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SOMERSET COUNTY & PLAINFIELD YMCA - HomeFor Youth Development; For Healthly Living; For Social Responsibility

Swim Lessons


Swimming is a vital skill that makes life safer and more fun. The YMCA has a long history of teaching swim lessons and is credited for being the first to develop a group swim instruction program in 1909. Over the years, at Somerset County YMCA, we have taught thousands of children, adolescents and adults to swim, which has helped to minimize the risk of drowning in our community. 
Experienced instructors offer group and private swim lessons for all ages and abilities at Bridgewater, Hillsborough, Somerset Hills and Somerville YMCAs. Swim lessons, offered year-round, build self-esteem, confidence and fitness.

What's New

We have come a long way since that first group lesson, and we’re excited to present the latest upgrades to you. Our new swim curriculum is based on extensive research and is focused on building strong, secure and confident individuals — we look forward to seeing swimmers advance more quickly through the stages. Learn more below; if you have any questions, please let us know.

Please see our Member Policies & Procedures page for additional information regarding cancellations, refunds, and more. 
Swim Program Overview

Our swim lessons are specifically tailored to the participant’s age, swimming ability, level of physical development and confidence in the water. Participants will progress to the next stage based on swim evaluations. It is not uncommon for participants to remain in the same stage for multiple sessions while they develop all the skills necessary to advance.

YMCA Swim lessons help adults, kids and families learn an important life skill and supports them in gaining the knowledge, ability and stamina to become strong and confident swimmers. Our program uses skill-based instruction through activities, maximizes physical activity, emphasizes safety, elevates character and engages families.

Swim Lessons Categories & Stages

Swim Lessons Categories:

There are three main categories of swim lessons. Within this framework, there are stages of developmental milestones. See the Swim Lesson Selector prior to registering to learn more about placement and new class title equivalents to the former fish-named classes.

  • Swim Starters: develops water enrichment and aquatic readiness in children ages 6 months to 3 years. This category focuses on developing swim readiness skills through fun and confidence-building experiences. Parents also learn how to supervise children in the water, how to prevent accidents and how to plan for emergencies.
  • Swim Basics: develops personal water safety and basic swimming skills in students of all ages. Swimmers develop a high level of comfort in the water by practicing safe water habits, engaging in underwater exploration and learning how to swim to safety and exit if they fall into a body of water.
  • Swim Strokes: introduces and refines stroke technique in older students (school age, teens and adults). Having mastered the fundamentals, students learn additional water safety skills and build stroke technique, developing skills that maintain good health, increase well-being and foster a lifetime of physical activity.
Goodbye Fish - Hello Stages:

The fish names we previously used to identify the different levels have been replaced with names that more closely align with the skills we will work on in each stage. Swim stages A and B give our youngest friends, infants and toddlers, an opportunity to get comfortable in the water with a parent or guardian. In stages 1-3, our certified swim instructors facilitate activities that focus on building confidence in the water, instilling good water safety habits and personal growth. In stages 4-6, instructors help swimmers build confidence in deep water as well as work on stroke techniques. This exciting new curriculum helps each participant experience a sense of accomplishment after each lesson.
Swim Philosophy

Our Swim Program philosophy promotes the use of bubbles (flotation devices) to help children gradually become accustomed to the water. We remove the bubbles periodically throughout the program to test your child’s buoyancy and to build confidence.

If you have questions about the appropriate stage for your child, please schedule an evaluation with us (see below for contact information).

Swim Instructors
Y swim instructors are nationally certified. Their training includes CPR, AED, First Aid and Oxygen Administration. Swim lessons provide important life skills that could save a life and will benefit participants for a lifetime.
Swim Information & Policies
  • Accessibility
    Each of our pools is handicap accessible so those with limited mobility can enjoy the therapeutic qualities of water.
  • Class Cancellation
    Classes may be canceled due to low enrollment. In these cases, you will be contacted by the Aquatics Director.
  • Swim Lesson Wait List
    If your child is placed on the wait list for a group swim lesson, you will be contacted directly via email or phone if a space becomes available. We will try our best to accommodate your request for a lesson.
    • In most instances, a current participant must drop out of the class for the space to become available
    • In some cases, depending on the level and assistant availability, we can add an assistant to increase the ratio
    • Priority is given to individuals who are not currently registered in a class so that we can accommodate as many children as possible
    • Since we have a set number of lanes, we typically cannot open one class without cancelling another class with low enrollment
    • We will take participants off the wait list through the third class of the session

For more information about our Aquatics program, please contact:

Bridgewater YMCA & Somerville YMCA: Christina Huang via webmail or phone: 908 722 4567 x625.

Hillsborough YMCA programs: Lisa Slover via webmail or phone: 908 369 0490.

Somerset Hills YMCA programs: Duke Munzer via webmail or phone: 908 766 7898 x518.