When are the lessons?

Swimming seasons vary by region and pool availability. Please visit your local S.W.A.M. site for more information.

How are the lessons structured?

At the beginning of each season, we partner children up with an instructor according to their particular needs. The instructor assesses the swimming level of the child at the first lesson and identifies skills they will work towards during the season. Each child works with their own, private instructor for the entirety of the season.

How many lessons are offered each season?

Varies by region and pool availability.

How long are the lessons?

Varies by region and individual pool. Each weekly lesson normally lasts 30 minutes.

How much does it cost?

This depends on location, but on average lessons cost $20.00 per session.

My child is afraid of the water/has never done swimming lessons before, is this a problem?

This is not a problem! We accept children regardless of their swimming skill level.

Why are S.W.A.M. private lessons this cheap?

Our mission is to provide accessible and affordable water safety education to children with special needs. In order to make water safety instruction more financially accessible, we set our registration fees low enough that cost should not represent a significant barrier to entry. We are able to charge fees this low because our organization is completely volunteer-run and coordinated. We lower our costs by using innovative techniques to de-localize administrative tasks, avoiding the need for dedicated offices, staff or communications equipment. In addition to minimizing operating expenses, we also actively fundraise around campus and solicit donations from the public and private sectors.

Where/when do I pay registration fees?

Registration fees vary by Chapter. Please see your chapter website for more specific information!

Who are the instructors?

Instructors are all volunteer University students who have been put through a three-step screening and training process. Please note that S.W.A.M. volunteers are not certified swim instructors.

Is there a lifeguard on duty?

A fully qualified, paid lifeguard, employed directly from the pool is always on duty during lessons.

My child is feeling sick and cannot come to lessons, should I let you know?

Yes! It is very important that parents alert their local chapter executives in a timely manner if their child is not coming to lessons or if their child will be arriving late. This allows them to give due notification to their instructor, preventing the instructor from arriving to the pool without a child to teach. We need the collaboration of all parents involved to help us retain all of our wonderful volunteers.

Do you offer lessons during the summer?

At this time, we are unable to offer lessons during the summer (unless stated otherwise by regional SWAM chapters). Because all of our instructors are University students, most are away or unavailable during the summer months.

What should my child bring with them to lessons?

Your child should arrive with their bathing suit and a towel, nothing else is necessary. Optional items include a bathing cap, nose plug and goggles.

Do parents get in the water with the children?

No, each child is paired up with an instructor, so there is no need for the parents to enter the water. There is, however, an observation area located close to the poolside where parents can sit and watch lessons.

When are lessons held?

This varies by region and pool availability.

Who is eligible? Does my child require a diagnosis to participate in S.W.A.M.?

Our clientele includes children with Down's Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Global Developmental Delay, Epilepsy, Attention Deficit Disorder, Blind/Low-Vision, Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing, as well as many other conditions. No official diagnosis is required.

I cannot afford to pay the registration fee all at once. Can my child still participate?

Please contact your local chapter and we can work out a flexible payment plan.

Can I make a donation?

Yes! Please make donations payable to S.W.A.M. Canada and we will issue a non-tax deductible receipt. You can also donate online through the Special Olympics Ontario "Ready, Set, Give!" platform.

Can I pay online?

Unfortunately this is unavailable at this time.