It may be hard to believe with the weather that we had on Easter morning, but summer is just around the corner! With summer comes the heat and the best way to beat the heat is to swim, of course. Whether you own a pool, have access to a pool or rarely make a splash, learning to swim is a vital life skill that all kids should learn to do. Just for safety’s sake, learning to fall in safely, swim to safety, and tread water are the bare minimum things that people of all ages should comfortably do to increase their chances of survival in the water and to have fun at a pool party! And if your child ends up becoming a little fish, they can always go on to be the next Michael Phelps or get the best summer job ever as a lifeguard.
London has many places to sign your kids up for lessons this spring to get them prepped and ready for the summer months. It’s a great time for a little refresher of their skills.
The City of London, Aquatic Services offers the most extensive variety of swimming and water safety lessons through the Red Cross for every level from babies to lifeguards. Lessons focus on both learning the strokes and how to swim, as well as how to survive and/or help in water situations. They are offered at the city’s three indoor pools (Canada Games Aquatic Centre in northwest London, South London Community Pool in south London, and Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre in east London), as well as out of Stony Creek YMCA. They have lessons for younger children during the weekdays, lessons after school, and on weekends. Their spring session begins at the end of April. The City of London has financial assistance available for families who cannot afford to pay for lessons on their own.
The Boys and Girls Club in downtown London offers Red Cross swimming lessons for all levels and ages. Lessons are open to both members and non-members. The spring session has lessons on either Tuesdays or Saturdays beginning the last week in April/first week in May.
Excel has six levels and a swim team. The program has been designed by swim coach and former Olympian, Paul Midgley, to prepare kids for swim teams and competitive swimming. Lessons are run out of Robarts pool in east London and the swim team is out of the Canada Games Aquatic Centre. Their spring session runs from May to June.
Finan has created their own swimming levels (Tiny Tot 1&2, Learn to Swim 1&2, Level 1-10). Finan focuses only on learning swimming strokes, not on water safety skills. Their spring session begins next week (mid-April). Finan operates out of two pools: the Ramada Inn on Exeter Road in south London and Sugar Creek (off Proudfoot Lane) in west London.
Jolly Swim School has over a dozen different swim levels beginning with Moms & Tots and advancing all the way up to Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross. They teach lessons out of the Berkshire Club in southwest London on Sunday mornings. Their spring begins next week.
There are three YMCA’s in London and all offer swimming lessons. The Bob Hayward YMCA in southeast London has their own levels for children from 3 months old up to 12 years old. The Centre Branch downtown offers the same YMCA levels as well as Swim-Able, a small class lesson for children with learning or behavioural barriers that prevent them from succeeding in regular swimming lessons. Stoney Creek YMCA in north London has swimming lessons that follow the Red Cross levels.
Although Making Waves does not have a spring session, it is definitely worth mentioning and remembering for anyone who has a child with special needs. Children with disabilities are given 1:1 lessons with a volunteer lifeguard (Western students!) on Sunday evenings in the fall and winter. The lessons are held at the UWO Campus in the Western Student Recreation Facility. Children are taught swimming skills at their own pace and ability.