For most of us, learning to swim was a childhood rite of passage, one that we want for our own children, too. Even though we’re surrounded by water, no one’s dipping into the Hudson or East River (for good reason.) Fortunately, it’s easier than you may think to find the perfect swim lessons for your kids, no matter what their age or level. Here are seven of our favorites to get your family water — and warm weather — ready!



For a Lot of Flexibility: Penguin City Swim

Penguin City Swim is one of the most relaxed businesses in this roundup. Owner Gordon Miles grew up competing on swim team, spent his youth as a lifeguard and has a lifetime of swim instructor history behind him, as does his team of instructors. Tell him how old your child is, what afternoon or morning you have free, your kid’s swim level, if there are any special needs, whether you want your lesson to be 30 or 45 minutes, and whether you want your kid to be solo or with one or two other kids, and he’ll find a spot for you. Unlike fancy “destination pools,” Penguin City Swim uses apartment complex pools on the Upper East Side. The flexibility factor is high: you can start and stop lessons at any time. The only catch: Maximum flexibility means fluctuating enrollment numbers, so Miles will only enroll students seven days in advance (to make sure he has space and an appropriate spot.)

Tip: If you’ve missed the sign-up deadline at a larger swim center, it’s worth getting in touch with Penguin City Swim, which has year-round rolling admission with monthly billing.

305 E. 86th St.
Upper East Side

photo: Penguin City Swim 


Does your child take swim classes? Tell us about your experience in the Comments.

—Stephanie Pedersen