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!

YOUTH Scholarships available!

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.


Interested in Lifeguarding or teaching Swim Lessons? We're hiring! El Cerrito Swim Center offers flexible hours at a great facility with fun staff. While the American Red Cross Lifeguarding Certification is required of the job, it is not required to interview! Training will be provided once applicant is offered a position. Must be 15 years of age or older to apply. Apply online now!

swim lessons - MS

Photo by Marin Stuart


Resident Registration Wednesday August 4th at 9am
Non-Resident Registration Thursday August 5th at 9am


Lesson Information

  • All Lessons (including Private and Semi-Private) are 25 minutes long.
  • Only the student and one (1) caregiver are allowed to enter the facility during the student's lesson. Caregiver must stay in the dedicated viewing area during lessons.
  • Please do not come to the lesson if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 including: 
      • A fever of 100 degrees or more in the last 24 hours
      • A cough or shortness of breath in the last 24 hours
      • In contact with anyone that has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 2 weeks
  • Students and caregiver will have 5 minutes to exit the facility after their lesson ends.

Session 1: 8/16-9/1 (6 classes)
Session 2: 9/8-9/22* (5 classes)
Session 3: 9/27-10/13 (6 classes)
Session 4: 10/18-11/3 (6 classes)

MW Fall S1-4

Session 5: 11/8-11/24 (6 classes)
Session 6: 11/29-12/15 (6 classes)

All Lessons for Sessions 5 & 6 take place in the Emery G. Weed III Lap Pool!

MW Fall S5-6

Session 1: 8/17-9/2 (6 classes)
Session 2: 9/7-9/23 (6 classes)
Session 3: 9/28-10/14 (6 classes)
Session 4: 10/19-11/4 (6 classes)

TR Fall S1-4

Session 5: 11/9-11/23* (5 classes)
*no class Thursday 11/25
Session 6: 11/30-12/16 (6 classes)

All Lessons for Sessions 5 & 6 take place in the Emery G. Weed III Lap Pool!

TR S5-6

Session 1: 8/21-9/4 (3 classes)
Session 2: 9/11-9/25 (3 classes)
Session 3: 10/2-10/16 (3 classes)
Session 4: 10/23-11/6 (3 classes)

Sat Fall S1-4

Session 5: 11/13-11/20* (2 classes)
*no class Saturday 11/27
Session 6: 12/4-12/18 (3 classes)

All Lessons for Sessions 5 & 6 take place in the Emery G. Weed III Lap Pool!

Sat S5-6 Opens in new window



Mon/Wed & Tue/Thu Lessons (6 lessons):
$81 Res, $99 Non-Res Group Lessons
$205 Res, $253 Non-Res Private
$348 Res, $432 Non-Res Semi-Private*

Mon/Wed & Tue/Thu Lessons (5 lessons):
$67 Res, $82 Non-Res Group Lessons
$170 Res, $210 Non-Res Private
$289 Res, $359 Non-Res Semi-Private*

Saturday Lessons (3 lessons):
$40 Res, $49 Non-Res Group Lessons
$103 Res, $127 Non-Res Private
$174 Res, $216 Non-Res Semi-Private*

Saturday Lessons (2 lessons):
$27 Res, $33 Non-Res Group Lessons
$68 Res, $84 Non-Res Private
$115 Res, $143 Non-Res Semi-Private*

*FOR SEMI-PRIVATE LESSONS: Please enroll first swimmer in private lessons.  Then, email recreation@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us with the date, time, age and name of the second child attending the semi-private lesson.  For semi-private lessons, both swimmers MUST be an equivalent swim level.

Youth Swim Lesson Levels

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

Parent & Tot Swim (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 caregiver.

Preschool Swim (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 are required to wear swim diapers while in the pool.

IMG_6685-MSPhoto by Marin Stuart

Youth Level 1: Introduction to Water (ages 4 - 9 years): This introductory level focuses on basic swimming skills while helping participants adjust to being in the water. A great level for children who have never participated in swim lessons before or are not comfortable in the water.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Private Swim Lessons

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:

Information on the steps the Swim Center is taking to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus, plus information on our programs and how to reserve lanes, is available in the Policies Manual which you can read here (updated version as of 2/11/21).

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.