Saanich Recreation swim lessons will now be based on the Lifesaving Society’s Swim for Life program. Photo courtesy Saanich Recreation

Saanich Recreation swim lessons will now be based on the Lifesaving Society’s Swim for Life program. Photo courtesy Saanich Recreation

Swim lesson registration gets easier with Saanich Recreation

Swim lessons with Saanich Recreation will have a new look this fall – great news for swimmers and parents!

When Saanich’s Winter/Spring 2023 Activity Guide is released next week, it will introduce a few new changes to the swimming lesson program — and how you register.

Beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 23, you can browse all programs, from registered group fitness and swimming lessons to arts and cultural classes, spring break camps and more at To prepare for registration, parents can add chosen programs to a “wish list” in the online system.

Initial registration — for all programs other than swimming — will happen Dec. 7, beginning at 6 a.m. online and in-person at Saanich recreation centres.

New this year is a second registration date for swimming lessons and all aquatic programs, one week later, on Dec. 14 at 6 a.m.

The change will help ease the rush many families feel when trying to register for all programs at once on registration day, explains Jennifer Jakobsen, Manager at Saanich Commonwealth Place.

“Aquatics programs are one of our most popular offerings and they always fill quickly. At the same time, families may need to register for other essential programs, like Pro-D day camps or spring break camps. Having two registration dates will reduce the pressure on registration day,” Jennifer says.

While registration for the swim classes will start Dec. 14, people can add them to their “wish list” earlier to have their preferred sessions ready to go.

A second change — dividing the winter/spring sessions into two terms — will make it easier for parents to register for the appropriate next level of lessons. Previously, families had to register for winter and spring all at once to secure a spot.

Now, you’ll only register for Term 1 swim lessons (from January to March) on Dec. 14. Term 2 sessions (April to June) will be available to view February 22 with registration planned for March 8 at 6 a.m.

Note that Aquafit classes and advanced aquatic programs — including Junior Lifeguard Club, Bronze Star, Medallion & Cross, Swimming Instructor and Lifeguarding programs — open for registration on December 14 for the entire Winter/Spring session.

New program, same great swim instruction

Coinciding with the new aquatics registration is a new swim lesson program. While some of the curriculum and names have changed, swimmers will enjoy the same exceptional instruction, Jennifer notes.

With Red Cross no longer offering their swim lesson program, Saanich Recreation swim lessons will now be based on the Lifesaving Society’s Swim for Life program.

Most other local municipalities will also use this comprehensive, national program that focuses on the development of fundamental swim strokes and skills for learners of all ages and abilities.

Advantages include longer-duration lessons earlier in the program progression, the ability to offer larger class sizes for more available space, and a more smooth transition to advanced aquatics from swimming lessons.

Before registering for lessons in Winter/Spring 2023, parents should consult the level conversion chart and swim lesson descriptions in the Activity Guide to determine which level their swimmers should join in the new program.

Those who’ve taken any advanced aquatic training are already familiar with the Lifesaving Society, and it’s hoped that continuity will create more interest in those areas, Jennifer says.

“We’re hoping to see more young people working their way through swimming lesson levels and continuing on with advanced aquatic programs. The Swim for Life program provides a great foundation to becoming a lifeguard or swim instructor.”

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