Editor’s note: We’re making every effort to provide you with the most up-to-date information regarding closings and re-openings during COVID, understanding that things can change quickly. Please call ahead before packing the kids in the car for an adventure in the DMV.

It’s time to jump back in to swimming! Grab these kiddie goggles, kick boards & and hooded pool towels and dive in to one of these 10 classes that will have your favorite lil’ fish swimming in no time. From the Goldfish Swim School to the Lowell School,  here are the best swimming classes for kids in the DMV. Splash on!

photo: iStock

Fairfax County Park Authority

Fairfax County boasts over 30,000 swim lessons  every year 9 RECenters. They offer beginning, advanced strokes and private lessons. Possibly the best program in NoVA, Fairfax was selected as the Best Aquatic Program 2018 by Aquatics International Magazine. Just to note, that is literally best in the world, moms & dads! The Virginia Swims program has also won national awards.

9 various locations
Online: fairfaxcounty.gov

photo: iStock

British Swim School

Globally, the British Swim School holds 13,000 lessons per week so they clearly know what they’re doing! They have lessons for babies, children and adults and their core mission is to protect every life from drowning through education and water safety awareness. Rita Goldberg, who founded British Swim School in 1981, employs a methodology that begins by teaching water safety survival skills to children as young as three months old. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children under five so BSS instructors begin with safety skills and water comfort. From Tadpoles to Barracudas, BSS is a great option for beginners.

Various locations
Online: britishswimschool.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.

COVID-19 Update: All aquatic programs remain suspended.

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

photo: Tom Dolan Swim School

Tom Dolan Swim School

The shiny, new Tom Dolan Swim School features three separate pools specifically designed for really getting kids to learn how to swim. We're talking custom teaching ledges and warm water temps that kids slide right into. They also have sound absorbing wall panels so your kids can be in a quiet, soothing environment. Best part? After swimming, your fishes can rinse of in heated deck showers!

COVID-19 Update: Classes are operating at a reduced capacity. Between classes, all instructors wear face masks.

6112-A Arlington Blvd.
Falls Church, VA

22000 Dulles Retail Plaza
Dulles, VA
Online:  tomdolanswimschool.com

photo: iStock

Sunsational Swim School

Think your kid will do better in a one-on-one or semi private lesson? That's Sunsationals specialty! Swim instructors from all over the DMV bring their stroke IQ and easy-going attitudes to your home or community pool for an effective and hassle-free experience. Case in point, you can book lessons for all of your kids back-to-back. That's huge, right?!

Various locations
Online: sunsationalswimschool.com

Nation's Capital Swim Club

Almost forty years old, Nation’s Capital Swim Club has grown into one of the leading swim clubs in the United States. NCAP has 14 different locations throughout the DMV with over 90 professional coaches. They have a program for every ability and age, and is known to produce Olympians. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, US Team Members Katie Ledecky, Jack Conger, and Coach Bruce Gemmell won five Gold Medals and one Silver Medal. In addition, 25 swimmers qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials, the most of any non-college USA Swimming Club. 

COVID-19 Update: For current safety measures, go here.

Various locations
Online: nationscapitalswimming.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." 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 start formal lessons.

Various locations
Online:   happyswimmers.com

photo: Pixabay


The Y is the way to go if you want variety. They’ve got everything from parent/child classes to youth swim leagues. The Y’s Preschool swim lessons teach children valuable life skills, including personal safety, personal growth, stroke development, rescue, water sports, and games. They also offer Adaptive Aquatics for young people with physical and mental challenges.

COVID-19 Update: Worried about a crowded pool? The Y tracks pool capacities; daily numbers are available here.

Various locations
Online: ymcadc.org


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; and an air conditioned viewing gallery for parents to relax, work, read, socialize (digitally and personally), and watch their kids swim. 

Various locations
Online: goldfishswimschool.com

photo: Little Fish

Little Fish

Little Fish offers swim classes for everyone, from children age 6 months, individuals with special needs and even adults! Their strategy it to keep classes small…no more than four students, and a certified coach is in the water at all times! And they don’t just do lessons, their facilities also offer Swim Camps, a Stroke and Fitness Program as well as Swim Parties!

6301 Campus Dr.
Fredericksburg, VA

1600 Mine Rd.
Stafford, VA
Online: littlefishswimming.com

University of Maryland

Offering private, semi-private, or group lessons, the Learn to Swim program at the University of Maryland starts 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.

COVID-19 Update: Due to current campus conditions, fall 2020 lessons have been cancelled.

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

—Meghan Yudes Meyers, Guiomar Ochoa and Katie Brown

featured photo: Goldfish Swim School



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