Kids swimming

Kids Swimming Programs

Kids and youth programs come with free parking included during the time of the sessions. 

As a Lifesaving Society training partner, the University of Calgary Aquatic Centre offers lessons for children as young as 3 years old, all the way up to teens and adults. It's never to late to learn how to swim.

Kids' swimming lessons run on specific Saturdays in the fall, winter and spring. Pool temperature is increased to 84 degrees Fahrenheit to make it comfortable for our tiniest swimmers.

Girl swimming laps in UCalgary pool
Baby playing in UCalgary pool


The Canadian Red Cross announced it is winding down its swim and lifeguard programming to direct more attention to surging humanitarian demands in other areas – such as disaster and pandemic response, opioid harm reduction and caregiving for seniors.

Unfortunately, our facility is not designed to support Parent & Tot lessons. For this reason, we have decided to stop offering parented lessons. When your child turns 3 years old and is eligible for Preschool 1, parents will have the option to join their child in the water to assist in the transition of swimming with a parent to swimming with an instructor in a class setting. Please see program descriptions for more details. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to

Swim For Life - Preschool (3-5 years)

Levels progress in this order: Preschool 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Preschoolers will be assisted by their instructor when learning to enter and exit water safely, jump into chest deep water, and put their faces in the water to blow bubbles. Becoming comfortable with floats and glides and moving safely in shallow water while wearing lifejackets will help them gain confidence with their water skills. This program is for children 3-5 years.

Preschoolers will work on becoming more independent with their water skills. Some of these skills include jumping into chest-deep water, exhaling under water, and floating/gliding with various buoyant aids. They will be introduced to lateral rollovers and practice their flutter kick on their backs. This program is for children 3-5 years who have completed Preschool 1.

Preschoolers will kick and glide their way through the water on their fronts and backs. They will work on retrieving objects from the bottom in water that is waist deep, and work towards mastering their floats, rollovers, glides and kicks. In this level they work their way into deeper water for side entries and jumping in with their lifejackets on. This program is for children 3-5 years who have completed Preschool 2.

Preschoolers will gain some independence in deep water. They will practice jumping into deeper water (including getting out by themselves), sideways entries, and opening their eyes underwater. These swimmers in training will work on completing 5m of front crawl in their lifejackets and work on their ability to tread water. This program is for children 3-5 years who have completed Preschool 3.

Preschoolers will work towards achieving important swimming milestones. They will work on being able to support themselves treading in deep water for 10 seconds and complete 5m swims with front and back crawl. Wearing a lifejacket, they will practice forward roll entries into deep water, learn to whip kick in a vertical position, and be introduced to interval training. This program is for children 3-5 years who have completed Preschool 4.

Swim for Life Swimmer (6-12 years)

Levels progress in this order: Swimmer 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Building the foundation of swimming skill development beginner swimmers will gain confidence in the water as they learn safe entries into various depths of water, treading water in a lifejacket, opening their eyes underwater, and breath control. Once they have learned their floats, rollovers, glides, and kicks from front to back, they will front crawl their way into the next level. This program is for children 6-12 years.

Swimmers will gain comfort in deeper water by jumping in, learning their sideways entry, and treading water without a lifejacket. Swimmers will be challenged by the introduction of various skills including, flutter kick on their front, back and side, vertical whip kick with an aid, and swimming front crawl and back crawl for 10m. Swimmers will get to work on their Swim to Survive skills and be introduced to interval training. This program is for children 6-12 years who have completed Swimmer 1.

Swimmers will make a splash with their kneeling dives and forward roll entries. Swimmers will be challenged with the introduction to more difficult (but fun) skills such as handstands in shallow water and in front somersaults (in water). Increased time and distance components are incorporated for skills learned such as flutter kick on front and back, whip kick on back, front and back crawl, and interval training. This program is for children 6-12 years who have completed Swimmer 2.

Swimmers will move from a beginner to intermediate swimming level. Swimmers will complete standing dives, tread water for 1 minute, and work towards being able to swim underwater for 5m. Swimmers will achieve the Swim to Survive standard by being able to roll into deep water, tread for 1 minute, and swim 50m. In addition to improving their front crawl, back crawl, and whip kick, swimmers will be introduced to breaststroke. This program is for children 6-12 years who have completed Swimmer 3.

Swimmers will be challenged with a whole new set of skills; shallow dives, tuck jumps (cannonball entries), eggbeater kick, and backwards somersaults (in water). Technique and endurance will also receive greater focus as swimmers will need to complete longer distance swims and interval training sessions for all their strokes. This program is for children 6-12 years who have completed Swimmer 4.

As the final level in the Swimmer program, swimmers will build up their advaced skill set. Swimmers will work towards mastering stride entries, compact jumps, and lifesaving kicks. They will also refine their strokes to increase their swimming strength, power, and endurance - critical for success in the 300m workout required to complete the level. This program is for children 6-12 years who have completed Swimmer 5.

Canadian Swim Patrol (6 years+)

The Canadian Swim Patrol program provides enriched training for those who are ready to go beyond learn-to-swim. Swim Patrol has three levels: Rookie, Ranger, and Star. 

Develops individual fitness levels to meet a timed 100m swim and 350m workout. Water proficiency skills include: swims with clothes, ready position, foot-first and head-first surface dives. Demonstrating an ability to conduct a primary assessment and initiating EMS are included as first aid skills. Victim recognition and throwing assists are other key elements of the program.


Enhances capability in the water, including stride entry, underwater forward and backward somersaults, lifesaving eggbeater kick and increased fitness levels to meet a 200m timed swim. Rescue skills involve an increased skill level in first aid basics, victim recognition and non-contact rescues.

An excellent preparation for the Bronze Star award, Star Patrol demands good physical conditioning and lifesaving judgment. Participants develop lifesaving and first aid skills; further refine front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke (100m each); and complete 600m workouts and for 300m timed swims.


This program is for swimmers 13 years and older who want to improve their overall physical fitness in the water. Fitness Swimmer provides a structured approach based on training principles and practices including interval training. Participants set their own goals. There are no levels in Fitness Swimmer. Certified instructors will work with swimmers to help them improve their strokes and achieve their fitness goals.

Working with a certified Swim Instructor, children will work on skills in the Lifesaving Society Swim For Life program. This one-on-one experience can be adapted to a child’s individual skills and abilities.