Frequently Asked Questions

Swim Lesson Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to know about the YMCA swim lesson policies

What do we do when we enter the building?

If you are a member, you will scan your household member card (or your child’s card if they have a youth membership) and proceed to the locker rooms/pool area. Prospective members can check in with front desk or courtesy counter staff.

Where do we change and how do we get to the pool?

Children – At the Downtown Y, children may use the Girl’s or Boy’s locker room as appropriate to their gender (children under 6 may use the locker room appropriate to their accompanying parent’s gender).

At the Natelli Family Y, children accompanied by their parents may use the universal locker room. Unaccompanied children aged 10 and up may use the guest men’s/women’s locker rooms as appropriate to their gender.

Adult Women’s/Men’s Rooms – Children are not permitted into the adult men’s and women’s locker rooms.

Single Stall Rooms – May be used by anyone at any time, but are of particular importance to our patrons with limited mobility, and parents with opposite gender children. Please keep this in mind when choosing a single stall room.

Pool Entrances – Patrons are expected to enter the pool through the locker rooms. Patrons with limited mobility and parents with opposite gender young children may ask a staff member to open the staff entrance door at the DTY for them on an as-needed basis.

Do I need to be present for my child’s class?

Children under the age of 9 must have a designated parent/guardian or adult chaperone on the pool deck with them at all times, including during swim classes. If you have multiple children under 9 taking swim lessons in different locations, please remain in the area with the younger child(ren), and inform the instructors of your whereabouts at the start of class.

Water Discovery, Water Exploration, and Acclimate With Me classes require a designated adult in the water with each child. Please plan to be on the pool deck slightly before the start of class, late arrivals may miss important information presented at the beginning of class.

What should I/my child wear?

All participants must be wearing appropriate swim attire in order to enter the pool, street clothes are not permitted. Participants who are easily chilled are welcome to wear a swim shirt or “shorty” wetsuit in addition to their swimsuit. All garments should fit snugly with no excess or loose fabric. Swim hoods are permitted if required and must be snug fitting “scuba style” with no loose fabric. Children who are not fully potty-trained must wear a swim diaper and/or tight fitting rubber or plastic pants under their swimsuit.

What accessories should we bring?

Goggles, nose plugs, and ear plugs are not recommended for Parent/Child and Water Acclimation classes unless required for medical reasons. An integral part of learning to swim is becoming comfortable with water in and on the face, as well as learning how to clear water away from the face when swimming. Instructors will provide opportunities for participants to try skills without the use of these products, but will permit students to use them at parent request.

Intermediate swimmers can use goggles if desired, and it is recommended that advanced swimmers wear goggles for lap swimming purposes. “Scuba” style face masks with an attached nose piece are not permitted in any stage. Swim caps can be worn as desired, and are recommended for students with long hair.

All other equipment is provided by the YMCA, please keep all flotation devices at home.

What happens if we miss a class?

We are not able offer make-ups, drop-in sessions, or credits/refunds for students who have missed group classes.

If a class meeting is canceled by the YMCA due to pool closure or instructor absence, every effort will be made to hold a make-up offering for the group as a whole. Make ups for canceled classes are typically offered during the break week between sessions, and usually follow the regular class schedule. A class meeting is considered “canceled” if at least half the allotted time frame is lost. Schedule changes will be announced via email and in the Aquatics Facebook Group when possible.

What is your illness policy?

Swimmers will need to remain home if they aren’t feeling well or if they have any of the symptoms listed below. Swimmers who are not feeling well may be contagious and we don’t want the other participants and staff exposed. Additionally certain types of illnesses can cause the entire pool to be shut down to properly sanitize the water. Anyone who is not feeling well enough to participate in all lesson activities should remain home until they are ready to participate fully. Do not attend lessons if there are signs/symptoms of illness including but not limited to:

  • fever- has an armpit temperature of 99 F (37.2 C) or higher
  • vomiting (health department law)
  • diarrhea (health department law)
  • yellow/green nasal or eye discharge
  • pink eye
  • severe cough
  • nits, lice
  • sore throat
  • unexplained rash (health department law)
  • open wounds (health department law)

Participants will need to be symptom free for 24 hours without medication before returning to lessons.

What about bathroom breaks and diapers

Please encourage all swimmers to make an attempt to use the toilet prior to entering the pool. Your child’s swim teacher is not permitted to escort your child to use the toilet. If your child requests to use the toilet during the course of their swim, take them immediately, do not ask them to wait until swim is over.

If your child is not reliably potty trained, a fresh swim diaper and/or snug fitting plastic pants must be worn under the bathing suit while in the pool. If your child soils their diaper during the course of swim, they must be taken immediately to the bathroom to be changed. Do not wait until swim is over to change your child’s diaper, do not change diapers on the pool deck.

Accidents in the pool will cause a shutdown of up to 24 hours and must be prevented if at all possible.

Can my child play in the pool before class starts?

Oftentimes the pool is reserved exclusively for registered programs; in this case, swimmers must wait for their class to start before entering the pool.

If the schedule indicates “Open Rec”, YMCA members may utilize the pool for free play. Children who are non-swimmers or weaker swimmers must be accompanied in the water by an adult in swimming attire at all times. Please refer to the section on swim testing on our pool policy page for more information.

If the schedule indicates “Adult Lap” YMCA members ages 16 and older may utilize the pool for independent lap swim.

What is the student to instructor ratio in my/my child’s class?

The YMCA of Frederick County sets our target class ratios as follows, specific class ratios may fall anywhere within these guidelines based on stage, age, and available instructors:

Parent/Child Classes – 1 instructor per 10-12 pairs
Pre-School Classes – 1 instructor per 4-6 students
School-Age Swim Basics – 1 instructor per 4-6 students
School-Age Swim Strokes – 1 instructor per 6-8 students
Teen Lessons – 1 instructor per 4-10 students

How do evaluations work?

Mid Session Reports – These are handed out the week prior to the beginning of registration for the next session. The form will indicate what skills your child has completed, as well as what stage they are approved for next session. Please bring this form with you to the front desk immediately to make any necessary updates to your child’s stage in our system.

Certificate of Achievement – These are handed out at the last class. The form will indicate which skills your child has completed and will provide an updated recommendation for your child’s next stage. If a change in stage has been made, please bring the form to the front desk to transfer your registration as needed.

How quickly should I expect my child to move up?

We encourage each child to progress at their own pace, as such there is no set timeline on which we expect children to move from one stage to the next. For the safety of your child, as well as the rest of the children in the class, our instructors will not move a child to the next swim stage until they are capable of safely completing all of the skills in their current stage. Swimming requires a complex set of gross motor skills and it is very common for children to spend several sessions in any one stage before being ready to move up. If you feel there has been an error in your child’s placement, please feel free to contact our Aquatics Administration to discuss your concerns.

My child has aged out of pre-school classes, what now?

When your child turns 6, you can choose whether you would like to keep them in pre-school classes in the small pool, or switch them to school age classes in the big pool. When your child turns 7, they must switch to school age classes. We suggest that when your child moves up in age grouping, they repeat the stage they are currently in, even if they were approved to move up a stage. It is often overwhelming for children to move up in age grouping and in stage at the same time.

How can I help support my child’s learn to swim process?

Depending on participant age, Y swim lessons are only 30 to 60 minutes, once per week for 7 weeks. To develop competence and confidence in the water it is important for students to practice their swim skills outside of class time. The best way to do this is by visiting our pools during open rec and community swim, check our online pool schedule for available days and times.

If you want to help support your child’s learn to swim process at home, you can download the Safety And Character Topics and Swim Lessons Home Activities

What do I do if I have more questions?

Questions or concerns from parents can be directed to the on deck supervisor, or to the instructor after classes end. Please allow instructors to lead classes without interruptions. Please keep in mind that many instructors may need to go from one class directly into another and may ask you to speak to the on deck supervisor even after class ends. Additionally, please feel free to reach out to our Aquatics Administration by phone or email using the contact information below.

Contact Information

Samm Meddaugh
Aquatics Director
301-663-5131 x 2513

a boy with a swimsuit and towel

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