Learn to Swim at the Y!

We believe that swimming is an essential skill for kids of all ages. Our swim lesson program provides guidance and instruction tailored to the age and ability of every swimmer.

Swim Lessons are offered at Downtown Berkeley (indoors), Oakland (indoors), and Pleasant Hill (outdoors) branches at different times throughout the year.

Our swim lessons are for YMCA of the East Bay members only. Members can register for swim lessons at any available branch.

Currently, we're offering group lessons for kids ages 3-12 years old.

Take a look at our session dates and program and safety policies below!

Session Dates

Swim lessons run twice a week on a Monday / Wednesday schedule, a Tuesday / Thursday schedule, or once a week on Saturdays. Take a look at our dates below and see what works for you!

Monday & Wednesday Sessions

  • November 14 - December 7 (No class 11/23)
  • January 9 - February 1 (No class 1/16)
  • Feb 6 - March 1

Tuesday & Thursday Sessions

  • November 15 - December 8 (no class 11/24)
  • January 10 - February 2
  • February 7 - March 2

Saturday Sessions

  • January 7 - February 25

Swimming Levels

Find the right level for your swimmer below, then click your location button to register.

Please note that additional registration links for January and February sessions will be available starting 11/28.

Most students take 2-3 sessions, at minimum, to complete a level. Progress varies from student to student. No makeup lessons available. Not all levels available at all branches.


Preschool Levels (age 3-5)

PS1: Pike (Beg. I, Ages 3-5)

No prior swim lesson experience required.

Level objectives: Water acclimation, breath control, submerging, front and back floats, intro to front crawl arms and flutter kicks.

PHY Registration   Berkeley Registration   Oakland Registration

PS2: Eel (Beg. II, Ages 3-5)

Prerequisites: comfortable submerging underwater, floating with minimal help on front and back, knows flutter kicks, pushes off the wall independently.

Level objectives: Independent front & back floats with recovery to standing, flutter kicks in streamline on front, pushes off wall on front and back independently, swims on front with face in the water, and intro to elementary backstroke.

PHY Registration   Berkeley Registration   Oakland Registration

PS3: Ray (Beg. III, Ages 3-5)

Prerequisites: Independent front float (5 seconds), back float (10 seconds), front and back glides with kicks, and combined stroke on front.

Level objectives: Streamline glides on front and back, intro to side breathing, swims combined stroke on front 10-15 feet, elementary backstroke 10-15 feet, and intro to backstroke.      

Berkeley Registration   Oakland Registration

Youth Levels (age 6-12)

Y1: Polliwog (BEG. I, Age 6-12)

No prior swim lesson experience needed.

Level objectives: Water acclimation, breath control, submerging, front and back floats and glides, intro to freestyle and elementary backstroke.

 PHY Registration   Berkeley Registration   Oakland Registration

Y2: Guppy (BEG. II, Age 6-12)

Prerequisites: Comfortable submerging, unassisted front and back float (10 seconds), basic freestyle and elementary backstroke (unassisted 10 ft.)

Level objectives: Intro to side-breathing, freestyle with side-breathing, backstroke, elementary backstroke, breaststroke kick, and treading water.

PHY Registration   Berkeley Registration   Oakland Registration

Y3: Minnow (INT. I, Age 6-12)

Prerequisites: Comfortable in deep water, treading water 20-30 seconds, freestyle with side-breathing (15 ft), backstroke (15 ft), breaststroke kick (10 ft).

Level objectives: Freestyle with side-breathing for 15 yards, backstroke for 15 yards, breaststroke for 15 yards, treading water (45-60 seconds).

PHY Registration   Berkeley Registration   Oakland Registration

Y4: Fish (INT. II, Age 6-12)

Prerequisites: Freestyle with side-breathing (15 yards), backstroke (15 yards), breaststroke (15 yards) treading water (45-60 seconds)

Level objectives: Freestyle with bilateral side-breathing (50 yards), Backstroke (50 yards), Breaststroke (25 yards), Butterfly (15 yards).        

Berkeley Registration   Oakland Registration

Y5: Flying Fish (ADV. I, Age 6-12)

Prerequisites: 50 yards freestyle with side breathing, 50 yards backstroke, 25 yards breaststroke, 15 yards butterfly, 15 yards sidestroke, treading water 90 seconds, comfort in deep water.

Level objectives: Stamina and stroke refinement. 100 yards freestyle, 100 yards backstroke, 50 yards breaststroke, 25 yards butterfly, intro to Individual Medley (IM), 25 yards sidestroke, intro to flip turns and sculling, and treading water 2-3 minutes.    

Berkeley Registration    Oakland Registration

Teen / Adult Levels (age 13+)

Teen / Adult BEG. I, Age 13+

No prior swim experience required

Level objectives: Water acclimation, breath control, front and back floats, into to flutter kicks, intro front crawl

Berkeley Registration     Oakland Registration

Teen / Adult BEG. II, Age 13+

Prerequisites: Comfortable floating on front and back, submerging face and whole body, gliding on front and back, flutter kicking on front with kickboard, and swimming 5-10 feet of basic freestyle/front crawl.

Level objectives: Developing basic freestyle technique, including side breathing, and introducing the fundamentals of backstroke and treading water.

Berkeley Registration     Oakland Registration

Important Policies to Note

Refunds will be granted if requested 6 days or more prior to the start of the session. No refunds will be granted after this time period. A refund processing fee will be applied as follows: $10 for a credit card refund, $25 for a check or cash payment refund.

The Y does not offer makeup lessons for missed swim classes. If your child misses class due to injury or illness, you may reach out to the aquatics director to discuss potential credit options. We respectfully request that students remain home if they are sick to protect the health and safety of other students and our staff.

Don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions!

Downtown Berkeley YMCA and Oakland YMCA
Deedee Lundberg,
Sr. Aquatics Director
(510) 665–3257

Pleasant Hill YMCA
Ben Pantner
Aquatics and Family Director
(925) 887–4540