Summer of Safety: A Parent’s Guide to Tampa Bay Swimming Lessons

Our thoughts are turning to ways to keep cool in the brutal summer heat to come. For most of us, that means taking a dip in a cool body of water.

As a Florida girl, much of my childhood was spent around water. There was a lake in our neighborhood when I was growing up that was the focus of long, hot afternoons spent floating on inner tubes, playing water tag and looking out for snakes and turtles. Between the lake, the beach and various swimming pools, water was a fact of life, so my mom insisted on one thing:

Swimming lessons.

Swimming in the 70s

Growing up in Florida, my brother and I spent countless hours in the water.

Since we’re surrounded by water here in Florida, water safety has to be top of mind for every parent of small children. But when you’ve decided to take the plunge and seek out swimming instructors in the Tampa Bay area, there’s a lot of info to wade through. Now that I’m a mom raising a little Floridian, I’ve spent the last couple of summers sitting poolside watching my little guy with a swimming instructor, and I’ve found a few resources that can help you navigate the waters of your little one’s first foray into swimming lessons. Be aware that this is a result of my personal research for swimming lessons for my son. You’ll want to check out some of these resources and see what works for your family.

Class is in Session

It may come as no surprise that there are Olympic swimmers that have hailed from right here in the Tampa Bay area. In fact, Brandon is home to the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, which boasts Olympic gold medalist Brooke Bennett as one of its alumni. If your little swimmer takes to the water like, well, a fish to water, BSAC sports the renowned Blue Wave Swimming Team and Team Colwill Dive Team competitive programs. If your little one’s dreams of Olympic gold are still in the distant future, the Learn to Swim program teaches basic skills and water safety. You can opt for group or private lessons, and instructors will keep you informed at every step of the process. Your child only moves to the next level when they’ve mastered the skills of his or her current level.

Swimming lesson

You’ll also find aquatics programs at many of our local YMCA facilities, like the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA in Hillsborough County, and YMCA of the Suncoast in Pinellas.

In addition to those private organizations, many cities offer swimming lessons in local public pools. Here are some options to try:

City of Tampa Parks and Recreation

City of St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation

City of Clearwater Parks and Recreation

Too Cool for (Swim) School

Most of the time, when you want to start swimming lessons, it means hopping in the car and heading to a pool. But there are some swim instructors who will come to you. This could be a perfect option if you live in a neighborhood with a community pool and can split the cost of lessons with other families in your area.

A few local instructors who will teach in a pool of your choice:

AquaMobile Swim

Sunsational Swim School

Mermaid Swim School

Get Connected with the Red Cross

No matter which approach you take to swimming lessons, water safety should always be part of your routine. As part of its own curriculum for swimming lessons, the American Red Cross has developed an app you can use with your little swimmers to help teach them swimming skills and safety while having fun. Even if your instructor doesn’t use the American Red Cross program, you can still check out the app.

Swimming Pool

Makes you want to jump right in, doesn’t it? Kids feel this way, too.

For more on water safety, swimming schools, and other information for life in and around the water, visit the American Red Cross website at, or USA Swimming Schools.

Whether you’re hitting the pool or the surf, here’s to a safe season of fun in the sun and in the water!

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