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Learn to Swim Lessons

Thank you to all participants for a great 2018 season.  We are currently planning for the 2019 season, which will begin in April 2019.  Please check back January 25, 2019 for more information about the 2019 season.


​Frequently Asked Questions:

What should my child wear to swim lessons?

Your child should arrive to their swim lesson with a towel, goggles, cap or hair tie, and swimsuit. We do have full shower facilities and changing rooms available. We also have ElitSwim caps for sale on deck that you may purchase on the day of your lesson.

 Children under three (and older if not fully potty-trained) must wear a swim diaper or a plastic-lined swimsuit/diaper. Swim diapers can be purchased at most supermarkets, drug stores, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

Where do I go on the day of class?

On the day of your class, please check in at the swim lesson table for ElitSwim on the pool deck.

  • At the San Ramon Olympic Pool, the check in table will be located near the Lap Pool.
  • At the Dougherty Valley Aquatic Center, the check in table will be located next to the entrance to the Play Pool.
How many lessons will it take until my child can show progress?

There is no definite time in which your child can start progressing. It will depend on the child’s acceptance of new learning situations, natural learning abilities, desire, attitude and confidence. Learning is a gradual and ongoing process. Some children take to the water right away and pick things up very quickly. Others are hesitant, but with patience will learn the same skills in a slightly longer period of time.

The most important thing to remember is to never compare your child’s progress to another child. All children are different and we need to let them learn at their own comfort level. It also depends on what you are looking to get out of the lessons. If you want your child to learn competitive swim techniques, that will take longer than if you want your child to learn basic swimming or water safety skills. On average, our typical student is with us for anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks of lessons in each level.

 What we recommend!

Water is a very challenging environment and if you want your child to improve in a short period of time then we definitely recommend a minimum of two lessons per week and for multiple weeks. This will give your child the frequency to start feeling more comfortable in the water, remember instructions from their previous lesson and allowed to make changes in their balance in the water and in their strokes in general.

How many weeks of swim lessons will it take for my child to become "water safe?"

Every child is different and progresses at his or her own rate. Most children remain in the same level for several sessions before graduating to the next level--especially beginners. Our lessons are short and students are not expected to become experts after one lesson. We ask parents to be patient and to give their children the time needed to build their confidence, coordination, and comfort in the water. It may take longer than you initially anticipate.

The term "water safe" can be misleading and shouldn't be equated with your child's acquisition of certain swimming skills (e.g. learning to float, being able to swim 5 yards unassisted, etc.). Only you can know when you feel comfortable letting your child out of your reach, sight, etc. when in the water. Our program seeks to develop your child as a well-rounded swimmer as well as to have an understanding of general water safety and an awareness of their individual limitations so they can make good choices and remain as safe as possible in or around water. We ask parents to remember that swimming is a life skill, not a pastime, and to allow the necessary time for your child to become a proficient swimmer.

What are the benefits of Private Lessons vs. Group Lessons?

Both types of lessons have their benefits for different types of children. Private lessons often yield faster results due to the undivided attention your child will receive from the instructor. However, many children benefit from the inherent "peer pressure" of a group setting. A shy or tentative child might be more inclined to try a skill after seeing another student in the class try it and receive positive feedback from the instructor.

If your child has special needs and/or will need a great deal of attention, private class may be better for their progress.

If your child struggles to keep up with a regularly scheduled class, a series of private lessons to help them progress might be a option you should consider.  

Progress can be contagious. If you are truly undecided, we recommend trying a session of Group Lessons and a session of Private Lessons and seeing which one works best for your child.

My child is too old for the beginner lessons…

At each swim lesson level, there is generally a range of ages represented by the students. Your child may be beyond the general age range of group lessons. This is where private lessons are an excellent alternative. With one-on-one attention, your child can not only get age-specific attention, they have the opportunity to learn at a faster pace.

I read the descriptions of the levels and I think my child is somewhere in the middle of two levels; should I register for the higher or the lower level?

If you are unsure of what level to register for, always choose the lower level. We assess the students' ability to make sure everyone is in the correct class. If your child needs to be moved, it is easier for us to move them up a level.  If you prefer, after registering for the lower level, please attend a Swim Lesson Assessment Day.  You can find specific dates and times listed above or in the activity guide.  

What if my child is scared or cries during the lesson?

Our teachers are trained to work with even the most fearful or nervous swimmers. Reassure your child and then let the instructor build your child's confidence. Common fears in young children are separation anxiety and for older children fear of the water. These fears will diminish with time and with positive encouragement from you and the instructor.  

We recommend that you do not pull your child out of the pool during a lesson or stop lessons altogether. This can be detrimental, because it allows the fear to be reinforced without giving the instructor the opportunity to alleviate the student's fears. If your child has had a previous traumatic experience with the water we suggest starting with private lessons.

Your child’s safety is our top priority. Please be patient and allow the instructors and staff to do what they do best – teaching every child to learn and love to swim!

Should I be visible during my child(ren)'s group lesson?

If the child is constantly asking for their parent throughout the lesson, the teacher is probably competing for your child's attention.  In this case it is best to have the parent “out of sight and out of mind” until the child begins to bond and trust the teacher. We want parents to watch the entire lesson but prefer that they stay out of sight.

Your child’s progress and safety comes first, but your presence can be a distraction for the teacher as well. For this purpose, we prefer you stand either across the pool from where the teacher is instructing the swimmers or simply out of view.

Should I be visible during my child(ren)'s private lesson?

Sometimes children feel more secure with a parent present, however if your child is hesitant to enter the water they may need very specific one on one instructions from the teacher. It is ideal for the benefit of the student to experience as few distractions as possible during the lesson.  

Please work with the teacher and consider their instructions. You may need to stay close or give additional space during the lesson to provide an optimal learning environment.  

Can I take a video or photos of my child during group lessons?

Pictures and videos should be taken on a very limited basis and include only your child and should not distract the class or instructor. Please respect the privacy of all other participants in our programs.

Can I take video or photos during my child's private lesson?

Yes, you definitely can as long as you don't distract the teacher or the swimmer. If you prefer,  a private lesson can be arranged for you to video or take pictures of your child in the pool. 

If my child misses a class can I schedule a make-up lesson?

No make-up lessons or credits are given for missed classes.  If a class or session is cancelled by ElitSwim, a credit or refund will be issued to your account. To reschedule or request a credit/refund in advance, please follow these guidelines:

 7 Days Before the Program Begins or the Registration Deadline

1.   You  may  withdraw  from  the  program/class  online  and  have  a  credit  placed  on  your account.

2.   Full refunds (less processing fee) will be issued for requests received 7 days prior to the start of the class/program.

 Within 7 Days

 1.   Credit (less processing fee) will be given if the program meets the minimum attendance requirements.

2.   Refunds (less processing fee) will only be given if a substitution is made for your spot.

 After the Program Begins

    All refund requests after the program begins are not guaranteed. Program supervisors will review them on an individual basis.

   Failure to attend a program (no shows) will not be granted a refund or credit.

   Refunds or credits will not be issued for requests received after the program is finished.

What are good hygiene practices for swimming?
  • Please don’t swim when you have diarrhea.  You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.  Persons having current active diarrhea or who have had active diarrhea within the previous 14 days should not enter the pool water.  
  • Please don’t swallow the pool water.  Avoid getting water in your mouth.
  • Please practice good hygiene.  Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.  Germs on your body end up in the water.

Three Steps for Parents of Young Kids

Keep germs out of the pool:

  • Please take your kids on regular bathroom breaks or check diapers often.  Waiting to hear “I have to go” may mean that it’s too late.
  • Please change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside.  Germs can spread in and around the pool.
  • Please wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming.  Invisible amounts of fecal matter can end up in the pool.
How do I continue swimming year around after the swim lesson season?

We suggest the ElitSwim year round program. You can find more information regarding the program and coaching staff at

Who do I contact for swim lesson questions / more information?

For more information, please contact us at 973-3240 or speak directly to the ElitSwim staff on the pool deck.