The Y has a long, rich history in swimming. We pioneered the practice of swim lessons over 160 years ago and have taught generations of families how to swim. Our expertise and leadership in swimming sets us apart and our warm, patient approach to teaching sets you at ease.

Swimming is a fundamental life skill. Our nationally certified swim instructors teach all ages – from infants to seniors – how to swim and be safe in the water. In fact, safety is our main focus, along with swim readiness, stroke development, and developing a healthy, positive approach to water, exercise and fun.

Whether you're new to swimming or refining your skills, all participants of all abilities can comfortably learn at their own pace, progress at their own pace, and become strong, safe swimmers at their own pace!

The Y offers progressive swim lesson programs for all ages - infants through seniors. Check out our class offerings below to find one that's right for you.


Parent/child age 6 months - 3 years

Accompanied by a parent, infants and toddlers learn to be comfortable in the water and develop swim readiness skills through fun and confidence-building experiences, while parents learn about water safety, drowning prevention, and the importance of supervision around water.


A / Water Discovery

Introduces infants and toddlers to the swim environment. If your child is not yet able to respond to verbal cues and jump on land, this class is designed for you.

B / Water Exploration

This class focuses on exploring body positions, blowing bubbles, and fundamental safety and swim skills. If your child is not yet comfortable working with an instructor without a parent, this class is designed for you.

SWIM BASICS Swim Program

Preschool Age 3 - 5 years, School Age 5 - 12 years, Teens/Adults age 12+

Students learn personal water safety and achieve basic swimming competency. They will learn the recommended skills for all to have around water including safe water habits, underwater exploration, and how to swim to safety and exit in the event of falling into a body of water. Activities, games and drills, geared to reinforce learning, are utilized heavily as students progress in this skill-based approach to swimming.


1 / Water Acclimation

Increases comfort with underwater exploration and introduces basic self-rescue skills performed with assistance. If you are not yet able to go underwater voluntarily, this class is designed for you.

2 / Water Movement

Encourages forward movement in water and basic self-rescue skills performed independently. If you are not yet able to do a front and back float on your own, this class is designed for you.

3 / Water Stamina

Develop intermediate self-rescue skills performed at longer distances. If you are not yet able to swim 10 - 15 yards on your front and back, this class is designed for you.


Preschool Age 3 - 5 years (stage 4 only), School Age 5 - 12 years, Teen/Adult age 12+

Having mastered the fundamentals, students learn additional water safety and rescue skills. Swimmers build stroke technique and are introduced to the four competitive swimming strokes: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly.


4 / Stroke Introduction

Introduces basic stroke technique in front crawl and back crawl and reinforces water safety through treading water and elementary backstroke. If you are not yet able to swim 15 yards of front and back crawl, this class is designed for you.

5 / Stroke Development

Introduces breaststroke and butterfly and reinforces water safety through treading water and sidestroke. If you are not yet able to swim front crawl, back crawl, and breaststroke across the pool, this class is designed for you.

6/ Stroke Mechanics

Refines stroke technique on all major competitive strokes and encourages swimming as part of a healthy lifestyle. If you are not yet able to swim front crawl, back crawl, and breaststroke across the pool and back, this class is designed for you.

One-on-one swim instruction is available in four, eight or twelve sessions.

Individual swim lessons give you the freedom to work with a swim instructor on the specific skills you need to focus on.

Vary your exercise routine with our water exercise classes. They’re sure to be easy on the joints, reinvigorating for the soul and even therapeutic! To see water exercise schedules, click on the SCHEDULES button and select Water Exercise in the 'Select Interest' field. You can search all Y Centers or a specific center.

Aqua Arthritis

Co-sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation. Non-clinical, recreational swim program.

Aqua Zumba

A pool-based fusion of body sculpting movements with easy to follow dance steps to the tune of R & B and international music. Featuring aqua aerobic/fitness interval training, instructed by a Zumba certified instructor.

Deep Water Jog

A challenging, high-intensity workout done in deep water to focus on strength, endurance and aerobic fitness.

Swim Fit

A high level fitness program that incorporates lap swimming, aqua jogging & kicking. Must be able to swim freestyle.

Water Fitness

Moderate intensity workout focusing on toning, conditioning and strengthening. Performed in shallow water.

Water Fitness Challenge

A cardiovascular workout with toning exercises. The class will use noodles and dynabands to tone upper & lower torso.

Water Fitness Combo

Shallow and deep water exercising to music with concentrated exercises to strengthen and tone the upper & lower torso.

Water in Motion

A water exercise workout that provides a low-impact, high energy challenge for participants of all ages, skill and fitness levels. Make a splash with this dynamic cardio workout that tones and tapers the entire body!

Wet & Sweat

Perform gentle activities in warm water for ages 50+

Some Y Centers offer water sports as a great way to stay active.

Water Polo

Water polo is a team sport played in the deep end of the pool and consists of two teams of six. The object of the game is to score the most points by passing a ball between teammates and throwing it in the opponents goal. Participants will have one hour of drills and skill development followed by one hour of game play. Strong treading water skills are needed.

Y Swim Teams are competitive swimming programs focused on individual and team improvement in a positive, family environment. Our swimmers, coaches and families follow the Y core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. We are committed to developing our swimmers as both athletes and people to achieve their fullest potential as healthy, caring individuals.

Y Swim Teams compete in the Chesapeake & Potomac Swimming League. The competitive season runs from September to March. Swim team youth participate in local, regional and in some cases, national swim meets. Team practice is held at Y centers. You must be part of a Y family membership to participate on a Y swim team.

We are proud of our swim teams and swim team families. They are a very important part of the Y and our rich history in swimming. Although winning is not our main focus, members of our swim teams have enjoyed a great deal of success, including:

  • US Olympic Trial Qualifiers
  • US Open Qualifiers
  • Nationals Finalists
  • USA Swimming Top 16
  • Maryland Swimming Top 5
  • NCAA Division I Scholarship recipients

Swim team members are grouped by age ranging from 5 – 18 years old. Most of our swim teams maintain a wait list of youth interested in joining. When openings are available, coaches pull from the wait list to evaluate swimmers and/or hold swim team evaluations. This is done during the summer months.

To find out if a participating Y center is holding evaluations or for more information, please use the contact information below.

Y Center Team Mascot More Info Head Coach
The Y in Catonsville Barracudas
The Y in Ellicott City (Dancel) Blue Crabs
The Y in Westminster (Hill) Piranhas
The Y in Towson (Orokawa) Blue Crabs
The Y in Abingdon (Ward) Blue Crabs
The Y in Pasadena Blue Crabs
The Weinberg Y in Waverly Blue Crabs
Swim Center in Randallstown Blue Crabs

A Masters Swim Team is available at some Y Centers for adult swimmers age 18 and older. This is a competitive swim team for individuals who are interested in improving their stroke technique and development. Structured practices are led by a swim coach and teams may compete locally among other master swim groups.

Nationally Recognized as a Leader in Lifeguard Training


The Y has a long history and tradition in lifesaving and water safety since we created the first national lifesaving service corps in 1912.

The Y lifeguard certification course provides participants with the knowledge and skills needed to be a lifeguard and professional rescuer. The 36-hour course (27.5 hours in-person training and 8.5 hours of eLearning) teaches lifeguards how to effectively perform their duties in the pool, lake, river, surf, and waterpark environments.

Upon successful completion of the Y Lifeguard Certification Course, participants will receive certification in:

  • Lifeguard
  • CPR Pro/AED for the Professional Rescuer
  • Basic First Aid
  • Emergency Oxygen Administration

The Y Lifeguard Certification Course is nationally recognized and accepted at all pools and organizations across all 50 states, including Maryland and the District of Columbia.

More Affordable, Register Now

The Y strongly believes in access for all. That's why our Lifeguard Certification Course is one of the lowest cost (if not the lowest), highest quality courses in Central Maryland -- as low as $240 less than other comparable courses!

  • Price: Y Members - $110, Program Participants - $160

You can REGISTER ONLINE for the Y Lifeguard Certification Course or sign up in person at any Y in Central Maryland Center. <

The Y can also offer Y lifeguard and recertification training at your community pool, swim club, apartment complex, or recreation center. For more information regarding this opportunity, please contact Jill Black, VP of Swim and Family Programming at

Pre-course Assessment

In order to take a Y lifeguard certification course, you must be at least 16 years old and you must pass a pre-course assessment:

  • Tread water for one minute with both hands out of the water
  • Tread water for two minutes with both hands in the water
  • Swim 100 yards freestyle in two minutes or less
  • 250 yard endurance swim: 50 yards each of front crawl (head out of water); sidestroke; breastroke; breastroke (head out of water); elementary backstroke kick with hands on chest
  • Surface dives/underwater swim: perform an arm-over-arm surface dive; feet first surface dive; feet first surface dive and swim underwater for 15 feet
  • Perform a series of sequence skills

CPR Certifications

The Y in Central Maryland offers national CPR and First Aid certifications.


Our CPR certification course (ASHI Basic Life Support) will teach you how to be prepared and ready to respond to life-threatening emergencies, including providing basic life support, responding to choking and other airway obstruction incidents, and more. This course is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to be prepared should an emergency medical situation arise; parents, caregivers, babysitters, employees, teachers, and so on. REGISTER ONLINE FOR CPR CERTIFICATION

  • Training time: 4 - 5 hours
  • Recognized certification period: up to 2 years
  • Ages: 14 and older
  • Y member rate: $40 Guest rate: $60

Successful completion requires:

  • Written evaluation: a correct score of 70% or better
  • Performance evaluation: All students must perform required skills competently without assistance: External chest compressions for adults, children, and infants; Rescue breaths using a CPR mask; Rescue breaths using a bag-mask device; Primary assessment for an unresponsive patient; CPR as a single provider for adults, children, and infants; Safely attach and operate an automated external defibrillator (AED); CPR as part of a team of two or more providers

First Aid Certifications

The Y in Central Maryland offers national CPR and First Aid certifications.

First Aid

Our first aid certification course (ASHI Basic First Aid) will teach you basic first aid knowledge, skills, and the confidence to respond to an emergency. This course is an excellent choice for both the community and workplace setting. It is intended for individuals who are not healthcare providers or professional rescuers, but desire or are required to be certified in basic emergency medical care. Successful completion of the course will result in a (up to) two year certification. REGISTER ONLINE FOR FIRST AID CERTIFICATION

  • Training time: 2.5 - 3 hours
  • Recognized certification period: up to 2 years
  • Ages: 14 and older
  • Y member rate: $30 Guest rate: $50

Successful completion requires:

  • Performance evaluation: All students must perform required skills competently without assistance.