Swim Lessons - Appleton Parks and Recreation

Enrolling your child in a swim lesson program is one of the most important things that you can do for your child. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger and is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle accidents. Our mission is to provide your child with basic, fundamental water skills that will encourage growth and confidence in and around water. We offer a variety of lessons from water adaptation up to endurance swimming and everything in-between. Our staff of dedicated lifeguards and swim instructors will work with your child to help them grow as a swimmer and to teach them one of the most important life skills they can learn.

Financial assistance information can be found here

2023 Fall Lesson Schedule

Fall swim lessons are held at both Appleton East High School and Appleton West High School.

2024 Winter Lesson Schedule

  • Swim lesson registration will be accepted either by mail, online, or walk-in at the Parks and Recreation Department for all lesson sessions until the registration deadline. 
  • Register Here!
  • After each session deadline, you may register for the proceeding session only if there is space available and pay a $10 late fee. Registration after the deadline will only be accepted in person at the City Hall 1st Floor Customer Service Center – NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • Registration is not accepted at any pool. Please do not show up at the pool expecting to be enrolled. If your child’s name is not on the roster, the pool staff will not allow them to participate in the class!
  • If you plan to enroll in more than one session of swim lessons, we encourage you to register for the same level for the proceeding session. If the student passes to the next level during the initial session, please meet with the Director of Instruction on the last Thursday of lessons or call the Appleton Parks and Recreation Department to move the student into the next level. Class level advancements are not automatic!

A Director of Instruction will be onsite for all swim lessons.


Children in the Locker Room:

Children ages 5 and over are required to use their same gender locker room or

Pool Temperature:

The pool temperature is maintained between 80-82 degrees Fahrenheit. Please note that Appleton Parks and Recreation does not control the water temperature at East or West Pools. If there is an issue with water temperature, please speak with the Director of Instruction.

Outdoor Pool Lesson Policy:

Outdoor swim lessons are NOT CANCELED due to rain or cold weather. Safety skills are taught at this time in the bathhouse.


Refunds will be granted for swim lessons if the request is made to Appleton Parks and Recreation prior to the start of the session. Please call 920-832-5905 to start the process of your refund. A full credit will be applied back to your household account for use in future Parks and Recreation programs.  Requests for refunds back to the original form of payment will be subject to a $10 processing fee for each participant and session.

Parent Viewing:

Parent viewing is allowed at the outdoor and indoor pools for all lessons. Parents or visitors are asked to remain seated in the designated parent viewing areas at all times and to not walk around the pool to take photos, etc. Parents are responsible for all children that are with them. Thank you for your cooperation.


Lockers are available at East, Erb and Mead Pools to secure your belongings. Please bring a lock for your locker or leave your valuables in your vehicle. Appleton Parks and Recreation is not responsible for lost or stolen items. Secured lockers are not available at West Pool.


  • 6 months to 3 years of age
  • Parents are in the water
  • Builds swimming readiness by emphasizing FUN!
  • Parents and children participate in several guided practices to learn water entry,
  • Kicks, bubble blowing, water exploration, and more!

AquaTots (Formerly Preschool Beginners)

  • Ages 3 to 4 
  • Emphasis on basic skill development
  • Learn listening skills, independence, front and back floats, kicks, breath control, water entry, and more
  • Be 3 by first day of class

SwimTots (formerly Kindergarten Intermediate)

  • Ages 4 to 5 who have taken the Preschool class OR 5 year olds w/o previous lesson experience.
  • Further develop skills learned in Preschool class. 4 and 5 year olds can enroll in Level 1 by passing this class.

Level 1: Introduction to Water Skills

  • Children ages 4-5 must have taken the Kindergarten Intermediate class and passed.

  • Children ages 6 & up may enroll in Level 1. 

  • To enroll in this level, students must be able to:  be independent with entering and exiting the pool, float and glide on front and back with support, have a general idea of bobbing, forward arm action, and kicking.

Level 2: Fundamental Aquatic Skills

  • To enroll in this level, students must: submerge face in water while opening their eyes, perform bobs in the shallow end, float and glide (with and without kicking) on back and front, demonstrate arm and leg action on back and front, show preliminary arm action of elementary backstroke, show full independence in the water.

Level 3: Stroke Development

  • To enroll in this level, students must demonstrate: full water submersion, float and glide on front and back, front crawl with rotary breathing, back crawl, elementary backstroke arm action with any kick, retrieval of a submerged object, jumping into deep water, rolling front to back to front and introduction to treading water.

Level 4a: Stroke Improvement

  • To enter this level, students must demonstrate:  elementary backstroke, whip and scissors kicks, body motion and kick for butterfly stroke, vertical- horizonal movement, kneeling or standing dives (shallow dive progressions), as well as proficiency with front and back glides and crawls (at least one length of the pool).

Level 4b: Stroke Improvement II

  • To enroll, students must have swimming ability with front and back crawl (up to and beyond 2 lengths of the pool) as well as elementary backstroke (one length of the pool), preliminary ability with breaststroke and butterfly stroke, demonstrate feet first surface dives, deep water bobs, and treading water with various kicks.

Level 5: Stroke Refinement

  • To enter this level, students must be able to perform the following strokes: front and back crawl, elementary backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly strokes as well as tread water.

  • Students will continue endurance with all strokes, learn turns for all strokes, surface dives in feet first, tuck, and pike positions, how to use survival swimming techniques, standing dives, tuck surface and pike surface dives.

Level 6: Swimming and Skill Proficiency

  • To enroll in this level, students must have proficient skills with all strokes (front crawl, back crawl, elementary backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and sidestroke) and skills with surface and standing dives in all position.  Students will strive towards the perfection of all strokes as well as lifeguard readiness, swimming endurance, diving from diving board, and fitness swimming.

Special Needs Beginner Class

  • This class is intended to teach swimming instruction to individuals with mild to moderate disabilities in a smaller, more comfortable class setting.  Instructors will work with individuals based on their abilities maximizing every student’s swimming potential.  Any accommodations should be communicated to staff prior to the start of the session. 

Diving Instruction 

  • Students will work on diving essentials such as front approach, front dive, twists, back approach, back dives, back somersault, and 3 meter falls and dives

Teen/Adult Swim Lessons 

  • Whether you are wanting to learn basic skills for water safety or want to gain more ability and proficiency in swimming, this will be the lessons for you.  The main objective these lessons is to provide a safe and non-judgmental environment for teens and adults to learn and practice swimming skills at their own pace.