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Swim School

Our Swim School is for all swimming abilities and comfort levels: we have something for everyone. We offer group, private, semi-private, and fitness level courses starting at 6 months thru adulthood.

All lessons and programs are taught by certified instructors or coaches who have gone successfully completed their certification requirements and demonstrate the highest teaching standards. All instructors and coaches have gone through state and federal background checks and have been screened by our team. 

Group Lessons

Group Lessons are taught using the American Red Cross curriculum by certified Water Safety Instructors at McCoy Natatorium. Our classes are tailored to meet the needs of each participant so you or your child can progress at a pace that is comfortable and will help you achieve your swimming goals. Classes are small to ensure that you or your child receive personal instruction from your swim instructor. 

  • To get the most out of your classes be sure to download the American Red Cross Free Swim App in your app store or text  “Swim” to 9099
Parent and Child Aquatics (6 months to approximately 3 years)

Parent and Child Aquatics

Parents and children learn together to increase a child's comfort level in the water and build a foundation of basic skills, such as arm and leg movements and breath control. The two levels are fun-filled and help introduce water safety concepts, encouraging a healthy recreational habit that your entire family can enjoy.

  • LEVEL ONE (6 months - 18 months)
    Learn to ask permission before entering the water, entering and exiting safely, feeling comfortable in the water, blowing bubbles, submerging mouth, nose, and eyes comfortably, exploring buoyancy, changing body position, playing safely in the water, and experience wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket

  • LEVE TWO (18 months - 3 years)
    Understand the need for adult supervision around water, more ways to enter and exit the water safely, submerging in a rhythmic pattern, gliding on the front and back with assistance, performing a rudimentary stroke using combined arm and leg actions on the front and back with assistance, changing body position in the water, and experience wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket

Preschool Aquatics (approximately 4 to 5 years old)

Preschool Aquatics

Throughout the three levels, preschool-age children are taught basic aquatic safety and swimming skills, all the while increasing their comfort level in and around the water. Skills are age-appropriate, helping children achieve success on a regular basis and enjoy social interactions with other children. As in all Swimming and Water Safety courses, your child will always know safety is the priority.

  • LEVEL 1
    Orients children to the aquatic environment and helps them gain basic aquatic skills with assistance

  • LEVEL 2
    Helps children gain greater independence in their skills and develop more comfort in and around water with assistance

Learn-to-Swim (children approximately 6 years through teen)

Learn to Swim

Designed to help participants achieve maximum success, Learn-to-Swim courses are based on a logical, six-level progression that helps swimmers of varying ages and abilities develop their water safety, survival, and swim skills.

    Helps participants feel comfortable in the water with assistance

    Gives participants success with fundamental skills to succeed without floatation assistance

    Builds on the skills in Level 2 through additional guided practice in deeper water.

    Develops confidence in the skills learned and improves other aquatic skills.

    Provides further coordination and refinement of strokes.

Adult Swim (16+)

Adult Swim

Adult Swimming lessons are intended for teens and adults who wish to improve their knowledge and skill for many reasons. It may be to overcome their fear of the water and to learn the basic skills and achieve a minimum level of water competency to improve their skill and technique either to increase their level of safety to improve their health and fitness or to perhaps compete in triathlons or to join a PSU Fitness Swimming!

    This level is for those first-timers looking to gain more confidence in the water! Focusing on breathing techniques, horizontal body position, and recovery and arm and leg movements for forward progression. We offer this class in the shallow 3’6-4’ area of our pool! Many skills will be taught with buoyancy assistance progressing to slight assistance.

    This level is for those who are comfortable in the water and want to learn the basics of freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke. We offer this course in the shallow 3’6-4’ area of the pool; depending on participant skill level the class may progress together to deeper water. Some skills will be taught with a little buoyancy assistance progressing to no assistance.

    In this level, we focus on improving freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke as well as open turns to allow swimmers to build confidence swimming laps. Participants will gain experience with recreational lap swim equipment such as flippers, pull-buoys, kickboards and hand paddles. This course takes place in both shallow and deep water.   

    This is for those looking to swim on a regular basis while working to increase stroke efficiency, speed, and fitness through instructor lead workouts. This course takes place in the 25-yard lap lanes.

Private & Semi-Private Lessons

Private and semi-private lessons are 30-minute lessons, available to those looking for a smaller instructor to participant ratio. Participants must first complete the lesson preference form for lessons and then lessons are scheduled with your instructor during open swim times at McCoy Natatorium.

Participants must be at least 3 years old for private lessons and at least 6 months for semi-private lessons.

Private Lessons

Private Lessons

Offered to a participant with an individual instructor.

  Member Non-Member
1 Lessons $30 $35
3 Lessons $85 $100
5 Lessons $125 $150
Semi-Private Lessons

Semi-Private Lessons

Offered to two participants with similar swimming ability with one instructor.

Semi-Private lessons are great for those age 6 months of similar age and swimming ability. Those wishing to have semi-private lessons must find their own co-participants and all participants must complete the preference form before an instructor is assigned.

Participants will need to arrive 15 minutes early to the first lesson to pay for lessons.

Register Online for Lessons

Register for Private & Semi-Private Lesson Registration

All participants must register online for private or semi-private lessons online.  

  1. Create your account by signing up or logging in with your Penn State username and password to

    If you are signing up dependents, please make sure you add them as dependents to your account; before selecting the lessons. Once the account is created you can register for the class and select the individuals you are signing up. Then follow the prompts.

  2. After registering for the waitlist you will complete the lesson preference form sent to the email address used in your registration. Our staff will work to find you an instructor based on your responses.  

  3. Once you have been matched with an instructor, you will receive the instructor's name and a link to pay for lessons.  Payment is required before the start of the first lesson.

  4. Your instructor will contact you via email within 48 hours of being assigned, to set up the dates and times for your sessions.  

We are unable to process registrations in-person or over the phone; if you are having difficulties registering, please contact the Assistant Director of Aquatic Programs at or 814-865-5401. 

Masters Swimming

Campus Recreation provides scheduled coach-led workouts for adult swimmers through our Masters Swimming program.

This program caters to a wide range of individual goals including recreation, fitness, and competitive swimming. Our Masters community consists of Learn to Swim graduates, triathletes, former competitive swimmers, and Penn State faculty, staff, and students.

Course FAQs

Questions? We have answers. Any additional questions can be directed to the Assistant Director of Aquatic Programs by emailing or calling 814-865-5401.  

On your lesson day

What to Wear

All swim lesson participants must be in appropriate swim attire before the start of their lesson. The pool water is kept at approximately 81 degrees farenheight; many small children use rash guards during lessons. Please arrive 10 minutes before your lesson to ensure that you get the maximum amount of instruction during your lesson. Goggles, swim caps, and ear plugs are optional depending on participants' preference.

Accompanying Minors

If these lessons are for a minor, all accompanying adults will need to be associated with the child’s account and present a photo ID upon entering the facility.  All credentialed adults will need to sign into the facility as a guest and abide by guest procedures.  Please accompany children at all times when in Campus Recreation facilities.


The East Parking Deck is located less than two blocks away from McCoy Natatorium and is the best option within walking distance for hourly parking.  You will take a ticket upon entrance and pay the rate of $1 per hour upon leaving the parking garage.  All questions regarding parking on campus may be directed to Penn State Transportation Services Department at  Penn State Campus Recreation does not have the ability to validate parking or appeal any parking citations you may receive for parking illegally.

Locker Rooms

There are public locker rooms located on the ground floor with direct access onto the pool deck. The women’s locker room is labeled “C” and men’s is “D.” Lockers are not to be used for overnight use and locks will not be provided. Bathrooms, showers and dryers are in each locker room. If you chose to you can bring belongings onto pool deck and it can be kept on the bleachers.

Waitlist Policy

Waitlist Policy

When a class has filled, participants can join the waitlist for the class by contacting the Campus Recreation Aquatics staff by emailing Joining the waitlist does not guarantee a position in the course. If a spot opens, you will be contacted by a member of Campus Recreation staff to register and pay for the course. 

Make-Up Policy

Make-Up Policy

Missed classes will not be made up or rescheduled.

Cancellation, Make-Up, and Refund Policy

Course Cancellation Policy

The University may cancel or postpone any course or activity because of insufficient enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances. If a course is canceled by the University, participants will receive a full refund.

Join the Team

Become a swim instructor or fitness swimming coach with Campus Recreation! If you are interested in becoming a member of our Swim School Team, please apply online by searching for the Swim Instructor position.

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University Park, PA 16802