Long Islanders often boast of long weekends at our family-friendly beaches and endless opportunities for indoor aquatic activities. With proper swim instruction, children can be safe and have fun around our many waterways. From private swim classes to community pools, there are plenty of swim instruction destinations from which to choose. The great thing about these pools is that when summer is gone, kids can continue classes and add to their skills. There are schools for those as young as 6 months, continuing through lifeguard training.
In addition, Long Island has well-maintained outdoor pools for long days of family fun, including these on the East End. For even more outdoor adventures, see our guide to Long Island's best parks and playgrounds and our guide to LI's best amusement and water parks.
This popular franchise offers Baby & Me classes starting at 2 months of age, and small-group classes are available for kids ages 4 years and older. Individual lessons are available. Saf-T-Swim boasts pools heated to 88 degrees and classes are available year-round. Check its website for locations and special pricing and coupons.
YMCA of Long Island
The YMCA has seven locations on Long Island, six in Suffolk County, one—Glen Cove—in Nassau. All offer swim lessons for kids of all ability levels, following the instruction template of the national organization. The YMCA is the leading provider of swim instruction in the nation. Instruction is available privately or in group sessions for those between the ages of 6 months and 13 years. Special-needs children are also accommodated. YMCA members receive discounted lessons fees. The Y's Suffolk County locations are in Bay Shore (two), East Hampton, Holbrook, Huntington, and Patchogue.
Goldfish Swim School offers a unique program to get kids water-ready in a hurry.
Goldfish Swim School — Garden City
This facility opened in spring 2017. It offers swim programs for children from 4 months to 12 years of age. Offerings include Jump Start Clinics—daily classes designed to get kids water-ready in a short amount of time. Family Swim Night offers open-swim session on Friday nights in which the whole family can participate. Advanced swimmers can join the Swim Force competitive team.
Hofstra University — Hempstead
Hofstra University’s Saturday Classes for Young People program offers swim lessons year-round for kids from beginner to advanced levels. For beginners, classes are held in groups of two or three children per instructor, while more advanced swimmers can start lifeguard training or join the Hofstra Junior Swim Club. Children must be at least 4 years old at the start of the session. There is a $25 early-registration discount if you sign up at least one week prior to the start of classes.
Long Island Swim School — Garden City and Syosset
As the swim school branch of the elite Long Island Aquatic Club, the school's goal is to create strong, safe and confident swimmers for life. Kids ages 2-10 learn safety skills and swimming strokes in small classes of 3-5 children per instructor. Private lessons are also available. Spring and summer sessions are available.
Nassau County Aquatic Center — East Meadow
The aquatic center in Eisenhower Park offers American Red Cross-certified swim lessons year-round for children ages 6 months through teens. Lessons are offered to Nassau County residents with a Leisure Pass only.
Swim and Scuba — Rockville Centre
Swim and Scuba offers Baby and Me, private, semi-private and small-group lessons for children 6 months and older. In addition, advanced students can take swim-team preparation classes to work on stroke efficiency and turns. Membership allows the family to swim year-round.
The School of Fish offers certified instruction to children of all ages. Young children must be out of diapers.
School of Fish Swim and Scuba — Rocky Point
This school teaches swim classes to all ages. Children must be potty-trained (swim diapers are not permitted). All instructors are Red Cross WSI certified, and swimming lessons are sold in packages of six half-hour private lessons.
Some other options
UrSwim — Huntington
UrSwim is a unique program based in Huntington. If you have a pool or access to a private pool you can schedule an instructor to come to you. Owner Marina Montes has developed a program for personal swim coaches to provide individual or group lessons from babies to adults. There are also options such as Rent-a-Lifeguard for private functions and American Red Cross training.
Southampton Youth Services — Southampton
Group, semi-private and individual lessons are available in the outdoor pool, just one part of this 55,000-square-foot recreation center located near the hamlet of North Sea. Classes are held Mondays-Thursdays for two consecutive weeks and children are grouped by age and ability levels. Sessions are held June 26-July 7, excluding July 4; July 10-July 20; July 24-August 3; August 7-August 17; and August 21-September 31. SYS members pay $95 per session; non-members pay $115. Classes are capped at five students; children must be potty-trained. Parents are urged to register at least one week before the start of their desired session as sessions sell out quickly.
This article was originally published in September 2014 and updated in June 2017.
Top photo: Goldfish Swim School in Garden City offers programs for children as young as 4 months. Photos courtesy of the schools.