The City of Toronto offers a full range of Learn to Swim, lifesaving, water sports and leadership programs for participants of all ages and abilities.

Programs vary by location and season. Learn how to register for recreation programs.

For information on advanced programs including Bronze level courses that can lead to employment opportunities with the City of Toronto, visit the Aquatic Certification section on Leadership and Employment Readiness Certifications.

Guardian Swim

  • Age(s): six months to five years old
  • Prerequisite(s): review each program for requirements
  • One caregiver per swimmer must participate in the water at all times

The Guardian Swim program is a three-level progressive program which provides an introduction to the aquatic environment and to basic swimming skills for children with support from their caregiver. The program is designed to promote comfort and safety in the water for the caregiver and child. As this is a progressive program, children should be registered into the appropriate level based on skill, not age.

Guardian Swim 1

Prerequisite: None.

Includes:

  • Introduction to entries and exits, submersion and breath control.
  • Introduction to basic floats with assistance.

Upon successful completion of Guardian Swim 1, swimmers have the option to participate in:

  • Guardian Swim 2
  • Preschool Swim 1, if swimmers are three to five years old
  • Ultra Swim 1, if swimmers are five years old

Guardian Swim 2

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Guardian Swim 1.

Includes:

  • Development of front float, back float, and surface support.
  • Introduction to front and back glide and submersion.

Upon successful completion of Guardian Swim 2, swimmers have the option to participate in:

  • Guardian Swim 3
  • Preschool Swim 1, if swimmers are three to five years old
  • Ultra Swim 1, if swimmers are five years old

Guardian Swim 3

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Guardian Swim 2.

Includes:

  • Development of all skills unassisted.
  • Introduction to front swim with basic arm action, jump into the water with personal flotation device (PFD).

Upon successful completion of Guardian Swim 3, swimmers have the option to participate in:

  • Preschool Swim 2, if swimmers are three to five years old
  • Ultra Swim 1, if swimmers are five years old

Tiny Tots

  • Age(s): 18 months to three years old
  • Prerequisite(s): None
  • Caregivers are not required to go in the water with the child

Tiny tot lessons are 15 minutes in length and provide a ratio of one instructor per participant while completing Learn to Swim skills at their own pace.

Preschool Swim

  • Age(s): three to five years old
  • Prerequisite(s): review each program for requirements
  • Caregivers are not required to go in the water with the child.

The Preschool Swim program is a four-level progressive program. This program series requires children to participate without a caregiver.

Preschool Swim 1: Penguin

Prerequisite: None.

Includes:

  • Introduction to entries and exits, submersion and breath control.
  • Introduction to basic floats with assistance.

Upon successful completion of Preschool Swim 1, swimmers have the option to participate in:

  • Preschool Swim 2, if swimmers are three to five years old
  • Ultra Swim 1, if swimmers are five years old

Preschool Swim 2: Stingray

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to one of the following:

  • Preschool Swim 1
  • Guardian Swim 3

Includes:

  • Development of entries, exits, bobbing and floats without assistance.
  • Introduction to front swim.
  • Continuous swim of three metres.

Upon successful completion of Preschool Swim 2, swimmers have the option to participate in:

  • Preschool Swim 3, if swimmers are three to five years old
  • Ultra Swim 1, if swimmers are five years old

Preschool Swim 3: Otter

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Preschool Swim 2.

Includes:

  • Development of front swim, back swim.
  • Introduction to side glides, sculling, and deep water.
  • Continuous swim of five metres.

Upon successful completion of Preschool Swim 3, swimmers have the option to participate in:

  • Preschool Swim 4, if swimmers are three to five years old
  • Ultra Swim 2, if swimmers are five years old

Preschool Swim 4: Dolphin

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Preschool Swim 3.

Includes:

  • Development of front swim, back swim, and sidekick.
  • Jump into deep water.
  • Continuous swim of 10 metres

Upon successful completion of Preschool Swim 4, swimmers have the option to participate in Ultra Swim 3, if swimmers are five years old.

Adapted Swim

This learn to swim program will encourage individuals with special needs to increase their comfort level in the water and promote aquatic skill development. Visit Accessible Recreation.

Ultra Swim

  • Age(s): five to 16 years old
  • Prerequisite(s): review each program for requirements

The Ultra Swim program provides the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in swimming and water safety. Swimmers should register for the level recommended by their swim instructor on their report card. For swimmers entering the Learn to Swim program for the first time, review the skills below to determine the best level that describes the swimmers swimming ability or visit a local swimming pool during leisure swim to complete an assessment.

Ultra Swim 1

Prerequisite: None.

Includes:

  • Introduction to entries and exits, submersion and breath control.
  • Introduction to basic floats with assistance.

Ultra Swim 2

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to one of the following:

  • Ultra Swim 1
  • Preschool Swim 3

Includes:

  • Development of front swim, back kick and glides
  • Introduction to deep water, surface support, side glide, and kicking.
  • Continuous swim of five metres.

Ultra Swim 3

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to one of the following:

  • Ultra Swim 2
  • Preschool Swim 4

Includes:

  • Development of surface support, side glide, and kicking.
  • Introduction to front crawl, diving, and back swim.
  • Continuous swim of 10 metres.

Ultra Swim 4

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 3.

Includes:

  • Development of front crawl and treading water.
  • Introduction to side breathing, somersault, whip-kick, and forward roll.
  • Continuous swim of 25 metres.

Ultra Swim 5

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 4.

Includes:

  • Development of front dive, forward roll, front crawl.
  • Introduction to back crawl, eggbeater kick, and elementary backstroke arms.
  • Continuous swim of 75 metres.

Ultra Swim 6

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 5.

Includes:

  • Development of front crawl, back crawl, elementary backstroke, and eggbeater.
  • Introduction to stride entries, surface dives, breaststroke, and interval training.
  • Continuous swim of 150 metres.

Ultra Swim 7

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 6.

Includes:

  • Development of surface dives, eggbeater, front crawl, back crawl, elementary backstroke, and breaststroke.
  • Introductions to shallow dive into deep water, clothed treading water.
  • Continuous swim of 200 metres.

Ultra Swim 8

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 7.

Includes:

  • Development of surface dives, interval training, object support and all strokes.
  • Continuous swim of 300 metres.

Ultra Swim 9

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 8.

Includes:

  • Development of non-contact rescues and stroke improvement
  • Introduction to stride jump
  • Continuous swim of 400 metres.

Upon completion of Ultra Swim 9, there are different aquatic streams to pursue depending on your child(ren)’s interests. Please reference the Competitive Swimming and Aquatic Sports, Pre-Lifeguard Programs and Stroke Improvement sections for additional information.

Ultra Youth Swim

  • Age(s): nine to 16 years old
  • Prerequisite(s): review each program for requirements

Ultra Youth Swim program provides the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in swimming and water safety with participants in the same age group.

Ultra Youth 1

Prerequisite: None.

Includes:

  • Introduction of front and back swim, front, side, back glide, submersion and breath control, surface support and deep water.
  • Continuous swim of 25 to 50 metres.

Ultra Youth 2

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Youth 1.

Includes:

  • Development of front crawl, back crawl, elementary backstroke, surface support.
  • Introduction of stride entry, eggbeater, surface dives, breaststroke.
  • Continuous swim of 50 to 100 metres.

Ultra Youth 3

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal toUltra Youth 2.

Includes:

  • Development of entries, surface dives and stroke improvement.
  • Introduction to object support
  • Continuous swim of 100 to 300 metres.

Adult Swim

  • Age(s): 17+ years old
  • Prerequisite(s): review each program for requirements

The Adult Swim program provides the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in swimming and water safety. Participants work on skill items at their own pace.

Adult Swim 1

Prerequisite: None.

Includes:

  • Introduction of front and back swim, front, side, back glide, submersion and breath control, surface support and deep water.
  • Continuous swim of 25 to 50 metres.

Adult Swim 2

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Adult Swim 1.

Includes:

  • Development of front crawl, back crawl, glides, surface support and deep water.
  • Introduction of stride entry, eggbeater, and breaststroke.
  • Continuous swim of 50 to 100 metres.

Adult Swim 3

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Adult Swim 2.

Includes:

  • Development of surface support and stroke improvement.
  • Continuous swim of 100 to 300 metres.

Older Adult Swim

  • Age(s): 60+ years old
  • Prerequisite(s): review each program for requirements

The Older Adult Swim program provides the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in swimming and water safety. Participants work on skill items at their own pace.

Older Adult Swim 1

Prerequisite: None.

Includes:

  • Introduction of front and back swim, front, side, back glide, submersion and breath control, surface support and deep water.
  • Continuous swim of 25 to 50 metres.

Older Adult Swim 2

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Older Adult Swim 1.

Includes:

  • Development of front crawl, back crawl, glides, surface support and deep water.
  • Introduction of stride entry, eggbeater, and breaststroke.
  • Continuous swim of 50 to 100 metres.

Older Adult Swim 3

Prerequisite: Successful completion or skill ability equal to Older Adult Swim 2.

Includes:

  • Development of surface support and stroke improvement.
  • Continuous swim of 100 to 300 metres.

Competitive Swimming

SPLASH Swim Team

Prerequisite (must have all):

  • five to 16 years old
  • swimmers must be able to swim at least two continuous pool lengths (e.g. 50 metres) unassisted to participate in this program.

The SPLASH Swim Team allows swimmers to participate in a recreational competitive swim program. Swimmers are encouraged to expand their swimming skills by practicing their strokes in a team-based environment and showcasing their skills in a competitive setting during swim meets.

This program generally has:

  • One to two practices a week
  • Runs for eight or nine weeks
  • A swim competition in which swimmers compete according to age category

This program requires the review of Ontario’s Concussion Awareness Resources and the City of Toronto’s Concussion Code of Conduct. A signature indicating acknowledgement will be required for participants under the age of 26, or parents/caregivers of participants under the age of 18, on the first day of program participation.

For more information visit Concussion Safety.

Challenge Swim: Bronze, Silver, Gold

Prerequisite (must have all):

  • five to 16 years old
  • successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 7

The Challenge Program is a three-level program that allows swimmers to develop competitive swimming skills and improve fitness and endurance in a non-competitive environment. Swimmers are challenged to improve their own personal swim times and skill. The levels are Bronze, Silver and Gold.

This program generally has:

  • One practice per week
  • Runs for eight or nine weeks

Aquatic Sport

Synchronized Swimming

Prerequisite (must have all):

  • five to 16 years old
  • successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 5
  • able to comfortably swim two widths of the pool

Synchronized swimming is a program that combines swimming, dance and gymnastics in the water. The course focuses on learning basic rhythmic skills and movements and creating individual and team routines. No prior experience required.

Water Polo

Prerequisite (must have all):

  • five to 16 years old
  • successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 6
  • must be comfortable to swim extended periods

Waterpolo is a program that offers swimmers the opportunity to build skills and confidence. Players will be introduced to ball handling, swimming and strategies necessary to the sport. In learning these skills, endurance and appreciation for teamwork are also acquired. This sport is ideal for energetic, competent swimmers.

This program is offered in deep water.

Canadian Swim Patrol

The Swim Patrol Program is a three-level program that allows swimmers nine years of age or older to develop swimming strokes and provide them with entry-level skills to prepare them for the Bronze Leadership Program. The levels are Rookie, Ranger and Star. This program can be offered individually or combined.

Rookie Patrol

Prerequisite (must have both):

  • nine+ years old
  • successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 8

This program will focus on:

  • 100-metre timed swims
  • 350-metre workouts
  • First aid: assessment of conscious victims, contacting Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and treatment for bleeding

Ranger Patrol

Prerequisite (must have both):

  • nine+ years old
  • successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 9 or Rookie Patrol

This program will focus on:

  • 200-metre timed swims
  • 100-metre fitness medley
  • First aid: assessment of unconscious victims, treatment for shock and obstructed airway procedures

Star Patrol

Prerequisite (must have both):

  • nine+ years old
  • successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 9 or Ranger Patrol

This program will focus on:

  • 300-metre timed swims
  • 600-metre workouts
  • First aid: treatment of bone and joint injuries and respiratory emergencies including asthma and allergic reactions

Bronze Star

Prerequisite: Minimum nine years old

Bronze Star and Basic First Aid (CPR-A) is generally the first step in the pathway to learning to be a lifesaver. This course serves as excellent preparation for Bronze Medallion especially for younger swimmers however it is not required.

In this course, swimmers will partake in the following:

  • Do coursework by themselves and with a partner.
  • Develop problem-solving and decision-making skills.
  • Learn one-rescuer adult CPR and obstructed airway response.
  • Learn how to contact Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
  • Develop Water Smart confidence.
  • Develop Lifesaving skills for themselves.

Skills learned in the course are official training certifications of the Lifesaving Society.

For information on Bronze level programs, visit Aquatic Leadership.

Safeguard

Prerequisite: None.

The Lifesaving Society Safeguard Program is a four-hour safety supervision training for youth who accompany groups of children to pools or waterfronts. The course stresses the responsibility undertaken by these group leaders for safeguarding the young people in their care even when under lifeguard supervision. Participants who complete the entire program will be provided with a Safeguard Certificate, issued by the Lifesaving Society.

Stroke Improvement

Stroke improvement allows swimmers to work on stroke correction and improving technique through drills and progressions focused on front crawl, back crawl, elementary backstroke and breaststroke under the guidance of a swim instructor.

Stroke Improvement – Child

Prerequisite (must have both):

  • seven to 16 years old
  • successful completion or skill ability equal to Ultra Swim 5

Stroke Improvement – Adult

Prerequisite: 17 years old+

Swim Fit

Prerequisite (must have both):

  • 17 years old+
  • able to swim two lengths of the pool (50 metres) continuously

The Adult Swim Fit program promotes and encourages fitness through the sport of swimming, to improve swimming ability through stroke improvement, distance and interval drills.

Private

Age(s): three years old+

Private lessons provide a ratio of one instructor per participant while completing swimming skills specific to the participant.

Semi-Private, Tri-Private and Small Group

Other swim lesson options include:

  • Semi-private: Two swimmers per instructor
  • Tri-private: Three swimmers per instructor
  • Small Group: Four swimmers per instructor

Instructor to Swimmer Ratios

Program Max number of participants per swim instructor
Guardian Swim 1 to 3 10
Preschool Swim 1 to 4 4
Ultra Swim 1 to 3 6
Ultra Swim 4 to 5 8
Ultra Swim 6 to 7 10
Ultra Swim 8 to 9 10
Ultra Youth Swim 1 to 3 8
Stroke Improvement (Child & Adult) 8
Adult Swim: Swim Fit 8
Adult Swim 1 to 3 8
Older Adult Swim 1 to 3 8
Canadian Swim Patrol

(Rookie, Ranger, Star Patrol)

12
Bronze Star 12
SPLASH Swim Team 15 per coach
Challenge Swim 12
Synchronized Swim 12
Water Polo 12

Some of our instructional programs may include a swim instructor and aquatic program assistant which might result in a slightly larger class size.

Gender-Specific Swim Programs

We offer gender-specific swim lessons and programming. Visit Swim and Water Play’s What You Need to Know Before You Go section for more information.

Prerequisites

Swimmers can start at a level that matches their current skill and comfort level in the water. Staff can assist in screening swimmers to determine the level that is appropriate. Speak to staff at your local centre for more information.

Caregivers

Caregivers are only allowed in the water in Guardian Swim Programs. This is to help build the swimmers’ comfort and independence in the water – a core skill in learning how to swim.

The ratio of caregivers to participants is 1:1. Caregivers may request an accommodation for twins and children close in age, following registration, by contacting staff at their program location. Accommodation will be made in manageable situations, where safety is not a concern.

Evaluation and Report Cards

  • Swimmers will be screened on the first day of lessons to make sure they are in the appropriate level based on swimming ability.
  • Instructors will continuously evaluate swimmers and will provide feedback to caregivers throughout the session.
  • A report card will be provided to each swimmers at the end of the program. Instructors will indicate the level the swimmers should register in at that time.

Pool Fouling and Closures

On occasion, pools close due to pool fouling. Health regulations require that the pools be closed for up to 24 hours depending on the nature of the fouling. The pool will reopen once the water chemistry is balanced and affected equipment is disinfected.

Help keep our pools clean! Please try to eat a minimum of two hours before swimming.

Cancellations

Lessons may be cancelled due to a pool fouling, mechanical issue or unforeseen circumstance. If a pool is not available for any reason, attempts will be made to offer, in the following order:

  1. Dry land classes which will cover water safety and first aid skills, appropriate to the swim level.
  2. A make-up class.
  3. A credit to the eFUN account.

Cancellations/pool service alerts will be posted per location on Swim and Water Play‘s map/listing.

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