Health & Wellness

South Mountain YMCA Upgrades Swim Lessons for Improved Skill-Building

YMCA will offer revamped swim lessons this fall. Credits: YMCA

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Swimming lessons for South Mountain YMCA members have been revamped to help students at all ability levels progress at their own pace, stated a release from the YMCA.

When students register for the Fall 1 session, they’ll choose classes from three categories: Swim Starters for children ages six months to age 3, Swim Basics for all ages, and Swim Strokes for school-age children, teens and adults who have mastered the fundamentals.

  • SWIM STARTERS develops water enrichment and aquatic readiness in children ages 6 months to 3 years. This category focuses on developing swim readiness skills through fun and confidence-building experiences. Parents also learn how to supervise children in the water, how to prevent accidents and how to plan for emergencies.
  • SWIM BASICS develops personal water safety and basic swimming skills in students of all ages. Swimmers develop a high level of comfort in the water by practicing safe water habits, engaging in underwater exploration, and learning how to swim to safety and exit if they fall into a body of water.
  • SWIM STROKES introduces and refines stroke technique in older students. 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.

Created by the YMCA of the USA, the swim lesson upgrade has been extensively tested at YMCAs across the nation.

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“The new approach has proven to help students with different abilities gain confidence as their skills advance,” West Essex YMCA Aquatics Director Scott Weber said. (Swim lessons for South Mountain YMCA members are run through the West Essex Y.) “Advanced swimmers can reach higher levels more quickly, while others can get the additional instruction they need, making the experience more enjoyable and promoting a lifelong love of swimming," said Weber.

Lessons will have the same class length, age categories, class ratios, and price, but there will be an increased emphasis on water safety, Weber noted. The Y has developed a lesson selector to help parents determine the most appropriate class for their children. If needed, the Y will provide free evaluations by appointment. 

Registration begins Aug. 2, with classes starting Sept. 5. For more information, visit


Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges is the largest association of YMCAs in New Jersey, serving more than 55,000 individuals, including 30,000 members, and providing nearly $1.3 million in direct financial assistance. Its six YMCAs, located in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne, are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living, and fostering a sense of social responsibility. They offer an array of programs that build spirit, mind and body for people of all ages and all circumstances.

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