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aerial view of aquatic centre
Public Swimming

View the public swimming schedule.

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Learn to Swim

We offer Lifesaving Society's Swim for Life programming.

lifeguard watching pool
Aquatic Leadership

Gain the certifications needed to become a lifeguard!

rogers cove splash pad
Outdoor Swimming

Learn more about beaches, wading pools and splash pad locations.

Make a splash! Swimming in Peterborough:

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Learn to swim at any age

With Lifesaving Society's programs you are never too old to learn, and never too young to start! The Centre offers programming for all ages and abilities including Swim for Life, Swim Patrol, Aquatic Leadership courses, and Adult and Fitness Swimmer programs. 

Registration Dates  View Programs  Find a Progress Report

Swim for Life® Program

This complete learn-to-swim program for all ages and abilities teaches the important skills needed to be safe around water while having fun and developing strokes. All levels are taught in a group setting. The Preschool, Swimmer and Patrol levels can also be taught in private lesson format.

Looking for something for ages 13 and up? Check out the Aquatic Leadership programs

Trying to place your child in the right level? Scroll down to the next section of the page, called "Which level is my child best suited for?"

 Parent & Tot Program: age 4 months to 2 years
Spend quality time with your child while you both have fun and socialize. Through structured in-water interaction between parent and child, the importance of play in developing water-positive attitudes and skills is stressed. Levels are age-based:
  • Parent and Tot 1: ages 4 to 11 months
  • Parent and Tot 2: ages 12 to 23 months
  • Parent and Tot 3: ages 24 to 35 months 
 Preschool Program: age 3 to 4 years

This program consists of 5 levels from Preschool A to E that help children develop an appreciation and healthy respect for the water using play and skill building. Each level includes basic aquatic progressions that incorporate Water Smart® education to ensure 3 to 4 year olds become comfortable in the water while having fun.

 Swimmer Program: age 5 to 12 years
This 6 level program for children age 5 and older includes progressions from complete beginners to advanced swimmers who want to build on their current skills. We stress lots of in-water practice to develop solid swimming strokes and skills. The Swimmer program levels are called Swimmer 1 through to Swimmer 6. 
 Swim Patrol: age 8 to 13 years

This 3 level program (Rookie, Ranger, Star) provides enriched training for those who want to develop swim strokes and skills while having fun in the challenging world of lifesaving. Swim patrol develops swimming strength and efficiency with emphasis on Water Smart® behaviour. A perfect way to prepare young swimmers for a future career in Lifeguarding!

Specialty Lessons: Private, Trio and Adaptive

The Centre offers many options for lessons that provide swimmers with lower teaching ratios, and one-on-one support. Learn about the programs below to choose the best fit for you.

Register for Specialty Lessons

Adaptive Lessons
Adaptive lessons provide the opportunity for swimmers of all abilities to be water-safe and water confident. In an adaptive lesson, swimmers can focus on a specific level they want to complete, or they can use this time to work on a skill they'd like to further develop, such as becoming more comfortable in the water. The time is yours to get the most out of your lesson! When registering for an adaptive lesson, you will answer a detailed questionnaire that will be given to the swimming instructor to help them form a lesson plan that will best suit the student. 
Trio Lessons 

Available for Preschool & Swimmer levels (age 3+) trio lessons offer a smaller ratio of 3 students to one instructor and are ideal for swimmers who may have repeated a level several times. Participants will be paired with other swimmers of similar ability. Trio lessons are offered for most levels throughout the week. When registering for a trio, look for the level you are interested in with "Trio" in the name. The following levels are paired together during Trio lessons:

  • Preschool A and B
  • Preschool C and D
  • Preschool E
  • Swimmer 1
  • Swimmer 2
  • Swimmer 3 and 4
  • Swimmer 5 and 6
  • Rookie, Ranger and Star Patrol
Private Lessons 

Available for Preschool & Swimmer levels (age 3+) private lessons offer one-on-one instruction and are ideal for swimmers who may have repeated a level several times, and provide an opportunity to work on specific skills required to progress to the next level. Private lessons are offered every 30 minutes during lesson blocks. When registering for a private lesson, you will answer a questionnaire to be placed in the proper level. 

You can now register up to 2 swimmers into a private lesson, of similar swimming ability. View the combinations in our Trio Lessons above to see what levels can take place during the same private lesson. 

Beginner Swimmer for Adults and Teens

Designed for individuals of all swimming abilities, participants are divided into groups based on swimming comfort and skill. Instructors work with each group to achieve desired goals such as learning to swim, improving strokes, and increasing efficiency so that participants are more comfortable and confident in the water. Programs are offered for the following age groups:

Teen: Ages 12 to 17

Adult: Ages 18+

Fitness Swimmer for Adults and Teens

Swim to get fit. This program is recommended for those who want to challenge themselves in a non-competitive setting while developing stroke efficiency, strength, and endurance through personal goal setting including endurance challenges, sprints, and object support. Programs are offered for the following age groups:

Teen: Ages 12 to 17

Adult: Ages 18+

What level my child is suited for?

Swim for Life lessons focus on a combination of age and ability. The chart below explains the abilities for each level and comparable programs from the YMCA and Red Cross. 

Transitioning from Preschool to Swimmer

If your child has reached 5 years of age and was previously in Swim Preschool, please review Swimmer 1 and Swimmer 2 criteria found in Age: 5 to 12 years below.

Free Swim Assessments

We can help you find the best fit. Assessments are completed by our experienced Head Instructors during swimming lessons. They will recommend the best level based on your child's current ability. If you did not participate in lessons in a previous session, we recommend receiving an assessment or registering back into the level that was previously taken. Please call the Centre at 705-742-0050 to schedule your free assessment.

Children must meet the minimum age requirement by the first day of swim lessons.

Age: 3 months to 2 years 

Current ability: Is ready to explore the water with a parent while learning fun games and songs.

Choose: Parent & Tot  

Our Parent & Tot levels are age based, with three levels to choose from. Choose the level that fits your toddler based on their age by the first day of lessons.

Age: 3 to 4 years 

Current ability: Is just starting out and ready to learn to enjoy the water without a parent.

Choose: Preschool A 

Similar to: YMCA Bobbers and Red Cross Sea Otter

Current ability: Can submerge face and blow bubbles. Float and glide on front and back (assisted). Successfully completed Preschool A.

Choose: Preschool B 

Similar to: YMCA Floaters and Red Cross Salamander

Current ability: Can jump into chest-deep water and submerge, perform front/back floats, glides, and kicking with an aid. Successfully completed Preschool B.

Choose: Preschool C

Similar to: YMCA Gliders and Red Cross Sunfish

Current ability: Can jump into deep water wearing a PFD, hold breath underwater, and perform front and back floats, glides, and kicking (unassisted). Successfully completed Preschool C.

Choose: Preschool D

Similar to: YMCA Surfers and Red Cross Crocodile

Current ability: Can jump into deep water, tread water for 10 s wearing a PFD, perform front, back, and side flutter kick, and swim front crawl wearing a PFD. Successfully Completed Preschool D.

Choose: Preschool E

Similar to: YMCA Gliders and Red Cross Whale

Age: 5 to 12 years

Current ability: Is new to swimming lessons, or has turned 5 years of age and has completed Preschool A, B, or C. This level focuses on the fundamentals of swimming.

Choose: Swimmer 1

Similar to: YMCA Otter and Red Cross Level 1

Current ability: Can submerge, perform front and back floats, glides and kicking, as well as swim front crawl for 5 m in a PFD. Has turned 5 years of age and completed Preschool D, or E.

Choose: Swimmer 2

Similar to: YMCA Seal and Red Cross Level 2/3

Current ability: Can tread water for 15 s, perform front, back and side flutter kick, whip kick in the vertical position, swim front and back crawl for 10 m each, and swim 4 x 5 m flutter kick interval training. Successfully completed Swimmer 2.

Choose: Swimmer 3

Similar to: YMCA Dolphin and Red Cross Level 4

Current ability: Can tread water for 30 s, perform front, back, and side flutter kick, whip kick on back, swim front and back crawl for 15 m, and swim 4 x 15 m flutter kick interval training. Successfully completed Swimmer 3.

Choose: Swimmer 4

Similar to: YMCA Swimmer and Red Cross Level 5

Current ability: Has completed the Canadian Swim to Survive standard (roll into deep water, tread 1 min, swim 50 m), whip kick on front, breaststroke arms, front and back crawl for 25 m, and can swim 4 x 25 m front or back crawl interval training. Successfully completed Swimmer 4.

Choose: Swimmer 5

Similar to: YMCA Star 1 and Red Cross Level 6

Current ability: Can perform eggbeater kick, front and back crawl for 50 m, breaststroke for 25 m, and two interval training workouts: 4 x 50 m front or back crawl, and 4 x 15 m breaststroke. Successfully completed Swimmer 5.

Choose: Swimmer 6

Similar to: YMCA Star 2 and Red Cross Level 7
Age: 8 to 13 years 

Current ability: Can perform a head-up swim for 25 m, breaststroke for 50 m, front crawl and back crawl for 100 m, breaststroke for 50 m, and a 300 m workout.   

Choose: Rookie Patrol

Similar to: YMCA Star 3 and Red Cross Level 8 

Current ability: Can perform a 350 m workout, 100 m timed swim, front crawl, back crawl, and breaststroke for 50 m, as well as lifesaving sport and first aid skills.

Choose: Ranger Patrol

Similar to: YMCA Star 4/5 and Red Cross Level 9

Current ability: Can swim front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke for 75 m, and can perform lifesaving sport and first aid skills. 

Choose: Star Patrol

Similar to: YMCA Star 5/6 and Red Cross Level 10

Age 13 to 15

Current ability: New to swimming, uncomfortable in the water.

Choose: Beginner Swimmer - Teen

Current ability: Comfortable in water, looking to focus on strokes, speed, endurance.

Choose: Fitness Swimmer - Teen

Current ability: Experienced swimmer, interested in Lifeguarding opportunities.

Choose: Bronze Medallion

Current ability: Experienced swimmer, completed all Bronze levels but too young for leadership courses.

Choose: Junior Lifeguard Club, and Assistant Swimming Instructor

Age 16+

Current Ability: New to swimming, uncomfortable in the water.

Choose: Beginner Swimmer - Teen

Current Ability: Comfortable in the water, looking to focus on strokes, speed, endurance.

Choose: Fitness Swimmer - Teen

Current Ability: Comfortable in the water, wants to become a lifeguard but does not have required pre-requisites.

Choose: Bronze Medallion

Current Ability: Completed Bronze Medallion and Cross, interested in becoming lifeguard or swimming instructor.

Choose: National Lifeguard - Pool, and Lifesaving Society Swim Instructor

Aquatic leadership programs and opportunities

Qualified lifeguards and swimming instructors are in demand. Learn teamwork and leadership skills, boost your self-confidence and communication skills for future careers. 

The Centre offers Lifesaving Society leadership courses that will certify you to become a Lifeguard and Swimming Instructor. Re-certification courses are also offered every session for those needing to update their certifications. 

Register for Leadership Courses

What courses can I take?

Peterborough Recreation Services offers the following courses, located at the Sport & Wellness Centre. Pre-requisites for course completion are listed below.

Bronze Medal Awards: Bronze Star, Medallion and Cross courses teach lifesaving and team work skills to prepare you for the National Lifeguard course. Pre-requisites for these courses are:

  • Bronze Star - age 10 or completion of Star Patrol
  • Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid - age 13 or completion of Bronze Star
  • Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid - completion of Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid

Bronze Medallion and Cross courses require text books and examinations for course completion. The books and exams are purchased separately and have their own fees in addition to the course cost.

Junior Lifeguard Club: this program is perfect for those who have completed Bronze Medallion but are too young to take the National Lifeguard Course. This program provides real life guarding experience through shadowing lifeguards who work for Recreation Services! No pre-requisites required.

National Lifeguard Certification: Canada's only nationally recognized lifeguard certification program. National Lifeguard is a legal certificate for lifeguarding throughout the country and is recognized by the province of Ontario for lifeguarding public swimming pools. 

  • Prerequisites: successful completion of Bronze Medallion and Standard First Aid, age 16 by the examination date

The NLS course requires a text book and examination for course completion. The books and exams are purchased separately and have their own fees in addition to the course cost.

NLS Recert: offered each session, this one day recert will refresh your skills. Pre-requisites include the NLS course and Standard First Aid certificate.

Swim Instructor Courses: Peterborough Recreation teaches Swim for Life programming and offers Lifesaving Society's instructor courses.

  • Lifesaving Society Assistant Instructor - no pre-requisites required
  • Lifesaving Society Swim and Lifesaving Instructor - age 16 by the end of the course and completion of Bronze Medallion (National Lifeguard Course is strongly recommended prior to taking this course)

Advanced Leadership Courses: Peterborough Recreation offers advanced leadership courses, for Lifeguards looking to enhance their certifications and skills.

  • Aquatic Supervisor Training - pre-requisites include National Lifeguard or Swim Instructor certifications and proof of 100+ hours of lifeguarding or instructing
  • Lifesaving Society Advanced Instructors and Examiner Standards Clinic - visiting Lifesaving Society's website for details on this course.
  • Red Cross WSI to Lifesaving Society Swim Instructor crossover course - this course certifies Red Cross Instructors with Lifesaving Society's Swim Instructor certification. 

Not all courses are offered each session. Please visit our registration website to see current course offerings.

Lifeguard & Swim Instructor: Required Qualifications 

Sport & Wellness Centre Staff: the minimum required qualifications to work as a lifeguard and swim instructor include:

  • Lifesaving Society National Lifeguard - Pool
  • Standard First Aid and CPR-C
  • Lifesaving Society Swim Instructors
  • Lifesaving Society Lifesaving Instructors

Beaches and Wading Pool Staff: the minimum required qualifications to work as a lifeguard at our seasonal beaches and wading pools include:

  • Lifesaving Society National Lifeguard - Pool
  • Lifesaving Society National Lifeguard - Waterfront
  • Standard First Aid and CPR-C
Volunteer Opportunities
Are you looking to fulfill your high school volunteer hours? Participants enrolled into the Junior Lifeguard Club or Swim Instructor course are provided with opportunities to shadow certified lifeguards and instructors. All shadowing hours count as volunteer hours. Contact the Aquatic Coordinator for more information at 705-742-0050 x 2208.
Job Opportunities

Join our team! The Centre offers flexible hours, with early morning, day time, evening and weekend shifts available. Work with us in a friendly, team-oriented atmosphere. Applications for the position of Lifeguard and Swim Instructor are accepted on an ongoing basis. 

Apply Now

lifeguardAffordable programming for everyone

Did you know? The Centre offers early registration and discounts on swimming lessons to Family & One Adult Family memberships! We also offer subsidized membership and program options based on financial eligibility. View our Recreation Subsidy page for more information.

Program policies and guidelines

Please visit our Policies page for aquatic policies, program registration and facility rules and expectations.

Additional facilities in Peterborough:

  • The YMCA of Peterborough has a 25-metre lap pool and a therapy pool. It also has a hot tub.
  • Trent University Athletics Centre is in the north end of Peterborough. It has a 25-metre lap pool and a warm therapy pool. Trent University also has North America's most advanced indoor rowing/paddling tank.