American Red Cross Swim Lessons

The Columbus Aquatic Center and American Red Cross work together to provide quality swim lessons to teach people how to be safe in, on and around water; and to teach people of all ages and varying abilities how to swim.  These courses take an inclusive approach that emphasizes skill development in conjunction with water safety and drowning prevention education.  

An introduction of each program offered at the Aquatic Center is listed below and more in-depth information for each program can be found on our Online Registration website under the Site Info menu.

Dolphin Tales

This is an American Red Cross Parent and Child Aquatics class designed for children between the ages of 6 months and approximately 3 years, and their parents (guardians, child care providers, other adult relatives, and older siblings may participate with the child in the course.)  The purpose of this course is to teach safe behaviors in, on  and around the water and to develop swimming readiness.  Parents and children engage in water exploration activities with the objective of having fun and becoming comfortable in, on and around the water. 

Dolphin Tales introduces basic skills to parents and children.  Parents learn how to safely work with their child in the water, including how to appropriately support and hold their child in the water and how to prepare and encourage their child to participate fully and try the skills.  Children receive an introduction to basic skills that lay a foundation for learning to swim.  In addition, parents are introduced to several water safety topics.

Jump Start

This is an American Red Cross Preschool Aquatics program designed for children approximately 4 and 5 years of age.  However, participation should not be determined by age alone.  Consider a child's developmental readiness, maturity, and experience in the water.  For some children, Dolphin Tales still may be appropriate while a few may be able to go directly into the Learn-to-Swim courses.  This course aims to promote the developmentally appropriate learning of fundamental water safety and aquatic skills by young children.  

Jump Start familiarizes children to the aquatic environment, helps them acquire basic aquatic skills and develop positive attitudes and safe practices in and around water.

Participants will learn:

  • Water adjustment, entry and exit
  • Breath control and submerging
  • Buoyancy on front and back
  • Changing directions, position and treading
  • Swimming on front and back
  • Water Safety

Learn-to-Swim Levels 1-6

The objectives of the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim courses are to teach children and young teens to be safe in, on, and around the water and to swim well.  Aquatic and personal water safety skills are taught in a logical progression through six levels.  Participants in Level 1 are oriented to the aquatic environment and gain some basic skills in each category.  As they progress through the levels, participants build on their basic skills to learn and refine various propulsive movements on the front, back, and side.  On successful completion of Level 3, participants have achieved basic water competency in a pool environment.  By the end of Level 6, participants have the prerequisite skills and have developed the necessary skill and fitness levels for entrance into advanced courses, such as Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguarding, or other aquatic activities such as competitive swimming and diving.  The six levels include:

  • Level 1 - Introduction to Water Skills
  • Level 2 - Fundamental Aquatic Skills
  • Level 3 - Stroke Development
  • Level 4 - Stroke Improvement
  • Level 5 - Stroke Refinement
  • Level 6 - Swimming and Skill Proficiency
    • Personal Water Safety
    • Fundamentals of Diving
    • Fitness Swimmer

The recommended minimum age for entry into Red Cross Learn-to-Swim is approximately 6 years old.  There is no maximum age for any level; however, it is typical that participants in the Learn-to-Swim levels are elementary to middle school-age children.  There are no skill prerequisites for Level 1.  For Levels 2 through 6, participants must be able to demonstrate the exit skills assessment of the previous level.  Instructors should evaluate all participants during the first lesson, regardless of level, to determine an appropriate starting point for each participant.  Some participant will have some experience with the water and may begin the program at a higher level.