Learn to Swim

UNE’s Youth Learn-To-Swim Program is a progressive, developmentally appropriate water safety program based on American Red Cross standards. It focuses on safe water acclimation, skill development, and water safety skills. It is offered Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as well as Sunday mornings at the Campus Center on UNE's Biddeford campus. 

Parent and Child (6 Months–3 ½ Years)

In this class parents learn how to safely work with their child in the water. This includes how to appropriately support and hold their child, as well as how to prepare and encourage their child to participate fully and try aquatic skills. Children receive an introduction to basic skills that lay a foundation for learning to swim. Additionally, parents are introduced to several water safety topics.

Preschool (3 ½–5 Years)

Preschool classes are designed to introduce basic aquatic skills and build toward independent aquatic locomotion skills. Children will explore using simultaneous and alternating arm/leg actions on the front and back to gain proficiency in preparation for performing strokes. Participants are also introduced to and practice basic water safety topics.

School-Age (6–12 years)

School Age Classes are broken up into several levels.

Level 1/2: Introduction and Development of Fundamental Aquatic Skills

This level works on the introduction and development of basic aquatic skills that become the foundation for future aquatic skill development. This level also marks the beginning of true locomotion skills. Participants learn to glide/float without support, recover to a vertical position, and gain confidence and the ability to explore underwater. Additionally, they develop simultaneous and alternating arm/leg actions on front and back, laying the foundation for future strokes. Water safety topics and skills are also introduced.

Level 3: Stroke Development

This level works on expanding proficiency of previously learned skills by providing additional guided practice. Participants will learn the basic rudimentary skills of the front crawl, back crawl, and elementary backstroke. Participants will also be introduced to the scissor and dolphin kicks, extend their duration of time treading water, survival floating, and safe head-first water entry.

Level 4/5: Stroke Improvement and Refinement

Participants improve their aquatic skills and increase their endurance by swimming strokes for greater distances and with more advanced proficiency. Participants will add arm actions to previously learned scissor, dolphin, and breaststroke kicks to perform sidestroke, butterfly, and breaststroke. Participants will continue to learn more advanced water safety skills, as well as the basics of open turns and starts. 

Swim Team Prep (Ages 11 and up)

This class is for participants who are considering joining a competitive swim club or team. This class focuses on all four competitive strokes, starts, and turns. In this practice, emphasis is placed on building endurance, goal setting, and continued stroke development through reinforced repetition and drills.

Private and Semi-Private Lessons

This is a great opportunity for those seeking or needing more individualized attention. Lessons are 30 minutes long and can be purchased as an individual session or a 6-pack. Lessons are scheduled based on participant and instructor availability. Make-ups are not provided for missed lessons, except for medical reasons. Additional times and days may be available, please Email Bob Eagle, director of Campus Center Operations and Recreation prior to purchase.

Registration and Testing

Register for the Youth Swim Program

Registration and No Swim Evaluation

This applies to children under the age of 5, children who have taken lessons at UNE recently, or children who have a record (i.e., American Red Cross Card) indicating their level.

Registration and Swim Evaluation

This applies to children 5 years of age and older, who have not taken lessons at UNE or do not have any record indicating their level. Parents should email Bob Eagle to discuss the proper level and/or schedule a swim evaluation time.


Must be paid at the time of registration

Group Lessons

  • $72 public/community
  • $60 UNE Alumni, Student, Faculty, Staff (must be parent/guardian of child to receive discount)

Private Lessons (1 Student)

  • $185 public/community
  • $156 UNE Alumni, Student, Faculty, Staff (must be parent/guardian of child to receive discount)

Semi-Private Lessons (2–3 Students)

  • $265 public/community
  • $230 UNE Alumni, Student, Faculty, Staff (must be parent/guardian of child to receive discount)


The program is located on the beautiful grounds of the University of New England's Biddeford Campus on the Saco River and in the Campus Center.

If you would like more detailed information regarding lesson criteria, please visit the American Red Cross and their Learn to Swim Program website.