2023: New swim lesson program for UBC

As of January 2023, the UBC Aquatic Centre is delivering the Lifesaving Society’s Swim for Life swim lesson programming. This programming which has been delivered in parts of Canada for over a decade introduces to British Columbians new levels and progression steps for swim lesson programming.

Swim for Life – Swim Lesson Conversion Chart: Guests are encouraged to review the download their own copy of the chart  here. This chart outlines the previous Canadian Red Cross course equivalent, and helps in determining the correct level within the new Swim for Life program.  

Frequently Asked Questions

After 76 years, the Canadian Red Cross is not longer delivering Swim and Lifeguard programming in order to direct more attention to the surging humanitarian demands in other areas.

The Canadian Red Cross worked with the Lifesaving Society over the a two-year period to facilitate the transition to the Lifesaving Society’s Swim for Life Program.

  • The Canadian Red Cross program was stroke/technique focused
  • The Lifesaving Society Swim for Life program curriculum includes more water safety and drowning prevention skills
  • The majority of the swim skills are mostly unchanged. Fundamentals such as floats, glides, front crawl, back crawl, and breaststroke will still be taught
  • Elementary backstroke is no longer taught, but replaced with lifesaving kicks
  • New skills to support water safety and drowning prevention: Compact Jumps, Somersaults, Rolls into Deep Water, etc. it is known that swimmers in many different aquatic settings use fun skills like cannon balls, etc. while recreating on their own. By teaching how to do these skills safely in a supervised learning environment, we do our part to prevent injury in public recreation environments. And it's FUN!

All skills taught in the Swim for Life program are derived from the Mission and Values set out by the Lifesaving Society. Skills in the program focus on the fundamental swim strokes and skills needed to achieve the Swim to Survive standard.

Swim to Survive: The Swim to Survive Standard defines the minimum skills required to survive an unexpected fall into water.

    • Roll into deep water
    • Tread water for 1 minute
    • Swim 50 metres (in any manner)

REPEAT levels are a split class between a child’s current level and the next one. This is done so that if a child had nearly completed a level but was missing a skill, they are not in a class with students that are new to that level. It will allow a seamless transition into the next level. Reminder to parents/guardians and participants alike that every skill must be actively demonstrated to successfully complete a level. It is quite common for participants to redo a level more than once.

Should you wish to swim while your child is in swimming lessons please plan ahead and book a pre-registered session as space is limited (Reminder: Sessions are available 50 hrs prior to the start of the session).

Important Reminder:  Unless registered separately, there is no swimming prior to or following swimming lesson session times.

Whereas the UBC Aquatic Centre offers "Drop-in sessions" throughout every day of the week, swim sessions offered during swim lesson times are pre-registered so as to provide guests the optimal experience and to ensure adequate staffing levels to support the programming and activities in the facility. All guests are invited to consult the UBC Aquatic Centre website and schedule prior to any visit. All schedules are subject to change.

Registrants for swim lesson programs at the UBC Aquatic Centre will receive a "pre-lesson email" outlining all relevant details prior to the start of their swim lesson set.

Topics covered include: Check-in location, arrival location, what to bring, change room reminders, etc.

Can I register ahead of time for the next levels? My child is in a Swimmer 1 for Set 1, should I just register them for set 2 as Swimmer 2?

Guests are asked not to pre-book lessons ahead of time until they know the level that their child should register in. This is done for reasons of safety as well as aiming to ensuring that our swim lessons are accessible to all.

Guests are invited to make note of the below key dates:

  • Tuesday February 21:   Spring & Summer programs will be available for review online
  • Wednesday March 1:  Spring & Summer programs will be available for registration (1pm)

Online self-withdrawal is now available 8 days or more from program start. Customers can use the online registration portal to receive a full credit or refund. Click here to learn more about online withdrawals and a tutorial on the process.

  • Access to the facility is via the Main Entrance.
  • A cleaning shower is required prior to swimming.
  • No outdoor shoes permitted on deck.
  • No on-deck spectating is permitted.
  • Unless registered separately, there is no swimming prior to or following swimming lesson session times.
  • Parents are not to use the leisure deck gate and asked to walk around via the lobby / front desk. Access to the pool deck is via the change rooms.
  • If parents/guardians have questions, they are invited to speak to their swim instructor before/after class or the are welcome to speak with the Shift Supervisor.
  • If arriving late or if you have any questions, please see Shift Supervisor for assistance.