Whether you believe that your kid might be part-fish or you simply hope to see those little legs kicking more comfortably in the water this summer, swim lessons are the perfect way to dive into the season. While most local counties offer large group swim lessons as part of their parks and recreation community classes, there’s nothing quite like individualized attention. We found a few swim schools throughout the area offering a variety of small group, semi-private, and private lessons.  And if you could use a quick refresher before swim season kicks up, many of them offer adult classes too!

peasapYatmandu via Flickr

British Swim School
Offering programs for little ones as young as three months old and through adulthood, the British Swim School is a franchise operating nationwide, including more than a dozen throughout both Maryland and Virginia. Lessons are held in gyms (the school has partnerships with LA Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness) or local hotels and in groups of four to eight, depending on age and level. Class skills focus on floating and submersion for new swimmers and build up to survival techniques and different strokes. Swim teams encourage competition and team-building!

Various locations
Online: britishswimschool.com

Happy Swimmers USA
With a staff of insured swimming instructors—many of whom are also certified lifeguards—Happy Swimmers USA caters to families looking for private, semi-private, and group lessons in their own home pool or in the public pool of their choice. Their instruction philosophy is to “teach water safety by building a loving, trusting relationship with our students, both children and adults. We don’t teach ‘lessons.’ We don’t force learning. Our instructors are keenly aware of each student’s comfort zone.” Happy Swimmers USA does not offer lessons for children under 24 months, encouraging parents to simply enjoy the water with their babies as a family and wait until the two-year mark to commence formal lessons.

Various locations
Online:   happyswimmers.com

Photo: Matt via Flickr

Goldfish Swim School
Known for its tropical pool climate (they keep the water at a bath tub-like 90 degrees), Goldfish uses a “perpetual lessons model” that lets families choose a lesson time that accommodates their schedule. Facilities are decked out in colorful, kid-friendly tropical décor and boast a state-of-the-art water purification system to keep the pools clean and sanitary; an air conditioned viewing gallery for parents to relax, work, read, socialize (digitally and personally), and watch their kids swim; modern training equipment and tools that support their proprietary curriculum; a private space for parties and events to accommodate groups up to 50 attendee; and an in-house Snack Shack snack bar and Treasure Island Pro Shop to grab a quick treat after lessons or purchase swim gear. With one life-guard certified instructor for every four children, kids from four months to 12 years (and of all abilities) can build swim and safety skills while building character!

Various locations
Online: goldfishswimschool.com

Lowell School
An elementary school bordering Rock Creek Park, the Lowell School Aquatics Program offers private or semi-private lessons for kids or adults three years old and up (note: children must be fully potty-trained, as swim diapers are not allowed). Students begin with water comfort and safety skills, building up to holding one’s breath, air exchange, floating, kicking, and basic arm motions for both freestyle and backstroke. Successive six-week sessions build up to different strokes, endurance, and diving for older swimmers. Looking to encourage team-building? The Lowell School’s Lionfish Community Swim Team is also open to the public.

1640 Kalmia Rd, NW (Rock Creek Park)
Online: lowellschool.org


                                                                       Photo: North Charleston via Flickr

University of Maryland
Offering private, semi-private, or group lessons, the Learn to Swim program at the University of Maryland can accommodate your child’s needs. Start group lessons as early as six months and continue on through stroke refinement and coaching. Adults are again in luck as the instructors offer group and private or semi-private lessons for those who need a little refresher. Note that, if your family schedule tends to change frequently, this program does not allow make up classes due to illness or schedule conflicts.

University of Maryland
Eppley Recreation Center
1115 Eppley Recreation Center (College Park, Md)
Online: recwell.umd.edu 

Potomac Swim School
This child-focused aquatic center prides itself on instructing each child as an individual with different emotional and developmental needs and abilities. Beginner swimmers will learn valuable safety rules and survival skills, also focusing on water acclimation, floating, and kicking skills while being introduced to freestyle and backstroke. As swimmers progress, they will refine their freestyle and backstroke while learning breaststroke and butterfly. Advanced swimmers are taught all four competitive strokes (freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke) as they become developmentally ready. If your child is truly afraid of the water or just needs some extra-special attention, this is the place to go. Pay a monthly, automatically-renewing rate and choose from group lessons or private lessons. Potomac Swim School also offers sibling and multi-class discounts!

21730 Red Rum Dr. (Ashburn, Va)
Online: potomacswimschool.com


Found a great swim school we didn’t mention? Tell us about it in the comments!

–Katie Brown and Tricia Mirchandani