Living in L.A. means an impromptu dip in the pool or ocean is not just limited to the summer months. Luckily, the city has lots of swim schools to suit every type of swimmer, and some are even available year round. From Parent and Me to private lessons in your own pool, the options are plentiful. With our go-to list, you are sure to find lessons that best suit your little swimmer’s age, skill level, and personality so they can swim safely all year long.
KidSwim specializes in developmental swimming lessons tailored to the needs of each child. They also welcome kids with special needs. Little swimmers will begin with basic water-safety skills, learn proper breathing techniques and then on to more advanced lessons to propel themselves through the water. KidSwim offers private lessons and parent and me classes at your own pool or at one of its six locations in Mar Vista, Hollywood, Miracle Mile, North Hollywood, Pasadena, and Reseda. KidSwim CEO, Lisa Cook also offers free water-safety seminars, which will help you get acquainted with the KidSwim style.
photo: Waterway USA
If you’re looking for year-round swim lessons, Waterway USA in Long Beach is one of the great, local options. Professional swimmer Stella Furmanov founded Waterway USA in 1995 after her infant son was injured in a drowning accident. Furmanov made it her mission to emphasize the importance of water safety from even the youngest age. Water safety and water fun are at the forefront of Waterway USA’s goals and every instructor is a swimming expert or water polo player. Waterway USA takes a developmental approach to their lessons in that certain goals are set for each age group and lessons begin from 2 months on. Lesson are held in an indoor, heated pool, which makes it possible for your little fishies to keep up their swimming game during any season. Group, private and semi-private lessons are available.
photo credit: Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy
Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy
The Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy was founded in 2005 by four-time Olympic Gold Medalist Lenny Krayzelburg. The center focuses on the “SwimRight Method,” which uses the swim-float-swim technique to help your wee water ones develop the skills and confidence to be safe in and around water. Kids learn to first flip to their back to float if they were to fall in the water or get in trouble during swimming. After learning these basics skills, swimmers can advance to more advanced lessons like learning the four competitive strokes: freestyle, backstroke, butte, fly, and breaststroke. Get your future Olympians started here!
5870 Olympic Blvd.
photo: Conrad C. via Yelp
Swim to Me
Conrad Cooper has developed quite the reputation for teaching tots and adults alike to swim. He has over 45 years of swimming experience and is also a skilled scuba and skin diver. Take lessons in his own heated, saltwater pool, complete with a lovely garden and piped music. It’s a truly unique LA experience. Want to have the lessons at your pool or friends? Cooper will come to you, just need a minimum of eight kids.
In the “Swim to Me” method, Cooper builds trust and gets right to work of teaching swimming and developing comfort in the water all while emphasizing the importance of water safety, floating, breath control and propulsion. Sessions consist of five, one-hour lessons and start at age 2 and go up from there.
photo: Kevin Parry via Swim to Bill
Swim to Bill
When Bill Marsh took his own two-year-old daughter to swim lessons with renowned teacher Tom Bradbury he was instantly inspired. Shortly thereafter, he became certified to teach and, in his words, allow kids to “discover” the wonder of swimming. Bill hosts classes in his heated (90-degrees) saline pool in his home in Studio City. Marsh emphasizes his respect for children while also taking a “no nonsense” approach. This doesn’t mean his classes are harsh but he gets right down to the “business of swimming” without any toys, games or manipulation. Classes are small with a limit of three swimmers per class and parents are encouraged to join their little swimmers on the final day. Marsh sets the goal of at least teaching kids to swim back and forth from parent to parent, how to get to the edge of the pool and how to swim to the stairs or walk with their hands to the stairs from the side of the pool. Sessions consist of nine, 30-minute lessons.
photo credit: Rose Bowl Aquatics Center
Rose Bowl Aquatics Center
If it’s variety and lots of scheduling options you need, head up to the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena. This complex hosts classes for everyone from 6 months old on up to teaching anyone who may need a refresher in technique. There are two, and five-week sessions available. Babes can begin with “Rubber Ducky” classes that introduce them to the water and create a comfort level. From there, kids can learn to put their heads under the water, blow bubbles and then move on to preschool and school-age classes to develop swimming readiness skills, stroke proficiency and beyond. Be sure to hang out after class and watch the high dive and water polo teams work out. This opportunity makes the Rose Bowl a great place to get kids excited about all the possibilities for a life of swimming.
360 N. Arroyo Blvd
photo: The Water Whisperer
The Water Whisperer
Founder Emily Cohen created her Water Whisperer technique after teaching her own kids to swim independently. With a lifelong background in the arts and years of experience in children’s education, Cohen has crafted a unique style of teaching that includes toys, fins, puppets and songs and encourages students to develop a personal swimming style. Lessons begin as young as 5-6 months and the Whisperer has a 95% success rate of teaching kids three and up to swim within ten lessons. Classes are available year-round in Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills. Custom schedules are also available.
22725 Ventura Blvd.
Los Angeles City College
While you may think LACC only offers community college classes, think again. LACC is a community resource, and providing affordable swimming lessons for the older set is one of the ways they serve the community. Private and semi-private lessons are available for kids seven and older and group lessons are offered to those 5 and up. There are also Family Swim lessons available on Saturdays for ages 5 and up as well. LACC has an expansive outdoor pool and is centrally located in East Hollywood just blocks from the Metro Red Line. LACC is also just blocks from Scoops Ice Cream, a great spot for potential post-swim treats.
855 N. Vermont Ave.
photo: Head Above Water
Head Above Water
One-on-one lessons are the ticket at Head Above Water (HAW), which offers lessons either in your own private pool or at one of their four pools in West LA, Studio City, and Toluca Lake. HAW offers beginner, intermediate and advanced classes to help kids gain a new skill set at each level and individual classes allow instructors to craft lessons based on each child’s specific needs (and/or fears) without distractions. If your littles are still getting comfortable, parent and me classes are also available. Adult classes are also available if you feel you need a refresher course. HAW offers instruction year round.
photo: YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles
YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles
Lest we forget, the YMCA is still here for the community. Along with gyms, and workout classes, many of the Los Angeles branches also provide swimming lesson. These include parent and me, preschool and kids 6-12. There are a variety of levels offered for everything from the completely inexperienced to experienced “sharks” looking to prep for swim team. In addition, joining the YMCA provides the family with tons of other amenities. Check out your local branch schedule today.
There are multiple locations all over the city, find the one closest to you on their website.
What are your tips for water safe water babies in your home? Share them with us in the comment section! Then, if you’re looking to go practice those new skills, check out our favorite community pools.