Kids learn to swim for free through the NYC Parks Department.
Kids learn to swim for free through the NYC Parks Department.

Register for Free Spring Swim Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE swim lessons for children and adults year-round, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. The FREE spring swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration opens Monday, March 2 at noon and runs through Monday, March 9 at noon.

Read on for the details on where to swim for FREE, or check our directory of paid kids' swim classes, and mommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those in Brooklyn and Queens.

Swimming lessons are hosted by the city's outdoor pools each summer, while the Parks Department's swim programs are held at indoor recreation center pools throughout NYC in the spring, winter, and fall.

You can register your child for every session or just one. What you don't want to do is register at multiple locations for the same session. (This is not school ranking, folks.) The system will remove your application as a duplicate if you apply for more than one spot.

RELATED: Free and Cheap Afterschool Programs for NYC Kids


Get ready to be a great swimmer at NYC Parks swim lessons.  

Spring Swim Program Details

The Parks Department offers free swim lessons at indoor city pools, with classes for toddlers ages 1.5 to 5, for kids ages 6 to 17, and adults. The full list of participating pools by borough is available on the Parks Department's website. Important note: If your child is age 1.5 to 5, you are required to be in the water with them during lessons (one caregiver per kid). Children who miss more than two consecutive lessons are dropped from the class.

The spring swim session runs from March 21 through June 11, with a mandatory water test on Saturday, March 21. Registration opens at noon on Monday, March 2 and runs through Monday, March 9 at noon.


Line up for swimming with NYC Parks. 

How to Register 

Enter the online lottery for the session. Register separately for each child, and remember to submit only one application per child, since duplicates are automatically deleted from the lottery system. Winners are chosen at random, and the Parks Department will email you if selected.

Additional NYC Swim Sessions

The Parks Department offers swim lessons free of charge at indoor pools year-round. Below are the programs that are usually offered. Locations and schedule info are available on the registration page. If you run into registration issues, call Citywide Aquatics at 718-760-6969, ext. 0.

Saturday Learn-to-Swim Lessons
All ages
Saturday learn-to-swim lessons are organized into three age groups: 1.5 to 5, 6 to 17, and everyone else. Children ages 1.5 to 5 must be accompanied in the water by an adult who is a member of the recreation center. FREE

After-School Learn-to-Swim Lessons
Ages 6-17
Indoor pools across the city offer swim classes for ages 6 and up after school on select weekdays, usually starting at 4pm. FREE

Swim Team
Ages 6-18
More advanced swimmers can hone their skills by joining a competitive team. These sessions emphasize technique, endurance, speed, and sportsmanship as participants train for the Borough Cup Championship. Kids must be able to swim 50 yards in reasonably good form to try out, and are required to submit a completed application and a copy of their birth certificate. Online registration for the spring 2020 session is open on a rolling basis. Applications can be completed online, and tryouts take place once the application is received. The swim team season runs through May 16, 2020. Questions? Call Citywide Aquatics: 718-760-6969, ext. 0. FREE

Adapted Aquatics Instruction
All-Ages
This program for people with special physical needs offers adapted workouts for those suffering from ailments resulting from injury, disease, or aging. It's offered at a handful of sites, and outdoor pools during the summer. The lottery dates and session times are slightly different than the swim lessons, so keep that in mind as you plan. Call 718-760-6969, ext. 0 to register. FREE

For more information about the Parks Department's swim programs, call 718-760-6969 or visit the website.

This article was originally published in 2009 but is updated every season.

Photos courtesy of NYC Parks

Summer Sports Experience - Jefferson Park
Thomas Jefferson Park - 10:00 AM Pick
Kids in Motion - Marus Garvey Park
Marcus Garvey Park - 10:00 AM Pick
Red Hook Play Street
West 9th Street - 1:00 PM Pick
Bubble Man in Bryant Park
Bryant Park - 2:00 PM Pick
Harry Potter at Home
- various times Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides