons, please enroll one of your members for a Private lesson on our website and then email recreation@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us for a staff member to assist you with making it a Semi-Private lesson for your second swimmer.

Teen/Adult Private Swim Lessons (ages 12+): A 25-minute lesson with one-on-one instructor that meets the needs of the participant. All skill levels and abilities are welcome.

Please note:

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 $22 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.

  1. FAQs
  2. Helpful Hints

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.