Learn to Swim!


Did you know that approximately 37% of adults in the U.S. do not know how to swim? To combat this, U.S. Masters Swimming developed the Adult Learn to Swim program which we offer to our community here in Marin County.

We will be offering our free group Adult Learn-to-Swim program again in 2017 which begins on June 13th at Novato High School Pool (Novato, CA). Our goal is to get you comfortable in the water (or increase your comfort) and help you swim freestyle with your face in the water. Along the way, we also teach some water safety skills like treading water, finding the exit, jumping in, and more. All adults learn differently and this program pairs you up one-on-one with a skilled and empathetic swimmer who will help you reach your goals.

You will find the flyer on our 2017 program available below. If, however, you would prefer to do this individually (and not in a group program) we also offer the opportunity to learn to swim through lessons available throughout the year with our coaches specially certified as Adult Learn-to-Swim Instructors. Contact Coach Shari Cruse by clicking her picture in the right side bar on this page and she can help work out the details with you.

Here is a flyer for our 2017 program to download and to share with others who may be interested.

2017 Adult Learn-to-Swim Flyer by Cokie Lepinski on Scribd

We have a Spanish language flyer here

2017 Adult Learn-to-Swim Flyer Spanish by Cokie Lepinski on Scribd

The skill sets we teach are:

  • Skill Set 1: Snorkel Use & Snorkel Breathing, Floating, Kicking
  • Skill Set 2: Basic Freestyle mechanics
  • Skill Set 3: More Advanced Freestyle mechanics (improved arm movement, the role of your hips and rotation in the stroke) along with water safety skills of Sculling & Treading Water
  • Skill Set 4: Breathing without the snorkel and breathing in freestyle
  • Skill Set 5: American Red Cross “water safe” skills including the goal of swimming one 25-yard lap of freestyle

The video below shows the Skills Sets and teaching progression. Our program is modeled after Coach Kerry O’Brien’s Free Flow Freestyle program used by the Walnut Creek Masters. We are ever so grateful for his design and creativity!

The videos should play the Skills Sets back-to-back and you can pause them whenever you want.

This year we are doing something even more exciting! Graduates of our 2017 Adult Learn-to-Swim program who can swim one lap of freestyle will be offered the option to continue on for another free 2-week “Masters 101” program. In our Masters 101, we will focus on improving your stroke, increasing your stamina, teaching you how to use a pace clock and even teaching you other strokes if you are interested. This program will also run at Novato High from 6:30-7:30 PM on June 27, 29, 30 and July 5, 6, 7. 

Our 2016 Program

In April 2016, Swymnut Masters offered our first ever FREE Adult Learn to Swim (ALTS) program as part of our involvement in the U.S. Masters Swimming 2016 Swimming Saves Lives campaign. There was no charge for this life changing and maybe even life saving swim campaign! As you can see from this collage poster, we had such a blast with our participants and all of our students were remarkable in taking on this challenge to conquer fear of the water and learn to swim.

ALTS Collage May 2016

To see for yourself how great this program was, check out some of our videos and pictures of our program in action. We have two links for you:

Our class sizes are intentionally small (10 max for each 2017 session) in order to provide our participants with an intimate and supportive environment. Our program involves 7 water sessions spread over 2 weeks with each participant paired up in the water with a specially trained volunteer who is warm, friendly and encouraging at all times. We need our participants to attend every session, because the more access you have to learning these skills, the better and faster progress you will make. In our first ALTS class, those who were able to make all of the sessions definitely advanced farther than those who missed a few sessions. The waiting list is long and for that reason as well, we need a commitment from our swimmers to make all the sessions we offer.

In our 2016 offering, with grant funding and sponsorships, we were able to provide our participants (at no charge) with goggles, snorkels, swim caps, t-shirts, and even some awesome towels. We want to thank our sponsors of U.S. Masters Swimming (Swimming Saves Lives Foundation for a wonderful grant that covered almost everything) along with Finis, Inc (snorkels and goggles for our participants) and Sutter Health Novato Community Hospital Bone & Joint Program (towels for all volunteers and participants). We could not have done this program without them!

Here is a video from Growing Bolder profiling the work being done to help save lives.

And here is information on the U.S. Masters Swimming website on their ALTS program. http://www.usms.org/learntoswim along with a public service announcement starring Mysty Hyman on ALTS.

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