Warmer temperatures are moving into the Charlotte area and signal the impending arrival of spring break, summer and all the water-related activities that come with them.
And as families plan their returns to lakes, pools and beaches, many are looking to make sure everyone who hits the water can swim.
Children are usually ready for lessons at a relatively early age, and learning to swim can help prevent tragedy, experts say. “Learning to swim should be a priority for every family,” advises the American Academy of Pediatrics, noting that drowning is a “leading cause of injury death” in children and adolescents.
Here’s what you need to know to find a place where you or your child will take swimming lessons in Charlotte:
What to look for in a swim school
Before signing up for swimming lessons, you should do your due diligence to ensure that you are working with qualified professionals. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends looking for a number of factors in a program, including:
Instructors who are “certified by a nationally recognized learn-to-swim program”
CPD and first aid certified lifeguards on duty
Program that includes safety habits around water
Curriculum that includes “aquatic skills such as self-rescue” for situations
Programs involving multiple classes
Swimming pools with clean, warm water, especially when enrolling young children
For children 4 and under, programs that “include tactile supervision” and “encourage parent involvement”
You should also consider asking to observe a class before enrolling, advises the academy.
Charlotte Swim Schools
Once you or your child are ready to take swimming lessons, there are several lessons and programs to choose from in the Charlotte area, such as:
What there is to know: Aqua-Tots is a national chain of swim schools with a location in Charlotte. They offer classes for children of different ages and adults. They follow safety protocols, including COVID-related recommendations, from the United States Swim School Association and the United States Centers for Disease Control.
Cost: Prices vary by program and range from around $100 to over $500.
How to register: You can register for online classes at aqua-tots.com/myers-park and get more information by calling 704-486-8121 or emailing [email protected]
What there is to know: Charlotte Aquatics offers swimming lessons for babies, children, teenagers and adults of all levels, including group lessons and private lessons. The group partners with national organizations, including the United States Swim School Association and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.
Cost: Lessons range from $28-$35 per lesson for group lessons to $57 per person for private lessons.
How to register: You can register for lessons at charlotteaquatics.com or by calling 704-341-9673.
Mecklenburg Park and Recreation
What there is to know: Mecklenburg Park and Recreation offers swimming lessons for babies, children, teenagers and adults. The department also offers lifeguard courses and aquatic exercise classes.
Cost: Classes cost between $48 and $80. The cost is lower for members.
How to register: Register for lessons online by visiting mecknc.gov/ParkandRec/Aquatics/Programs.
YMCA of Greater Charlotte
What there is to know: The Charlotte YMCAs offer classes for people of all ages, including children, teens, and adults. Branches are following COVID-19 safety protocols.
Cost: Prices vary by course, but range from around $60 to $150, with members paying a discounted price.
How to register: Sign up for lessons at your local YMCA branch by visiting ymcacharlotte.org/programs/aquatics/swim-lessons.
What there is to know: Evolutionary Aquatics offers swimming lessons for beginners, intermediate and advanced, as well as water aerobics lessons, kayaking lessons and lifeguard certification courses. Non-profit center inclusion and diversity – they also teach black swimming history. Evolutionary Aquatics also offers private lessons. All participants must be 18 years or older.
Cost: Prices vary by course, but range from $45 to $150.
How to register: Find more information and register for online courses at jotform.com/app/213545945224154/page/0.
Water Safety Tips
Whether you or your child have taken swimming lessons, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you always take precautions when you are near water, including:
Never leave children alone near water, including “bathtubs, swimming pools, hot tubs, or other open water”
A “supervising adult with swimming skills” should always be on hand for young children “in or around” the water
Do not do other activities such as reading, texting, or mowing the lawn while supervising children in the water
Don’t drink or use drugs when in or around water, “especially when watching other people”
Wear a life jacket when “in, on or near natural bodies of water”. Weaker swimmers should also consider wearing one in the pools.