Swim Lessons

Swimming is a life skill as well as a great way to exercise and a challenging sport. The Meadowlands YMCA offers swim lessons at our state-of-the-art pool in East Rutherford for all ages and abilities.

Swim lessons actively promote regular physical activity, which has significant positive health effects for children, teens, adults, and seniors.

Swimming has many great health benefits, but it is also an important safety skill. According to the CDC, drowning is the second leading cause of death among children ages 2-14. See what we've done to prevent it. 


Confident swimmers are made at the Meadowlands YMCA! Explore our lesson options and pricing below.  

Pricing, Schedules & More Information


Registrations for all swim lessons can be completed in person at the Meadowlands YMCA or over the phone. Online registration is not available at this time. No make-up lessons will be given for missed swim lessons. 



Instructor to parent and child pairs ratio is 1:10.

SHRIMP - Ages 6-18 months
KIPPER - Ages 18 months-3 years

These classes are for children and their parent(s) with the primary objective of both becoming comfortable in the water. The child will become aware of the difference between moving through water and on dry land, while the parent will become aware of how to teach their child how to be safe in and around the water. Classes are designed to allow the child to have fun in the water, while the parent guides them to learn aquatic skills. They will be exposed to basic arm and leg movements and breath control through games and songs. All activities are based on the development of the child. Unless potty trained all children must wear swim diapers with elastic legs while in the water.



Instructor to student ratio is 1:6.

PIKES - Beginner Swimmer

Children will develop safe pool behavior, adjust to the water and learn independent movement in the water. They are taught how to put their face in the water, blow bubbles, kicking, basic arm motions and pool safety.

EELS - Confidence Builder

Children who enter this level are already comfortable in the water. They will build confidence by being more independent while learning how to float and progress to advanced paddle stroke. Using flotation devices students will be able to swim half a pool length at the end of this level.

RAYS - Advanced Beginner

Students will be introduced to treading water, jumping in deeper water, and progress to using out of water arm motions. They will gain endurance on their front and their backs which will lead to the ability to swim half the length of the pool with little assistance by the end of this level.



Participants who are new to our program will need to be swim tested to determine the appropriate level. Pre-requisites for all levels are based on report cards given at the end of the session. Only students who successfully pass all skills will move to the next level.

POLLIWOG 1 - Beginner

Instructor to student ratio is 1:6
This level gets first-time swimmers acquainted with the water. Using floatation devices they will learn to blow bubbles, float, kick, glide, and get introduced to the deep end. Safety skills and pool rules are also taught.

POLLIWOG 2 - Intermediate Beginner

Instructor to student ratio is 1:6
Using limited flotation devices this level is built for participants to gain confidence. Streamline, front and back glides, paddle stroke and treading water will be done independently. Children will be able to swim half the length of the pool without flotation devices by the end of this course.

GUPPY 1 - Advanced Beginner

Instructor to student ratio is 1:8
Students will be introduced to basic freestyle, backstroke, and elementary backstroke. Sitting dives are also taught at this level while bobs, bubbles, and glides are refined.

GUPPY 2 - Initial Intermediate

Instructor to student ratio is 1:8
Rotary breathing is introduced with a focus on proper body alignment while breaststroke kick and arms are also taught. Dives are worked on while swimming in deep water is incorporated more into each lesson.

MINNOW - Intermediate

Instructor to student ratio is 1:10
Swimmers strokes during this level will begin to become more efficient. Freestyle, backstroke, and elementary backstroke are reviewed and worked on while sidestroke is introduced. Students will be able to complete 2 lengths of the pool without stopping by the end of this class.

FISH - Advanced Intermediate

Instructor to student ratio is 1:10
Endurance is key focus in this level. All portions of butterfly are introduced along with sidestroke and all other strokes are refined. Flip turns and standing dives are taught and students will be able to complete 4 lengths of the pool without stopping by the end of this class.

FLYING FISH - Advanced Swimmer

Instructor to student ratio is 1:10
All competitive strokes and non-competitive strokes are perfected and endurance is worked on. Surface dives are taught with proper flip turns. Students will be able to complete 6 lengths of the pool without stopping by the end of this class.

SHARK- Advanced Swimmer

Instructor to student ratio is 1:12
This level is ideal for anyone who would like to swim recreationally or potentially move towards joining a swim team. Proper starts and turns, all 4 competitive strokes, sidestroke, elementary backstroke are all reviewed. Individual medleys, reaching assists and survival skills are introduced; students will be able to complete 8 lengths of the pool without stopping by the end of this class.

Swim Lessons for Those with Special Needs

STAR FISH - Special Needs

Instructor to student and parent pairs ratio is 1:5
The Star Fish class is designed for children of all ages with moderate to severe neurological, physical or social challenges. The program is overseen by instructors who will be in the water offering assistance in learning how to swim and teaching exercises to do with the child in the water. An adult must accompany the child in the water, classes run once a week for 7 weeks. This is a 30-minute class.


These swim lessons are designed for ages 15 and up. It builds on the proficiency of all YMCA swimming levels. The 30-minute class will be taught with a 1:6 instructor ratio.


For those who have limited to no swim experience. This class focuses on becoming comfortable in the water along with basic swimming techniques and personal safety.


For those who have a basic knowledge of freestyle and are comfortable in the water. You will be guided through new strokes and skills while refining the ones you've already learned.

Swim Lessons for All

At the YMCA, we believe that everyone should be able to learn this valuable life-saving skill, which is why we offer financial assistance, funded by our Annual Scholarship Campaign. The generous contributions of our donors, help to make swim lessons possible for all. Donate today to help us sustain our mission.