Make a splash

Knowing how to swim can save your life — or even someone else’s. Taught by certified YMCA instructors, our swimming lessons will give you lifelong skills to help you be safe in and around the water. But there’s more to YMCA swim lessons than just learning to swim. We want children to build confidence in the water, meet new people, and hopefully develop a lifelong passion for swimming!

Explore our swim lessons to find the program that’s right for you or your child.

Lil' Dippers – Parent & Tot Programs | 0mos–2yrs

Learn how to be safe and have fun in the water with your child.  Children grow their comfort and confidence to prepare for independent swim lessons.  In the Parent and Tot program, you will learn how to hold and assist your child, entering and exiting the water safely, splashing and kicking, getting face wet, blowing bubbles and bobbing, assisted front and back floats, and towing.  Lil’ Dippers Parented Program is required to register.

Lil' Dippers Programs | 3-5yrs


Floaters: (No parents)

An introductory level for children between the ages of 3-5 years old who have not had any previous swimming experience. Children learn to float and swim on their own. (4 children maximum for this class)

Gliders: (No parents) Prerequisite: Floaters

Preschoolers start independent glides and kicking in the water. Endurance is built through increasing distance for front and back swims. Ages 3-5 years

Divers: (No parents) Prerequisite: Gliders

Children are building endurance and working on their front and back swims. Arm action is introduced. Also working on their flutter kicks.

Surfers: (No parents) Prerequisite: Divers

Children working on being more comfortable in the deep water. Surface support is increased to 30 seconds.

Dippers: (No parents) Prerequisite: Surfers

For the stronger preschool swimmer. Building on deep water skills. Introduction to front crawl and back swim. Also water safety. Ages 3-5 years

Learn to Swim Levels


Children will learn to do floats and glides unassisted. They will also learn flutterkick, and complete a 5 metre endurance swim. This is the first level of children ages 6 years old and up.

Seal: Prerequisite: Otter

Children will continue to work on their floats, front glides and back glides. Surface support in chin deep water is introduced. Building endurance by increasing the distance of front and back swims to 10 metres.

Dolphin: Prerequisite: Seal

Children begin to work on front crawl, while continuing to increase their endurance to be able to swim 25 metres. Working in the deep water and becoming more comfortable. Surface support for 30 seconds in deep water.

Swimmer: Prerequisite Dolphin

Children tread water for 60 seconds, learn to dive, and have an introduction to rescue breathing. Endurance is increased to 50 metres, and front and back crawl are improved.

Star Swimming Levels

Star 1:

Water safety becomes more of a focus, as candidates learn to do a primary assessment and the Lifesaving Society ladder approach. Children learn elementary backstroke and endurance swim is 75 metres.

Star 2: Prerequisite: Star 1

This level is packed with new skills such as stride entries, time swims, endurance swims and more. Elementary backstroke is the new stroke learned. Endurance swim is 150 metres.

Star 3: Prerequisite: Star 2

Skills such as recognizing weak and non-swimmers, throwing rescue aids and eggbeater are learned. Candidates learn breaststroke, and must complete a 300 metre endurance swim.

Star 4: Prerequisite: Star 3

Children learn how to treat victims with hypothermia and airway obstructions. Sidestroke is introduced, and the endurance swim is 400 metres.

Star 5: Prerequisite: Star 4

Individuals will learn boating self-rescue, as well as compact jumps, and removals. Butterfly is introduced and the endurance swim is 500 metres.

Star 6: Prerequisite: Star 5

Candidates help teach a swim skill, as well as deal with unconscious choking victims. Water polo and synchronized swimming skills are introduced. Endurance swim is 600 metres.

Star 7: Prerequisite: Star 6

Candidates should at this level have learned all of the strokes. All strokes should be at the advanced level. Lifesaving and fitness concepts are focused on at this level.

Did you complete the star levels? Are you wondering what is next?

To learn more about advanced Aquatic courses, like Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross, please click here.

To find the swim lesson schedule, please click on the arrow.

Private Inclusion Swim Lessons

Scheduled just outside of group lesson times and designed to fit into your schedule, Private Inclusion Lessons are a great option for children needing a more adaptive program. These lessons are staffed with swim instructors trained to help overcome barriers when instructing kids with physical/cognitive challenges. Including these strategies results in greater swimmer support in a more relaxed and calm environment compared to group lessons.

Private Swim Instruction

Private lessons provide one-on-one instruction to meet each swimmer’s individual needs. All lessons are 30 minutes in length.  (Members only. $20.00 a lesson)

Customized Private Swim Lessons

Customized Private Swim Lessons (YMCA Members Only. All ages) *New program
Please contact or 902-752-0202 ext. #223 (Members only. $20.00 a lesson)

Adult Swimming Lessons

Learn the basic swimming skills to become comfortable in the water.  You will learn to safely enter and exit the pool, how to move through the water, and to float with and without assistance.  Other skills such as breathing techniques, flutter kick, and front and back swimming may be introduced depending on individual abilities.  Adult lessons are drop-in and non-registered program. See Program and Facility Schedule for days and times offered.

Autism Swim Lessons

In partnership with Autism Pictou County we provide one to one swim lessons for a half hour each week for persons with autism spectrum disorder and related disorders. The program is focused on teaching water safety and survival first with swimming skills evolving naturally as they progress.

Registration for this program takes place through Autism Pictou County. For more information, please contact Autism Pictou County.

Swimming Lessons will start up again on September 14, 2020. Re-registration is required; registration begins on August 6, 2020.

Once you complete a level you are automatically moved to the next level. 

New to YMCA Membership or returning to lessons? Register at anytime at the YMCA Membership Services. 

Pictou County Tri Club

Did you know that the YMCA is also home to the Pictou County Tri-Club?

From beginner to more advanced, everyone is welcome to attend weekly drop-in training meet ups.

Youth Tri Ages 12-16 (New Program)

Youth Tri Club will happen on Monday nights and each week will be either swim, bike, or run. This group will focus on the components of a triathlon but is also a great option for individuals looking to cross train for their respective sports. Youth Tri will meet in the youth room before moving to designated area for that week.
Dates  Times
coming Fall 2020

Registration is available at the YMCA Membership Services. To learn more about this program, please contact Heather Beaton at