Swim Lesson Program | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa

It’s never too early (or late) to learn how to swim! We offer youth and adult swim lessons for all levels in a group or private setting. All swim lessons will take place at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center which is located at: 309 South Madison Street, Iowa City, IA 52242. Participants may register online or in-person at the CRWC. We are no longer accepting registrations over the phone. 

Group swim lessons

We have fall, spring, and summer sessions - two in the fall and spring, and one in the summer. Each session will consist of six classes.

Fall 2021 - Session 1

  • Registration period: Wednesday, August 18 at 8:00 a.m. - Tuesday, August 24 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Session dates: 
    • Sundays* | August 29, September 12, September 19, September 26, October 3, October 10
    • Mondays* | August 30, September 13, September 20, September 27, October 4, October 11
    • Tuesdays | August 31, September 7, September 14, September 21, September 28, October 5
    • Wednesdays | September 1, September 8, September 15, September 22, September 29, October 6
    • Thursdays | September 2, September 9, September 16, September 23, September 30, October 7
  • Class Sizes: There will be no more than 3-4 participants per 1 swim instructor. 

*There will be no classes on Sunday, September 5 or Monday, September 6 in observance of Labor Day.

Fall 2021 - Session 2

  • Registration period: Wednesday, October 13 at 8:00 a.m. - Tuesday, October 19 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Session dates: 
    • Sundays | October 24, October 31, November 7, November 14, December 5, December 12
    • Mondays | October 25, November 1, November 8, November 15, November 29, December 6
    • Tuesdays | October 26, November 2, November 9, November 16, November 30, December 7
    • Wednesdays | October 27, November 3, November 10, November 17, December 1, December 8
    • Thursdays | October 28, November 4, November 11, November 18, December 2, December 9
  • Class Sizes: There will be no more than 3-4 participants per 1 swim instructor. 

*There will be no classes on Sunday, November 21 - Sunday, November 28 in observance of Thanksgiving.


Please see classes below for specific days/times:

Parent and Child Aquatics familiarizes young children (from ages 6 months to 3 years) to the water and prepares them to learn to swim in the American Red Cross Preschool Aquatics or Learn-To-Swim courses. It is not designed to teach children to become good swimmers or to survive in the water on their own. Parent and Child Aquatics give parents safety information and teaches techniques to help orient their children to the water. It also provides direction regarding how to supervise water activities in a responsible manner. These courses are a bonding experience that will fill instructors, parents and children with wonderful lifelong memories. In both level one and two, a parent must be present for each child enrolled to maintain a one-on-one parent to child ratio. In a lower enrolled class, if two parents want to participate with one child that can be allowed on a case-by-case basis.

Level 1Children 6 months-18 months. This level introduces basic skills to parents and children. Parents are taught 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 the try the skills. Children are introduced to basic skills that lay a foundation to help them learn to swim. Several water safety topics are also introduced that are directed to parents.

Level 2Children 18 months-3 years. This level builds on skills and the confidence level of the participants and parents. Additional safety lessons and skills are introduced.


Schedule: Classes are 30 minutes each.

Fee: $35.00

  • Minimum Enrollment: 3
  • Maximum Enrollment: 8


Fall 2021 - Session 2:

Level                           Time                           Day                 
Parent and Child 1       10:15am-10:45am        Sun         

Parent and Child 1       5:15pm-5:45pm           Tues     

PC - Level 1

Parent and Child 2       5:15pm-5:45pm           Sun      

Parent and Child 2       5:15pm-5:45pm           Thurs    

PC - Level 2

American Red Cross Preschool Aquatics, consisting of three levels, is an integral part of the overall Red Cross instructional aquatic and water safety program. The primary objective of Preschool Aquatics is to promote developmentally appropriate learning of fundamental water safety and aquatic skills by young children.

Level 1 The objectives of Level 1 are to learn the most elementary aquatic skills, the foundation for the participant to continue to build on as their progress through the Preschool Aquatics and Learn-To-Swim levels. Participants are introduced to the water and start developing good attitudes and safe practices around the water.

Level 2 – The objectives of Level 2 are to build on the aquatic skills learned in Level 1 and to gain further successes. Skills from Level 1 are performed at a more advanced degree, but most skills are still performed with assistance. This level marks the beginning of independent aquatic locomotion skills where participants continue to explore using simultaneous and alternating arm and leg actions to gain more proficiency for future strokes.

Level 3 – The objectives of Level 3 are to build on previous skills with adding guided practice of basic aquatic skills at slightly more proficient performance levels and greater distances and times. Skills at this level are performed independently, with emphasis on improving coordination and combined simultaneous arm and leg actions. This level gets participants ready to begin the Learn-To-Swim program.


Schedule: Classes are 30 minutes each

Fee: $35.00

  • Minimum Enrollment: 3
  • Maximum Enrollment: 5 


Fall 2021 - Session 2:

Level                                      Time                           Day            

Preschool Aquatics 1               10:15am-10:45am        Sun 
Preschool Aquatics 1               4:30pm-5:00pm           Sun 

Preschool Aquatics 1               5:15pm-5:45pm           Tues 

Preschool Aquatics 1               5:15pm-5:45pm           Wed 

PA - Level 1

Preschool Aquatics 2               10:15am-10:45am        Sun 

Preschool Aquatics 2               5:15pm-5:45pm           Sun 

Preschool Aquatics 2               5:15pm-5:45pm           Mon 

Preschool Aquatics 2               5:15pm-5:45pm           Wed 

PA - Level 2

Preschool Aquatics 3               4:30pm-5:00pm           Sun 

Preschool Aquatics 3               5:15pm-5:45pm           Mon

Preschool Aquatics 3               5:15pm-5:45pm           Thurs

PA - Level 3

American Red Cross Learn-To-Swim teaches aquatic and personal water safety skills in a logical progression. It consists of six lessons. Participants in Level 1 are orientated to the aquatic environment and gain some basic skills in each category. Throughout the levels, participants build on their basic skills to learn various propulsive movements on the front, back and side. As the levels increase, participants learn to refine the different strokes and build endurance. Each level includes exit skills assessments that put together many of the skills learned in the level.

Level 1 Introduction to Water Skills. The objectives of Level 1 are to learn basic personal water safety information and skills, to help participants feel comfortable in the water and to enjoy the water safely. In Level 1, elementary aquatic skills are taught, with participants focusing on development of positive attitudes, good swimming habits and safe practices in and around the water.

Level 2 Fundamental Aquatic SkillsThe objectives of Level 2 are to give participants success with fundamental skills. Participants learn to float without support and to recover to a vertical position. This level marks the beginning of true locomotion skills. Participants will further develop simultaneous and alternating arm and leg actions on the front and back that lay the foundation for future strokes. Additional safety skills and comprehension of previous knowledge will also be a focus.

Level 3 Stroke Development. The objective of Level 3 is to build on previously learned skills by providing additional guided practice. Participants learn survival float, the front crawl and elementary backstroke and introduction to the scissors and dolphin kicks as well as building on the fundamentals of treading water. Participants will also learn rules for head first entries and begin them for the first time from the pool side. Participants that successfully complete Level 3 have achieved basic water competency in a pool environment.

Level 4 Stroke Improvement. The objective of Level 4 is to develop participants confidence in the strokes learned thus far and to improve other aquatic skills. The goal is for participants to improve their skills and increase their endurance by swimming familiar strokes for greater distances. Participants add arms to the scissors kick to do sidestroke, as well as learn the breaststroke, back crawl and butterfly and the basics of turning at the wall.

Level 5 Stroke Refinement. The objective of Level 5 is to coordinate and refine strokes. Participants refine their performance of all the strokes (front crawl, back crawl, butterfly, breaststroke, sidestroke and elementary backstroke) and increase distance. Flip turns on the front and back are also introduced.

Level 6 Fitness Swimmer. Objectives of Level 6 are to refine the strokes so that participants swim with more ease, efficiency, power and smoothness over greater distances. Emphasis on swimming for fitness is provided with more structured work-outs along with advanced safety skills.


Schedule: Classes are 45 minutes each

Fee: $45.00

  • Minimum Enrollment: 3
  • Maximum Enrollment: 6


Fall 2021 - Session 2:

Level                           Time                           Day  

LTS Level 1                 11:00am-11:45am        Sun

LTS Level 1                 6:00pm-6:45pm           Sun

LTS Level 1                 6:00pm-6:45pm           Tues

LTS Level 1                 7:00pm-7:45pm           Wed

LTS Level 1                 7:00pm-7:45pm           Thurs

LTS - Level 1

LTS Level 2                 11:00am-11:45am        Sun

LTS Level 2                 7:00pm-7:45pm           Sun

LTS Level 2                 6:00pm-6:45pm           Mon

LTS Level 2                 6:00pm-6:45pm           Wed

LTS Level 2                 7:00pm-7:45pm           Thurs

LTS - Level 2

LTS Level 3                 7:00pm-7:45pm           Sun

LTS Level 3                 7:00pm-7:45pm           Mon

LTS Level 3                 6:00pm-6:45pm           Wed

LTS Level 3                 6:00pm-6:45pm           Thurs

LTS - Level 3

LTS Level 4                 6:00pm-6:45pm           Sun

LTS Level 4                 7:00pm-7:45pm           Mon

LTS Level 4                 6:00pm-6:45pm           Tues

LTS Level 4                 7:00pm-7:45pm           Wed

LTS - Level 4

LTS Level 5                 11:00am-11:45am        Sun

LTS Level 5                 7:00pm-7:45pm           Tues

LTS Level 5                 6:00pm-6:45pm           Thurs

LTS - Level 5

LTS Level 6                 11:00am-11:45am        Sun

LTS Level 6                 7:00pm-7:45pm           Tues

LTS - Level 6

The American Red Cross Adult Lesson Program consists of three levels, to cover all ability levels from beginner to advanced. Whether you are just starting out with the basics or looking to advance your training and endurance with your strokes, there is a level for you.

Adult Level 1Learning the Basics. This class introduces basic aquatic skills, concepts to stay safe around the water, and introduces elements of the following strokes: front crawl, elementary backstroke, sidestroke and breaststroke. Other skills focused on include treading water and survival floating. This level is for beginners.

Adult Level 2Improving Skills and Swimming Strokes. This class improves participant’s proficiency in basic water skills, all six strokes are focused on in this level: front crawl, back crawl, butterfly, breaststroke, elementary backstroke and sidestroke. Distance and endurance skills are improved on. Flip turns on the front and back, as well as headfirst entries from the side of the pool are focused on. This level is for intermediate swimmers that feel comfortable in the water.

Adult Level 3 – Swimming for Fitness. This class is for refining strokes and building endurance. Participants at this level should be able to demonstrate front crawl, breaststroke, and backstroke effectively, butterfly is optional. Additionally participants should be able to confidently do headfirst entries and flip turns. Equipment such as kickboards, paddles, pull buoys and fins will be used. This level is for the advanced swimmer.


Schedule: Classes are 45 minutes each.

Fee: $45.00

  • Minimum Enrollment: 3
  • Maximum Enrollment: 6 


Fall 2021 - Session 2:

Level                           Time                           Day          
Adult Level 1               6:00pm-6:45pm           Mon Register

Adult Level 2               10:00am-10:45am        Sun Register

Group swim lesson policies:

How to register online:

  • If you are a community member, you can set up an account here. You can also set up an account by calling 335-9293 or by visiting the CRWC member services desk to create an account. Once that's done, you'll be good to go! 
  • If you already have a Hawk ID or have a community account, click here to go to our online registration portal. 
  • Head over to our Online Registration FAQ page to learn more about the process.


  • Payment must be made at the time of registration online or at the membership desk.
  • Forms of payment accepted: Check (made out to The University of Iowa), Credit Card, U-bill (U-bill is in-person only).
  • If you have questions concerning the program or level placement, please contact the Assistant Director for Aquatics at (319) 467-3147.
  • Parents of children under the age of 14 must remain in the designated pool area where their child’s lesson is taking place in order to be available to attend to their child in the case of an emergency or to accompany them to the restrooms. 
  • Individuals attending lessons with children participating in the Learn-To-Swim Program must be members of Recreational Services in order to use the CRWC or must pay a walk-in fee. Those found in violation are subject to expulsion from the Learn-To-Swim Program. 
  • There are no makeup lessons offered if a participant must miss a class.
  • Classes require at least three participants.
  • Cancellations made prior to the end of the registration period will be honored.
  • After the registration period ends no refunds will be given.
  • There are no makeup lessons if a participant must miss a class due to their own scheduling conflicts.
  • If a cancellation is needed due to extenuating circumstances, the participant will need to speak with the Assistant Director of Aquatics immediately in order for a refund to be considered.

All swimwear must be clean and appropriate in coverage. This includes full coverage of the buttocks, breasts, and groin areas. Transparent or revealing swimwear is prohibited.

For infants and children:

  • Infants and children that are not toilet trained must wear swim diapers.
  • Infants and children in swim diapers must have a swimsuit over the swim diaper at all times.

Private swim lessons

Private lessons offer one-on-one instruction. Semi-private lessons offer instruction from 1 instructor to 2 participants.

At this time we are not accepting private swim lesson requests.  Check back shortly for our registration link! 

  • Lessons are scheduled based on instructor and participant availability, as well as pool scheduling.
  • The first lesson is 45 minutes in order for the instructor to evaluate the participant at the start of the lesson, with each subsequent lesson lasting 30 minutes.
  • All private swim lessons instructions must be taught through Recreational Services. No outside lessons allowed.
  • These lessons are given during normal lap swim hours.
  • Interested participants must fill out a Private Lesson Request Form. Once your form is submitted, you should be contacted by a Swim Lesson Coordinator via email or phone within 5 business days.
  • Cost:
    • Private lessons are $30.00 for a 30-minute session
    • Semi-private lessons for 2 participants at $25 per participant for a total of $50.00 for a 30-minute session.
  • A refund will be given if a cancellation is made within 24 hours by either the patron or the instructor.
  • If 24 hours’ notice is not given and the instructor was present but the patron was not, the instructor will be paid for the lesson and they are required to document that the patron did not show and that lesson is lost.
  • If the instructor does not show but the patron does, the patron will be given an extra lesson at no cost.

Appropriate swimwear is required at all times in all Recreational Services aquatic facilities.


  • Standard swimwear:
    • Swim trunks, bathing suits, competitive suits, body suits, rash guards and scuba suits.
  • Appropriate coverage:
    • Females: covering breasts, buttocks, genitals and pubic regions.
    • Males: covering buttocks, genitals, and pubic regions
  • All swimwear must be dual lined material with inner liner.


  • Items that are not considered swimwear:
    •  Compression shorts, sports bras, Under Armour, athletic shorts, thongs, cotton clothing, cut-off jeans or shorts.
  • Inappropriate coverage of body parts as deemed so by our aquatic staff.
  • Worn out materials/transparent materials.

For infants and children

  • Infants and children that are not toilet trained must wear swim diapers.
  • Infants and children in swim diapers must have a swimsuit over the diaper at all times.

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