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Swim Lessons

Bellingham, Ferndale* & Lynden Program Centers

By creating strong, confident swimmers the YMCA Swim Lessons helps to empower kids and adults to be safe around water.

Stages of Learning


6 months - 3 years (Stages A & B)


3 - 5 years (Stages 1-4)


5-12 years (Stages 1-6)


12+ years (Stages 1-6)

Swim Starters

Parent & Child Lessons

Level A: Water Discovery: Introduces infants & toddlers to the aquatic environment

Level B: Water Exploration: Focuses on exploring body positions, blowing bubbles and fundamental safety and aquatic skills


Accompanied by a parent, infants and toddlers learn to be comfortable in the water and develop swim readiness skills through fun and conficence-building experiences, while parents learn about water safety, drowning prevention and importance of supervision.

Swim Basics

(Safety Around Water) Recommended skills for all to have around water.

Level 1: Water Acclimation: Increases comfort with underwater exploration and introduces basic self-rescue skills performed with assistance.

Level 2: Water Movement: Encourages forward movement in water and basic self-rescue skills performed independently.

Level 3: Water Stamina: Develops intermediate self-rescue skills performed at longer distances than in previous stages.


Students learn personal water safety and achive basic swimming competency by learning two benchmark skills"

•  Swim, float, sequencing front glide, roll, back float, roll, front glide & exit.

•  Jump, push, turn, grab.

Swim Strokes

Skills to support a healthy lifestyle.

Level 4: Stroke Introduction: Introduces basic stroke technique in front crawl and back crawl and back crawl and reinforces water safety through treading water and elementary backstroke.

Level 5: Stroke Development: Instroduces breast stroke and butterfly and reinforces water safety through treading water and side stroke.

Level 6: Stroke Mechanics: Refines stroke technique on all major competitive strokes and encourages swimming as part of a healthy lifestyle.


Having mastered the fundamentals, students learn additional water safety skills and build stroke technique, developing skills that prevent chronic disease, increase social-emotional and cognitive well-being, and foster a lifetime of physical activity.


Specialized Tracks


Students build confidence, cultivate their passion and stay active through specialized tracks.

For information about CPR or Life Guard classes contact Tish O'Keefe at 360-733-8630 or tokeefe@whatcomymca.org.

*Ferndale swim lessons are held at the Super 8 Motel in Ferndale. Super 8 is located at I-5 and Axton Road.