Helena YMCA
For Youth Development, For Healthy Living, For Social Responsibility
Every day is full of potential
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SWIM LESSONS

IMG_2533At the Y, we know kids need lots of practice in the water to become proficient swimmers.  That’s why we offer swim lessons year-round.  

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Call 442-9622 or click here for exact times.  You can also click the "register online" button to view detailed information on days and times of lessons available.

Helpful Information...

1.  Please bring your child to class on the first day with a suit, goggles, a towel and any supplies to shower with before and after pool use. Long hair needs to be put up or tied back. No lifejackets are needed. Parents will not be in the water unless you have signed up for the Aquatot level.

2. Class ratios of kids to instructors will be kept relatively low at 4:1 for ages 3-5, 5:1 for ages 6-8 and 6:1 for ages 9+. This enables proper amount of one on one work versus group activity.

3.  Remember, it is perfectly normal for a child to repeat a level 2 or 3 or even up to 4+ times.  The YMCA recognizes that children learn at their own rate and we keep this in mind for all levels. If specialty training is needed, private swim lessons are available.

4.  On the last day of class the instructor will give a progress report with their child’s progress and which level to sign them up for in the future. If you have any specific questions please ask the instructor during their free time, or contact Dawn Edgar at [email protected]

The Helena Family YMCA offers the following levels of swim lessons based on age:

Ages 3 & Under

Aquatots: Water Introduction

Prerequisites: None. Parent accompanies child in water.

Skills Learned: Introduction to aquatic environment and interaction with others in the water. Basic arm and leg movements. Mostly focus on becoming accustomed to water and its properties. Instructor helps the parent teach child to swim.

Ages 3-6

Pike (Level 1): Water Adjustment

Prerequisites: No water skills necessary; must be able to learn in a class format

Skills Learned: Water adjustment, blowing bubbles, works toward full submersion of the head, assisted back and front floats (with face submerged), basic arm and leg movements for forward momentum, jump from edge to instructors arm.

Requirements to pass: Blow bubbles with mouth and nose, comfortable doing assisted front and back floats, puts head under, roll from front to back and back to front.

Eel (Level 2): Beginning Skills

Prerequisites: Instructor recommendation for this level OR Passed Pike Level OR Blows bubbles, comfortable doing assisted back and front floats and putting entire head under water.

Skills Learned: Bobs, full submersion mastered, front and back floats without assistance, kicking technique (flutter) and proper arm movements for freestyle.

Requirements to pass: Comfortable fully submerging for 5 seconds, front and back floats without assistance for 5+ seconds, idea of kicking and arm motions.

Ray (Level 3): Intermediate Skills  & Swimming Readiness

Prerequisites: Instructor recommendation for this level OR Passed Eel Level OR Front and back floats without assistance, flutter kick, comfortable submersion of entire body for 5+ seconds.

Skills Learned: Bobs (with emphasis on breath control), front kicking, back kicking, arm motion for freestyle and backstroke, intro to whip kick, intro to treading water, proper push-off position.

Requirements to Pass: Master breath control while doing bobs, rudimentary independent freestyle and backstroke, idea of whip kick, rotary breathing, treading water.

Starfish (Level 4): Swimmer growth

Prerequisites:  Instructor recommendation for this level OR Passed Ray level OR independent rudimentary freestyle and backstroke, idea of whip kick, treading water.

Skills Learned: Freestyle and backstroke up to 25 yards, tread water 20-30 seconds, somersaults, surface, sitting, and kneeling dives, whip kick.

Requirements to Pass: Freestyle with rotary breathing 25 yards, backstroke 25 yards, surface, sitting, and kneeling dives, tread water 30+ seconds.

Ages 6+ or Passed Ray Level

Polliwog (Level 1): Older beginner & Water Adjustment

Prerequisites: None. This is a beginner level designed to help place children closer in age in the same levels. Ages 6+ only.

Skills Learned: Become accustomed to water, bubbles and bobs, work on floats with and without assistance, flutter kick, arm motions for freestyle and backstroke, intro to treading water, proper push-off position.

Requirements to pass: Float without assistance on front and back, understand flutter kicks, idea of treading water, and arm motions for free and back.

Guppy (Level 2): Water Adjustment & Beginning Skills

Prerequisites: 6+only. Instructor recommendation OR Passed Polliwog Level OR Bobs, float without assistance on front and back, understand flutter kicks, idea of treading water, and arm motions for free and back.

Skills Learned: Freestyle w/ rotary breathing, backstroke, treading water, whip kick, bobs w/ breath control. Intro to diving.

Requirements to Pass: Backstroke and freestyle 10-15 yards, tread water 30-45 seconds, whip kick, mastered breath control, sitting and kneeling dives.

Minnow (Level 3): Advanced Beginner & Stroke development

Prerequisites: Instructor recommendation OR Passed Starfish or Guppy levels OR Freestyle and backstroke 10-15 yards, tread water 30-45 seconds, whip kick, rotary breathing.

Skills learned: Freestyle and backstroke technique refinement, breaststroke full stroke, rudimentary sidestroke, treading water using different kicks. Sitting, kneeling and standing dives, and somersaults.

Requirements to pass: Freestyle and backstroke proper technique 25 yards, tread water using multiple kicks for 1:00+, rudimentary breaststroke and sidestroke 25 yards, sitting, kneeling, and standing dives.

Fish (Level 4): Intermediate Swimmer & Technical growth

Prerequisites: Instructor recommendation OR Passed Minnow Level OR Freestyle and backstroke proper technique 25+ yards, tread water using multiple kicks for 1:00+, rudimentary breaststroke and sidestroke.

Skills Learned: Freestyle, backstroke, sidestroke, and breaststroke technique refinement, dolphin kick. Tread water (egg beater), standing dive, and somersault.

Requirements to Pass: Freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and sidestroke proper technique 50 yards, dolphin kick 15 yards, tread water 3:00 w/ different kicks, dive, and somersault.

Flying Fish (Level 5): Advanced Swimmer

Prerequisites: Freestyle and backstroke proper technique 25-50 yards, breaststroke 10-15 yards, tread water 1:00-2:00 w/ different kicks, dive, and somersault.

Skills Learned:  Full butterfly, flip turns, technique refinement, endurance swimming, rescue breathing, standing dive 1 meter platform.

Requirements to Pass:  Freestyle, backstroke, sidestroke, breaststroke, and elementary backstroke 100+ yards, butterfly 15-25 yards, tread water 6:00+ w/different kicks, flip turns, standing dive 1 meter platform.

SUMMER HOURS (June 11-Sept. 10)

Mon-Fri: 5:30 AM-8 PM
Saturday: 8 AM-3 PM
Sunday: CLOSED

Holiday Schedule

Drop-In Day Care Hours

Mon-Fri: 8:30 AM-1:15 PM & 5-7 PM
Ages 3 months to 8 years

Helena Family YMCA

1200 North Last Chance Gulch
Helena MT 59601
Phone: (406) 442-9622
Fax: (406) 442-2577