DCR Learn to Swim 2023

The DCR is pleased to offer three separate two-week sessions of swimming lessons at 17 of our state-operated swimming pools.


2023 Session Dates

Online Registration
opens at 7 AM

Session 1:


July 10 – July 21

Session 1 Lessons are now full.

Session 2:


July 24 – August 4

Session 2 Lessons are now full

Session 3:

August 7 – August 18*
*Subject to Instructor Availability

Session 3 Lessons are now full

Our instructors follow the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim curriculum, which focuses on water safety education and basic swimming skills.  Class size is limited in accordance with American Red Cross training standards. Lessons will run Monday-Friday with each day’s lesson lasting approximately 30 minutes. 

Learn to Swim (Levels 2 & 3):      9:30 – 10:00 AM*

Preschool (or Learn to Swim):    10:10 – 10:40 AM*

* Note: Lessons at the Dennis Shine Memorial Pool begin one hour earlier (8:30 AM for Learn to Swim and 9:10 for Preschool).

Free swimming lessons will be offered at:

Pool Name




Pool Name


Gerald J. Mason Memorial Pool




Martin L. Olsen Memorial Pool

Hyde Park

Reilly Memorial Pool




Lt. Colonel Edward J. Higgins Pool



Melnea A. Cass Memorial Pool




P. Eugene Casey Memorial Pool


McCrehan Memorial Pool




Latta Brothers Memorial Pool


Vietnam Veterans Memorial Pool




John H. Thomas Memorial Swimming Pool


Sara Jane Sherman Memorial Pool




Connors Memorial Pool


Philip J. Weihn Memorial Pool




Dealtry Memorial Pool


Veteran's Memorial Swimming Pool

Fall River



Dennis F. Shine Memorial Pool
Note: Classes are offered 1 hour earlier at the Vernon Hills pool.


Gustave Johnson Memorial Pool






Table of Contents

Preschool Lessons (Ages 4 - 5)


Preschool lessons are designed for children who are not comfortable swimming independently in the water, but who are comfortable enough to get into the water with an instructor. Parents must remain outside of the pool area during swimming lessons.  The goal of our Preschool classes is to introduce water skills including entering and exiting the water safely, blowing bubbles, back float, front and back glides (up to 2 body lengths), rolling over (back to front and front to back), recovery to a standing/vertical position, and combined leg and arm action on front. Please note: Preschool aged children must be at least 4 years old by the first class.

Learn-to-Swim Lessons (Ages 6 - 12)

The American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim program is designed to not only teach children water competency skills but to also begin developing lifelong water safety skills.  Level 2 is the appropriate starting point for children ages 6-8 whereas children aged 9-12 might be best suited in level 3. 

Fundamental Aquatic Skills – Level 2 (Ages 6-8)

In this course, students learn stepping/jumping into shoulder-deep water, fully submerging, bobbing, rotary breathing, treading water, floating on front and back for 15 seconds, rolling over, and changing direction of travel while swimming on front or back. Successful participants will be able to swim independently in shallow water. Our instructors reserve the right to move your child up to Level 3 if they demonstrate a readiness for that level. 

Stroke Development – Level 3 (Ages 9-12)

In Learn-to-Swim Level 3, our instructors follow a plan to introduce new swimming and water safety skills and to build on previously learned skills. To be eligible for Stroke Development, your child should have already successfully completed Fundamental Aquatic Skills or must pass the skills tests required for entry. Our instructors reserve the right to move your child down to Level 2 if their skills set demonstrates that they are not currently ready for Level 3 (even if they passed Level 2 previously).   

Your child learns to swim the front crawl and elementary backstroke at rudimentary levels for a distance of 25 yards, is introduced to the scissors and dolphin kicks, learns the survival float and increases the time duration for treading water to one minute. Your child also learns the rules for headfirst entries – and importantly to never dive headfirst in water less than 9 feet deep.

How to Apply

2023 swim lessons are now filled.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know if my child/children have been accepted into the program?

If your child is selected for a class, you will receive an email confirmation with additional details.  You will be required to bringing this confirmation email with you to your first lesson.  Due to the volume of applications we receive, most people who apply will not be selected.

Can I apply on-site at the swimming pool?

No, on-site applications are not allowed.  Our administrative staff will verify the date/time of each application through our online system.  Additionally, we will generate class lists directly from our online database.

How many sessions may my child attend?

Children will be limited to one session per summer so as to maximize the number of families we are able to serve.

Are your instructors certified?

Yes, all instructors are certified by the American Red Cross as Water Safety Instructors or Basic Swimming Instructors.

What is the class cancellation policy?

Classes will be canceled if there is thunder or lightning within 30 minutes of the scheduled start time of the class.  Because there are classes all across the state, we encourage you to remain alert of your local weather conditions.  In the event of inclement weather during class, the class will end and people will be advised to seek shelter.  No make-up classes will be offered.

Similarly, if there are any water quality concerns (e.g. fecal accident in the pool) the pool will also be closed and classes will not be rescheduled. 

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