Sonoma County Family YMCA

1111 College Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA
(707) 545-9622

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The Y continues to be closed until further notice due to the current health order. We promise we will provide reopening info once we have an update. - More Details >>

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Distance Learning site closures due to fires: Yulupa, Strawberry, and Prestwood through 9/30 - More Details >>

Swim Lessons



two girls in swim suitsFor more than 160 years, the YMCA has nurtured potential and united communities across America to create lasting, meaningful change. Everything the Y does is in service of building a better us. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to teach youth, teens, and adults to swim, so they can stay safe around water and learn the skills they need to make swimming a lifelong pursuit for staying healthy.

Y swim instructors are nationally certified. Their training includes CPR, AED, First Aid, and Oxygen Administration.

Swim lessons provide important life skills that could save a life and will benefit students for a lifetime.

The Y Swim Lesson Program focuses on 5 key components consisting of personal safety, personal growth, stroke development, water sports and games, and rescue components. Participants are taught in a non-competitive environment. Each child will progress at his or her own pace.

Because each level builds on skills taught in previous levels, it is important to place your child in the correct level. It is also important not to progress the child to the next level until he or she is physically and mentally ready and can perform the skills at his or her current level proficiently. Some levels are more difficult than others and may take several sessions to learn all the skills necessary to move to the next level.

If currently enrolled, the participant will receive a progress report from the instructor the week prior to registration, informing the participant if he/she must repeat the level or if he/she may move to the next level.

Swim Lesson Procedure & Guidelines

  • Classes must be paid in full at the time of registration.
  • Online registration is available by visiting our website.
  • Priority registration is given to YMCA Facility Members.
  • Requests for refunds or credits must be submitted at least 72 hours before the swim class is to begin. All refunds will incur a processing fee (Minimum $10).  All class transfers/credits will incur a $5 processing fee.  Credits must be used within (1) year of the date of approval.
  • All swim participants must shower in the locker room prior to entering the pool.
  • Participants may not enter the water until the instructor announces that the lesson has begun, and must exit once the lesson is complete.
  • Wear a standard bathing suit; cut-offs and t-shirts are not allowed in the pool.
  • Bring a towel and a lock.
  • For the safety of all, obey all posted pool rules.
  • Due to the limited pool deck space, please view lessons taught in the large pool through the observation window in the lobby.
  • If the child is under 3 years of age or is not toilet-trained, he/she must wear an approved swim diaper.
  • Adults experiencing incontinence will need to wear an approved swim diaper.

Every day, children learn the basics of swimming at the Y or enhance their skills with our progressive lessons that turn beginners into experts.  And our kids are having fun, being healthy, learning safety, and building confidence all at the same time! The Y ensures a low instructor-to-student ratio to make sure your kids get plenty of personal attention. And with our wide selection of classes and schedules, you’re sure to find one that fits your child’s needs and your schedule. 

Not sure which class to enroll them in?  Check the helpful chart.

Swim Levels graphic

Swim Starters Aquatic Program

Accompanied by a parent, infants and toddlers learn to be comfortable in the water and develop swim readiness skills through fun and confidence-building experiences, while parents learn about water safety, drowning prevention, and the importance of supervision.  We define parents broadly to include all adults with primary responsibility for raising children, including biological parents, adoptive parents, guardians, step-parents, or any type of parenting relationship.

Stage Descriptions:

A / Water Discovery:   Introduces infants and toddlers to the aquatic environment.

B / Water Exploration:  Focuses on exploring body positions, blowing bubbles, and fundamental safety and aquatic skills.

Swim Basics for Preschool, School Age, Teen, and Adult:

Students learn personal water safety and achieve basic swimming competency by learning two benchmark skills: swim, float, swim and jump, turn, grab.

In Water Acclimation, Water Movement, and Water Stamina, students are taught the recommended skills for all to have around water including safe water habits, underwater exploration, and how to swim to safety and exit in the event of falling into a body of water. Activities, games, and drills, geared to reinforce learning, are utilized heavily as students progress in this skill-based approach to swimming.

Stage Descriptions:

1 / Water Acclimation:  Increases comfort with underwater exploration and introduces basic self-rescue skills performed with assistance.

2 / Water Movement:  Encourages forward movement in the water and basic self-rescue skills performed independently.

3 / Water Stamina:  Develops intermediate self-rescue skills performed at longer distances than in previous stages.

Swim Strokes for Preschool, School Age, Teen, and Adult:

Having mastered the fundamentals, students learn additional water safety skills and build stroke technique, developing skills that prevent chronic disease, increase social-emotional and cognitive well-being, and foster a lifetime of physical activity.

In Stroke Introduction, Stroke Development and Stroke Mechanics, swimmers are introduced to the four competitive swimming strokes as well as rescue skills, and healthy lifestyle habits.

Stage Descriptions:

4 / Stroke Introduction:  Introduces basic stroke technique in front crawl and back crawl and reinforces water safety through treading water and elementary backstroke.

5 / Stroke Development:  Introduces breast-stroke and butterfly and reinforces water safety through treading water and sidestroke.

6 / Stroke Mechanics:  Refines stroke technique on all major competitive strokes and encourages swimming as part of a healthy lifestyle.


young boy in swim trunks

  1. You may sign up online or in person at designated times.
  2. Classes must be paid in full at the time of registration.
  3. Priority registration is given to YMCA Members.
  4. Requests for refunds or credits must be submitted at least 72 hours before the swim class is to begin. An appeal to this policy due to exceptional circumstances only will be considered by the Aquatics Director. All refunds will incur a $10 processing fee. Class transfers will incur a $5 processing fee.


USA Swimming Foundation   Make a Splash logo

Private Lessons now available!

See our Application Form here!

Private lessons are held at the Sonoma County Family YMCA pool and are designed to meet individual needs. This individualized attention will help to improve stroke and speed efficiency. Lessons are available for adults and children at any skill level. Half hour lessons are scheduled at your convenience.

  • The Aquatics Coordinator assigns instructors. The Coordinator will contact you to arrange the dates and times of your lessons. Please allow up to 1 week to be contacted.
  • Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please be as flexible as possible with time requests. If your requested swim instructor is unavailable, you will be notified and placed on a waiting list or referred to another instructor.
  • Each lesson is 30 minutes.

Contact Madison Yarak, Aquatics Coordinator, at (707) 545-9622, ext. 3124 for more information.

Need a reminder for the next swim lesson registration period? Sign Up HERE 

 Session Name

Session Start Date

Session End Date

Facility Member Registration

Program Member Registration

Non-Member Registration

Registration End Date


April 6

May 3

March 30

March 31

April 1

April 1

May (No Class on Memorial Day)

May 4

May 31

April 27

April 28

May 29

May 2


June 1

June 28

May 25

May 26

May 27

May 30

BlackOut Week: June 29-July 5


July 6

August 2

June 24th

June 30

July 1

July 3


August 3

August 30

July 29th

July 28

July 29

August 1

Blackout Week: August 31 - September 6

September (No class on Labor Day)

September 7

October 4

August 31

September 1

September 2

September 5


October 5

November 1

September 28

September 29

September 30

October 3

November (No class Thanksgiving)

November 2

November 29

October 26

October 27

October 28

October 31

December (3 week session)

November 30

December 21

November 23

November 24

November 25

November 28



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