Swim Lessons

Lifeguard in training for swim lessons at the YMCA

Swim lessons are a precious investment. Knowing how to swim can save your life, or even someone else’s.

Our certified YMCA instructors have taught thousands of children and adults to swim through our nationally-accredited swim programs. Our swim lessons will give you lifelong skills to help you be safe in and around the water, but there’s more to YMCA swim lessons than learning to swim. We want our students to build confidence in the water, meet new people, and develop a lifelong passion for swimming!  

Starting April 2022, the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce swim lesson report cards will be available online to our members. Have your child’s membership card ready and click the link below to review their swim report card.

How to Register

To ensure you get a spot in your lesson of choice, we strongly recommend that members visit their ACTIVE Net account and mark their favourites to register for lessons.

On registration day, it is fastest to go through ACTIVE Net to ensure you get your first choices

Alternatively, members can visit our Welcome Desk in person. Due to staff shortage, we will not be conducting registration by phone or email.

Upcoming Registration Dates:

Summer Session (July 2 – August 18):

  • Member: June 25, 2024 at 12:00 p.m.
  • Public: June 27, 2024 at 12:00 p.m.
Interested in outdoor swim lessons? Check out Harrison Park Pool and Blue Dolphin Pool!

Swim Absences

Please call 519-376-0484 ext. 226 if you know your child will not be attending lessons or volunteering. We will inform your child’s Instructor.

Pool Policy

In order to ensure you are completely satisfied with your swim experience, please review our Pool Policy prior to arrival.

Swim Lessons Levels

All YMCA memberships include one group swim lesson per session.

Teach your child the important water safety skills at a young age. Parent or guardian must be in the pool with the participants. This class mainly takes place in the leisure pool.

Skills covered include:

  • Water orientation
  • Front and back tows
  • Splashing
  • Blowing bubbles
  • Games
  • Safety education for parents
  • Entries and exits
  • Kicking
  • Floats
  • Using lifejackets

Beginner Levels
This class takes place in the leisure pool. Beginner level of swim lessons for participants ages 3-6 and includes Bobber and Floater levels. 

  • Bobbers:
    • Assisted entries and exits
    • Blowing bubbles
    • Bobs
    • Kicking
    • Front and back glides
  • Floaters:
    • Basic water safety
    • Open eyes underwater
    • Front and back floats glides
    • Using buoyant aids

Mid Preschool Levels
Mid level of swim lessons for participants ages 4-6 and includes Glider and Diver levels. The child has completed several lesson sessions prior to enrolling into this class. Your child should be comfortable with their face in water

  • Gliders:
    • Introduction to deep water skills (glides, surface support)
    • 5m swim on front and back
  • Divers:
    • Dives
    • Breath control
    • Front, back and side glides
    • 10m swim on front and back

Higher Preschool Levels

Higher level of swim lessons for participants ages 5-6. Your child has completed Divers.


  • Dives
  • Surface support in deep water
  • Front swim 10 meters with backswim 10 meters continous


  • Standing dive
  • Underwater swim
  • Front crawl
  • Back crawl

Beginner Levels
Otter and Seal levels are for children who are not confident in deep water.

  • Otter:
    • Water orientation
    • Submersion
    • Front and back floats
    • Front, back and side glides
  • Seal:
    • Deep water orientation
    • Breath control
    • Front, back and side glides with kick
    • Diving into deep water

Higher Levels
Dolphin and Swimmer levels are for children who are confident in deeper water. These classes take place in the lane pool.

  • Dolphin:
    • Introduction to front crawl
    • Introduction to back crawl
    • Vertical surface support
    • Front, back and side glides with kick (10 meters each)
  • Swimmer:
    • Front crawl
    • Back crawl
    • Sculling
    • Surface dives
    • Front, back and side glide (25 meters each)

Star Level 1 & 2
Participants are confident in deeper water and can swim two lengths of the pool. Skills covered include:

  • Front and back crawl
  • Intro to whip kick and breaststroke
  • Sculling
  • Vertical surface support
  • Eggbeater

Star Levels 3 & 4
Participants are confident in deeper water and can swim two lengths of the pool with effective front and back crawl and whip kick. Skills covered include:

  • Elementary back stroke
  • Front and back crawl advanced level
  • Eggbeater
  • Dolphin kick
  • Breaststroke
  • Sidestroke
  • 150m swim
  • Front, back and side floats

Star Leadership Level 5
Participants must have successfully completed Star 4. Skills covered include:

  • Butterfly
  • 500m endurance swim
  • Lifesaving Society Rookie and Ranger Patrol First Aid
  • Swimming and rescue components
  • Intro to swim instruction

Star Leadership Level 6
Participants must have successfully completed Star 5. Skills covered include:

  • 600m endurance swim
  • Lifesaving Society Swim Patrol First Aid
  • Swimming and rescue components
  • Swim instruction continued
  • Advanced swimming stroke standards

Adult Lesson: Beginner
It’s never too late to take the plunge! Learn the basics of swimming with the guidance of an instructor. Gain confidence to swim on your own.

Adult Lesson: Deep/Advance
Refine the strokes of your choice, develop endurance and learn new skills under the direction of an instructor. Swim for fitness, health and wellness! Must be comfortable in deep water.

Work one-on-one with an Instructor to improve strokes or skills that need a little extra practice. All ages are welcome. Bring your most recent swimming progress report with you for your lesson. Please specify swimming or ability level at time of registration.

Must register through ACTIVE Net and payment must be made in full at time of registration.

Transitioning Between Swim Lessons

Children who have started but not completed the Preschool program can continue in the Learn-to-Swim program once they are 6 years old. Preschool levels contain similar content to the Learn-to-Swim levels. Content and teaching style are geared towards the age of the participants

Refer to the chart below, along with your child’s report card to determine which level your child should be registered in.

Level you were registered in If you were INCOMPLETE, register in If you were COMPLETE, register in
Bobbers Otter Otter
Floaters Otter Otter
Gliders Otter Otter
Divers Otter Seal
Surfers Seal Seal
Jumper Seal Dolphin

Comparison chart as of February 2011. The chart should be used as a guide only. These are program equivalencies. For example, if your child has successfully completed Red Cross Swim Kid 1, they would enrol in YMCA Seal level.

Red Cross Swim PreschoolYMCA
StarfishSplashers (3-18 months) (parented)
DuckBubblers (19 months – 3 years) (parented)
Sea TurtleBubblers (19 months – 3 years) (parented)
Sea OtterBobbers (unparented)
SalamanderFloaters / Gliders
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