Swim lessons 2022 in the Verde Valley

Check out these great options!

RPC Swim School is the Verde Valley’s newest addition to the learn-to-swim menu for Summer 2022.

Summer is a time when we think about getting in the water and cooling off, whether at the local swimming pool, swimming hole, or an exotic beach. It’s also the time when drowning deaths skyrocket, making it a priority for parents to seek out swimming lessons to help prevent tragedy from happening in their own family.  The choice of where to get lessons is, in large part, limited to the availability of lessons in your community. Fortunately, in the Verde Valley, we have a number of options, so no child should have to go without lessons this summer. 

Where to Find Lessons

Your local municipality

If your city or town has a municipal pool that is open to the public during the summer, chances are good that they offer swim lessons. Camp Verde, Cottonwood, and the City of Sedona all offer summer swim lessons. Kids learn in groups from teenage instructors who are on the municipality’s lifeguard staff. 

What they cost: The lessons are financially underwritten by your tax dollars, making the cost very affordable. The municipality absorbs all the costs associated with the pool and training the instructors.  Camp Verde, for example, has a block of 8 lessons for $35. Grants are usually available for financial need providing that the municipality is using an accredited program. 

Considerations: Children learn in a group, which is good, but the group is paced according to a structured timeline based on average learning skills nation-wide, not the individual needs of the child.

Instructors are usually teens, many of whom this is their first job.  You have know way of knowing whether they have experience with teaching younger children (as in siblings, cousins) or a swim background that focused on technique (such as competitive swimming). In most instances, a one- or two-day training program is all that is provided to qualify instructors to teach your child. [The SwimAmerica Program in Camp Verde is an exception: All instructors are Level 1 certified coaches through American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA)].

Your local swim team

Swim teams do more than help kids swim fast. Regular swim training helps children learn focus, life skills such as overcoming challenges, and social skills. Many swim teams across the country have swim schools that can help children learn to swim and introduce them to the benefits of regular swim training, even if they don’t want to be the next Michael Phelps.

In the Verde Valley, AZ, Race Pace Club AZ offers both learn-to-swim and pre-competition swim skills development levels through RPC Swim School. The focus is on bettering their swim skills, building endurance and coordination (experts agree that unless a child can swim 300 yards, they won’t have the skills to save themselves in most instances), and providing a healthy environment of social connection. Kids get a chance to see others on the team working out in neighboring lanes and decide if that’s where they’d like to take their swimming talents.

If your child has basic swim skills where they can swim freestyle for 12 yards or more with their face in the water (taking breaths to the side), they could participate in pre-competition or novice levels of swim team at Race Pace Club AZ. The American Swim Coaches Assn certified / USA Swimming certified coaches focus first on correct technique, second on increasing physical coordination and endurance. The team has a summer league at Camp Verde Heritage Pool and year-round team at Sedona Community Pool. 

A swim school or private instructor

RPC Swim School also offers private lessons at your pool with American Swim Coaches Association certified instructors. These are highly trained individuals with years of swim teaching experience, and background checks. The program is overseen by Program Director Jodi Jato Thornton, a former national swimming medalist who has decades of experience teaching kids and adults. 

Be sure to understand an individual’s qualifications as a swim instructor and if they have certifications through a national organization and whether background checks are required by it. Your child’s instructor can make or break lifelong attitudes toward the water and swimming in general! Make sure that the instructor and their teaching methods are a good fit for your child. 

About teaching methods  

Each child has their own individual learning style. A strong-willed child with a high internal view (meaning they will listen to themselves over any adult) needs a different approach than a tentative child who gets fear-activated easily. Consider teaching methods and program goals to make sure they’re in alignment with your child’s personality and learning style. 

Starfish, Swim America, and Red Cross are the three big programs you’ll see across the country. Each of these teach in a different manner with different goals.

Swim America: Used locally by Camp Verde Parks & Recreationand RPC Swim School. This nationally-accredited program was developed by world-class swim coaches to achieve: 1) lifelong love of the water 2) A relaxation-based learning program where kids can progress at THEIR pace and learning level through use of swim stations 3) The most efficient technique to move most easily and enjoyably through the water and prevent injuries from incorrect/inefficient overuse of joints and muscles. This program takes kids from an enjoyable and safe introduction to the water to being able to swim 300 yards confidently using a 10-station program. The program is easily adapted to children with different learning styles at each station. There is on having fun while enjoying the water safely, developing body coordination, improving efficient technique, building strength specific to swim skills.

Starfish Aquatics: Used by Sedona Community Pool. The program starts with trust and submersion, body positions, and air recovery then progresses to forward movement Includes age-appropriate safety skills such as asking permission, wearing a lifejacket, using flotation to make an assist, treading water, and survival float.

Red Cross: The way many of us learned to swim. This program was used a few years back in the Verde Valley but searching the website for providers in the area yielded no results.  

Things to consider:

  • Skills-based timelines can have children anxious about performing them, doing just enough to “pass” and get the heck out of the pool. 
  • Inexperienced instructors can be nervous/anxious and pass that anxious energy to your child
  • A relaxed child who is enjoying the experience is more likely to develop a lifelong love of the water than someone who is nervous/terrified. 
  • A child who experiences swimming as “having fun safely” in a relaxed manner is more likely to remain calm in an actual emergency as they’ve learned to relax and “think through it” using their inner confidence. This makes them less likely to panic and drown.

Whichever program you choose, know that there are choices within our rural area this summer that will be a good fit for you and your child. Learning to swim develops lifelong skills both in and out of the water!

Class Schedules

Many municipalities offer swim lessons primarily in the morning due to afternoon thunderstorms rolling in, necessitating cancellation due to lightning. However, this year Sedona Community pool also has limited availability.

Booking private lessons at your home or club/HOA pool (such as Los Abrigados, Seven Canyons, Canyon Mesa, Las Piedras, etc.) can take the stress out of having to get your child to the pool.  

RPC Swim School offers once-a-week lessons at the beginner level, making swim lessons easy to work into your schedule. Children have time to mentally process between lessons, practice on their own with their parents and siblings and really internalize and master each lesson. As children progress and develop the core strength to be in the water more often, classes progress up to 4 times weekly as they develop the skills and motivation.  There’s continuity with the same methods/instructors your child grows to trust and love. 

Do you have additional questions? Reach out to me at rpcswimschool@gmail.com