Chin, nose and under they go! Oh, the memories of childhood swim lessons. It takes a good teacher, positive words, patience, patience and more patience to successfully help children through the early stages of aquatic training. The brightly-colored noodles, kick boards, blowing bubbles, bobbing and floating — it’s time to think about swim lessons. Here are five Charlotte locations that will teach the basic and essential swim skills, water safety or lay a solid foundation in strokes to prepare the kids for competitive team swimming:
Levine Jewish Community Center
5007 Providence Road
Charlotte, NC 28226
Being Jewish is not a requirement to take part in the active life on the beautiful campus at the Levine Jewish Community Center. Follow the signs to the community center which houses the main pool. Besides swim lessons, the program features water aerobics, swim-a-thons, aquatic therapy, year-round swim teams and more. Infant and toddler classes start at 6 months to 2 years old, with the assistance of a parent. Learning includes songs and games. Each class description includes goals. The PreFin 1 goals (ages 3-4) include holding eyes in water for three seconds and to float. A pre-team class for ages 5-8 will fine tune strokes, teaches diving and builds endurance. The year-round swim team is offered to qualified swimmers ages 5-18. Shalom Park offers swim lessons and other educational activities to needy children through the Freedom School Program. Some 50+ children are brought to the campus throughout the summer. Swim classes are offered to preschool through teens attending Camp Mindy during the summer. The day camp also offers sports, archery, science and technology. Aquatics Director Mario Francisco says it is a priority to keep swim classes small, and character building is an important element in the swim program. During the warmer months, two- 25-meter outdoor pools with a spray ground, family lockers and covered eating areas open to the public.
Swim Mac Training Center at Charlotte Latin
9550 Providence Road
Charlotte, NC 28277
Swim Mac trains athletes hoping for gold some day. It is nationally known for its competitive division of training. The swim school offers classes for ages 4 and up, whether for recreational purposes or hopes of becoming a serious athlete. The competitive swimming community on staff includes a nutritionist, athletic trainers, sports psychologist, massage therapist, strength and conditioning coach and master teachers. There is a teen fit program for middle and high school students. It’s for the swimmer preparing for a team, training for a triathlon or pursuing cross fit conditioning for other sports. Technique-based swim clinics are offered for racing skills. Summer league clinics practice the backstroke, freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke and more. Four summer sessions begin June 7 and end August 8. Lap swimming is offered at the Charlotte Latin training facility. It also includes use of the weight/aerobic room.
Little Otter Swim School
8200 Tower Point Drive
Charlotte, NC 28227
Little Otter Swim School has a gentle, friendly approach to instruction. The Otter Baby division starts at 16-18 months. The advanced division includes a developmental swim team for ages 6+. Swim team instruction includes beginner freestyle with practice of all four main strokes. The facility has an exceptional system to purify its waters in both the baby and main pools. The baby pool water is circulated every hour, while the main pool is circulated every 2.5 hours. In addition, ultra-violet lights help to keep the waters disease-free. A parent favorite is the floor-to-ceiling viewing windows, allowing both the parent and the student to stay in full sight of each other. The rim-flow design on the main pool keeps the waters calm. The facility offers a diaper changing bench, a comfortable waiting area and cubbies for personal belongings.
7835 Little Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28226
Charlotte Aquatics emphasizes water safety and drowning prevention. Pool waters are chlorine free, using bromine instead. Chlorine produces a distinctive smell as it becomes dirty, while bromine produces very little smell as it becomes dirty. A bromine-sanitized facility is more expensive and complicated to operate. Pool water is kept at 89 degrees. Chlorine becomes less stable at warmer temperatures. Swim instruction is offered for ages 5 months through 14 years old. Competitive clinics offer classes in the basic swim strokes readying students for team swimming. Swim diapers are available for purchase.
Charlotte Swim Academy
9315 Monroe Road A
Charlotte, NC 28270
Charlotte Swim Academy’s bright orange fish car magnets are seen all over the city. It is a family-owned business of twenty years. With a degree in early childhood education, Martha Sue Crowley combined her love for kids and water. The school’s philosophy: Private lessons are the safest and most practical way to identify weaknesses and strengths, thus developing the skill at a faster rate. Registration is underway for summer classes. The facility also offers stroke clinics: Stroke I — freestyle and backstroke, Stroke II — breaststroke and butterfly and Pre-Team — strength and endurance in all four strokes. Some students have gone on to swim at the collegiate level.
Catherine Lash engagingly connects with people. She has learned that interested listening and thoughtful questioning are the means through which collaboration creates a story. She grew up traveling the world and learning military life in an Air Force family of seven. She currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and three kids. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.