I’m new to public swimming, what do I need to know?
Check out the First Ten Minutes at the Pool for information on what to look for and ask about if you’re new to the pool! Pool staff are happy to assist you at the pool as well; let us know at the front desk that you’re new to the facility.
Check out our list of facility rules here – please note that lifeguards are responsible for the health and safety of all guests and are trained to assess risks and enforce rules in order to prevent injury. Therefore, the rules listed here are not necessarily exhaustive. Always listen to the lifeguard team.
How do I figure out what level of swimming lessons my child should be registered in?
Call Portage Pool: we can often place your child in the correct level over the phone. If that’s not possible, enroll your child in a free swimming level assessment, which take about 15 minutes of one-on-one time with a swim instructor in the pool.
Red Cross Swim programs are evaluated on an ongoing basis. There is no “test” day, which is why attending as many lessons in a session is important. In Red Cross Swim and Preschool, children don’t pass or fail–they complete a level and go into the next, or the level remains incomplete and your child must continue to work towards completion.
My child failed their swimming lessons! What do we do?
It’s important to remember that everyone picks up new skills at a different rate, so it can take several attempts to complete a level before moving on – it’s important to complete each level in order, however, because each level builds on skills mastered in the previous one.
Also, just like learning piano or math, practice is key! We recommend swimming at least one other time each week so your child can practice skills they picked up during lesson time.
Do I need to get into the pool with my child during lessons?
Classes listed as parented require one caregiver to be in the water with the child throughout the lesson. Instructors may recommend that you get in to assist your child with the transition into group lessons, especially in the low-level preschool lessons where toddlers may be nervous about this brand new experience.
What equipment does my child need to take lessons?
Nothing special. We recommend that swimmers tie back long hair and wear swimming attire that’s clean and not loose fitting. Goggles aren’t required, but they’re useful in higher Red Cross Swim levels and leadership courses.
We took lessons at another pool. Can I transfer my child’s progress to Portage Pool?
Yes! If you took lesson with Red Cross at another facility, show us your report card and you’re good to go. If you took lessons in another program (such as the Lifesaving Society of YMCA) we can help figure out how to transfer into Red Cross Swim, or you can check our transfer chart.
My child was in Preschool Swim but is now 6 years old: what Red Cross Swim level do they go into?
At age 6, all swimmers move into the Red Cross Swim program, but they may not have to start at Level 1 depending on how much of the Preschool program they’ve completed. Check out this transfer chart and give us a call for assistance.
For the health and safety of instructors and other swimmers, please do not swim if you’re sick. If your child will miss several classes due to illness or injury, please bring in a doctor’s note and you will be refunded for the cost of the remaining lessons that your child will miss.
Yes! Youth under 18 years are eligible for funding to take registered sports programs through Kidsport and Everybody Gets To Play. This includes enrolling in our Parent & Tot levels, Red Cross Preschool and Red Cross Swim levels, as well as our leadership courses. Contact us for help completing your forms!
Can I just put my child into private lessons every session?
There are a lot of benefits to private lessons. However, group lessons have their advantages, too–in addition to learning how to swim, your child will also learn how to take turns with other swimmers, meet other kids and build relationships, play cooperative games, and more. Plus, group lessons are cheaper! Private lessons aren’t recommended for kids in the Red Cross Preschool program unless there is a safety concern requiring one-on-one attention from an instructor.