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Swim School

All lessons are taught by swim instructors who have gone through hours of training and many come from a competitive swimming background. All instructors have gone through state and federal background checks and have been screened by our team.

All lessons are held at McCoy Natatorium.

Group Lessons

Group Lessons are taught using the American Red Cross curriculum by certified instructors.

Parent and Child Aquatics (6 months to approximately 3 years)

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 1 (ages 6 months – 18 months) --Provides experiences and activities for children to:

Level 2 (ages 18 months – 3 years) --Builds upon the skills learned in Level 1 and provides experiences and activities for children to:

Preschool Aquatics (approximately 4 to 5 years old)

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 that it’s safety first.

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)

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.

Level 1—Introduction to Water Skills

Helps participants feel comfortable in the water with assistance.

Level 2—Fundamental Aquatic Skills

Gives participants success with fundamental skills to succeed without floatation assistance.

Level 3—Stroke Development

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

Level 4—Stroke Improvement

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

Level 5—Stroke Refinement

Provides further coordination and refinement of strokes.

Adult Swim (16+)

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!

  • Adult Swim—Beginner 1
    • 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.
  • Adult Swim—Beginner 2
    • 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.
  • Adult Swim—Intermediate
    • 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.   
  • Adult Swim—Fitness Swimming (please link somehow to Fitness Swimming)
    • 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.

How to Register

All participants must register online or over the phone. We are unable to accept registrations in-person.

Online Registration:

Private and 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.

Those wishing to have semi-private lessons; must find their own co-participants and all participants must complete the preference form before an instruction is given.  Participants will need to arrive 15 minutes early to the first lesson to pay for lessons.

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

Private Lessons: one participant with one instructor

  • Packages available:




1 private lesson package



3 private lesson package




5 private lesson package





Semi-Private Lessons: two participants with similar swimming ability with one instructor

Semi-Private Lessons are only scheduled during the following times (days could change due to pool closure or athletic events) and sold by the lesson.




1 lesson

$25 per participant

$30 per participant


Waitlist Policy

  • When a group lesson class has filled, you are able to register for the waitlist. This 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. 
  • Private lessons may have a waitlist at times. Lessons will be assigned as instructors become available.

Make-Up Policy

  • Missed group lesson sessions and private lessons will not be made up.

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.


Facility:  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.

Parking:  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 PSU 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.

Attire: 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.

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.