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 5-12 years old. In September, we'll be offering limited preschool swim levels for 3-5 year olds!

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, or a Tuesday / Thursday schedule. Starting in June, lessons will also be available once a week on Saturdays. Take a look at our dates below and see what works for you!

Monday & Wednesday Sessions

  • July 11 - August 3
  • August 8 - August 31
  • September 19 - October 12
  • October 17 - November 9

Tuesday & Thursday Sessions

  • July 12 – August 4
  • August 9 – September 1
  • September 20 - October 13
  • October 18 - November 10

Saturday Sessions

  • August 6 - August 27
  • September 24 - October 15
  • October 22 - November 12

Swimming Levels

Registration opens for September & October sessions on August 1! Find the right level for your swimmer below, then select your location to register.

Most students take 2-3 sessions, at minimum, to complete a level. Progress varies from student to student. Registration is currently open for all sessions through October, beginning August 1st.

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.

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.

Berkeley Registration     Oakland Registration

Youth Levels (age 5-12)

Y1: Polliwog (BEG. I, Age 5-12)

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.

Berkeley Registration     Oakland Registration     Pleasant Hill Registration

Y2: Guppy (BEG. II, Age 5-12)

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.

Berkeley Registration     Oakland Registration     Pleasant Hill Registration

Y3: Minnow (INT. I, Age 5-12)

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).

Berkeley Registration     Oakland Registration     Pleasant Hill Registration

Y4: Fish (INT. II, Age 5-12)

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    

Teen / Adult Levels (age 13+)

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

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 YMCA of the East Bay has a strict COVID-19 vaccine policy for anyone entering the facility. Swimmers must be fully vaccinated and show proof of full vaccination prior to attending the first day of class. Any accompanying adults and children must also show proof of full vaccination to enter the building. Masks are recommended but not required.

Children under the age of 5 will be NOT allowed inside the YMCA facility at this time as to comply with 100% vaccination policy of members and staff. There are NO exceptions to this policy. A parent/guardian is still required to accompany the registered swimmer into the building. Unaccompanied swim lesson students will not be granted access to the YMCA.

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