Cedar Rapids Swim Lessons Guide

Heading to the pool or lake with little ones? Need an activity to occupy the weekends? Want to feel more confident with your child playing in the water? Then check out our Guide to Swim Lessons in the Cedar Rapids Area!Cedar Rapids Swim Lessons

Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department

The Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department offers swim lessons to kids ages 6 months to 11 years. The department is an American Red Cross Licensed Swim Lesson Provider and offers swim lessons in the Bender (indoor, year-round), Bever, Ellis, Jones, Noelridge, and Cherry Hill pool locations. Sessions range from 2-6 weeks (depending on pool and day of the week). Prices range depending on resident/non-resident status and session chosen. Pre-registration is required since space is limited.

The following classes have age ranges associated with them as a guide. You need to evaluate your child’s skills to find which class is better suited for them. Not all classes are available at all pool locations. For further assistance, contact the department directly at 319-286-5566. Once the child graduates from one class, which may take several sessions, s/he can move up to the next level.


Ages: 6 months-3 years
Skills: splashing, front kicking, blowing bubbles, floating front and back, submerging face, basic stroke, retrieving water toys

Level 1 – Introduction to Water Skills

Ages: 3-5 years
Skills: submerging face/head, floating, blowing bubbles, gliding, bobbing, entering and exiting the water, alternating arm and leg action in preparation for performing strokes, rolling from back and front positions, retrieving submerged objects

Level 2 – Fundamental Water Skills

Ages: 5-10 years
Skills: bobbing, floating, treading on water, swimming using combined leg and arm actions, swimming in chest-deep water, submerging fully, pushing off the bottom, changing positions from front to back and vertical

Level 3 – Stroke Development

Ages: 5-10 years
Skills: front crawl, backstroke, jumping into the water, treading, head-first diving from a seated position, rotating in the water

Level 4 – Stroke Improvement

Ages: 6-11 years
Skills: breaststroke, sidestroke, front crawl, backstroke, turning, butterfly, head-first diving from stride position, swim underwater

Level 5 – Stroke Refinement

Ages: 7-11 years
Skills: diving, breaststroke, sidestroke, front crawl, backstroke, butterfly, front and back flip turns

Level 6 – Fitness, Diving and Safety

Ages: 7-11 years
Skills: longer distance swimming, turns while swimming, diving from diving boards, survival floats, treading with feet only

For those who are a bit older and still interested in swim lessons, there are Tween/Teen (11-16yrs) and Beginner Adult (17+ years) lessons available as well.

For more information, check out the Play! Program Guide, find Class Registration and Pool Passes at the Online Registration site, or download the American Red Cross Swim App.

Coe College Swim Lessons

Coe College is a licensed provider of SwimAmerica swimming lessons, which are technique oriented with goal-directed lessons. Students have to master certain skills to move from one station to the next for a total of 10 stations.  It is self-paced, so the students can progress next during a session whenever the are ready rather than having to wait till the next session to start learning new skills. Classes are offered to students ages 5 & over, usually with one teacher per 3-5 students.

For more information and to register, visit their website. Contact Brian Ruffles (bruffles{at}coe{dot}edu) for more information .

Linn-Mar Aquatic Center

Licensed by SwimAmerica, Linn-Mar Aquatic Center provides swimming lessons focused on technique and individual goals. Classes are offered in spring and summer sessions. Cost varies depending on session selected. Linn-Mar students receive a 33.33% discount. Pre-registration required.


Ages: 3-5 years
Stages: 1-4. Introduces students to the water and teach them basic swimming skills. One teacher per 2-3 students.
Skills: water introduction, goggles, floating devices, head in water, bubbles, submerging, bobbing, floating


Ages: 5-18 years
Stages: SwimAmerica stations 1-4. Lessons for new students who are learning basic swimming skills. One teacher per 3-4 students.
Skills: water introduction, bobbing, gliding, pushing off wall, kicking, treading water, crawl stroke


Ages: 5-18 years
Stages: SwimAmerica stations 5-6. Classes for students who are ready to learn Freestyle with proper technique, lifetime and competitive swimming skills, and have passed the skills from Station 4. One teacher per 4-6 students.
Skills: kicking, gliding, freestyle, treading, diving, backstroke, dolphin kick, breastroke

Lessons are held at the Linn-Mar Aquatic Center (3457 North Tenth Street, Marion IA 52302).

For more information, visit their website or call 319-892-4800.

To register for classes click here.

Marion Parks and Recreation Department

The Marion Parks and Recreation Department offers several Red Cross summer swim lesson options. To determine correct placement, children are assessed and placed in the corresponding level. Lessons are held in the summer months only. Sessions are two weeks long with classes on Monday-Friday, for a total of 10 classes. Registration costs $40 per child, per session. Financial assistance may be provided.


Ages: 18 months – 2 years (with a parent)
Skills: Parent and child will work together in the water on games and activities designed to prepare the child for lessons.

Intro to Swim I

Ages: 3 years
Skills: fully submerge, breathe rhythmically, floating, swimming front and back

Intro to Swim II

Ages: 10-14 years  |   For older kids who have never learned to swim. Only June 19th-30th from 11:00-11:45 a.m.

Level 1

Ages: 4+
Skills: fully submerge, breathe rhythmically, floating, swimming on front and back

Level 2

Skills: float and glide, swim a combined stroke front and back, rhythmic breathing, treading, swim on side

Level 3

Skills: front crawl, back crawl, butterfly arm and leg motions, diving, survival float, retrieve submerged object  |  Must be able to stand unassisted, in three feet of water

Level 4

Skills: front and back crawl, swim on side with scissor kick, elementary back, breaststroke, butterfly stroke, diving, underwater swimming, surface dives, open turns on front and back

Level 5

Skills: refine strokes, standing and shallow dives, pike and tuck surface dives, front and backstroke flip turns

Level 6

Skills: refine strokes, swim over greater distances. Options: personal water safety, fitness swimming, fundamentals of diving, and lifeguard readiness

Lessons are held at the Marion Municipal Swimming Pool (Willowood Park, 1855 35th Street, Marion IA 52302).

For more information visit their site, download the swim schedule, or call 319-447-3590.

YMCA of the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area

The YMCA offers swim lessons for youth (6-12 years), preschoolers (3-5 years), and parent/child lessons (6 months – 3 years). Classes are available year-round at the Helen G Nassif YMCA , Stoney Point YMCA and the Marion YMCA. Cost varies from depending on membership status, location and session.

Swim Starters

Ages: 6 months-3 years (parent/child)
Stages: Stage A Water Discovery, Stage B Water Exploration

Swim Basics

Ages: Preschool (3-5 years) and Youth (6-12 years)
Stages: Stage 1 Water Acclimation, Stage 2 Water Movement and Stage 3 Water Stamina

Swim Strokes

Ages: Preschool (3-5 years) and Youth (6-12 years)
Stages: Stage 4 Stroke Introduction, Stage 5 Stroke Development, Stage 6 Stroke Mechanics

The YMCA also provides teen/adult and private swim lessons depending on instructor availability.

For more information, visit their website, or call the Aquatics Director at each branch (Helen G. Nassif: 319-366-6421, Stoney Point: 319-377-7361, Marion: 319-390-3488).

To register for classes click here.

Anamosa Parks and Recreation Department

Based on the Red Cross six-level progression that helps swimmers about 6+ years old and adults develop their water safety, survival and swimming skills. It is designed to give participants a positive learning experience. Classes take place during summers in the Anamosa Aqua Court.

Level 1: Introduction to Water Skills

Skills: enter and exit water, blow bubbles, bobbing, open eyes under water, retrieve submerged objects, front and back glides, back float, tread water, staying safe around aquatic environments

Level 2: Fundamental Aquatic Skills

Skills: jellyfish and tuck floats, front and back glides, back float, roll from front to back and back to front, change direction of travel while swimming, tread water, finning arm action on back, staying safe around aquatic environments

Level 3: Stroke Development

Skills: headfirst entry from the side in sitting and kneeling positions, bobbing while moving toward safety, rotary breathing, survival float, back float, change from vertical to horizontal positions on front and back, tread water, push off in a streamlined position then begin flutter and dolphin kicks on front, front crawl and elementary backstroke, scissors kick, water safety skills

Level 4: Stroke Improvement

Skills: headfirst entry from the side in compact and stride positions, swim under water, feet first surface dive, survival swimming, front crawl and backstroke open turns, tread water using different kicks, front and back crawl, elementary backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly, safety skills

Level 5: Stroke Refinement

Skills: shallow-angle dive from the side, tuck and pike surface dives, front flip and backstroke flip turn while swimming, tread water, front and back crawl and backstroke open turns, elementary backstroke, breaststroke, sidestroke, and butterfly, standard scull, how to call for help and the importance of knowing first aid and CPR, recreational water illness, water safety skills

Level 6: Swimming and Skill Proficiency

Skills: refine strokes, swim over greater distances, prepares participants for lifetime fitness and safety, as well as more advanced courses, such as water safety instructor

For more information, visit their website.

Do you know of another great place to take swim lessons in the Cedar Rapids area? Leave a comment and let us know!

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