Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about our classes, programs, or swimming in general? Below you'll find the answers you're looking for.
- Do you offer Open Family Swim and Lap Swim times?
Yes, we do! Click here for our Open Swim Schedule.
- Do I need to be a member to take swim lessons at SwimWest?
No, you do not need to be a member to take part in swim lessons. We do offer annual memberships which
include swim lessons, but you can also choose to pay each session.
- What is the water temperature?
Our indoor pools are kept at 89-90° year-round.
- How do children stand in the water?
We have specially designed platforms that the children stand on while they are waiting to take their
turns. These platforms make the water depth about two (2) feet. Our Fitchburg location has built-in
stair stations for each lower-level class. Our upper-levels use the platforms.
- What if my child is scared or crying?
If your child is nervous or crying, please take a moment to chat with the instructor and then let
him/her work with your child. Some children may suffer from separation anxiety, and this will go
away as soon as the child gets to know and trust the instructor. A fear of new places may also cause
a few tears, and this will also go away with time.
Being afraid of the water is not uncommon in
younger beginners, but the instructor will compassionately help your child adjust to the water
through games and basic skills such as blowing bubbles, songs, and games. With time, your child
will be happy and successful in the water. Please be patient and allow the instructors and staff
to work their magic with your child.
- When should my child stop taking swimming lessons?
This really depends on you and your child's goals. SwimWest is geared to take children from 6 months
all the way up to recreational swim team. We love to see our swimmers move on and compete in swimming
on the team level.
- Why are the swim classes 30 minutes?
Based on our experience, 30 minutes is the right amount of time to keep your child interested, focused,
and happy in the pool. Our more advanced classes last for a longer period of time.
- What can I do to make my child comfortable in the water?
Let the instructor do most of the teaching. Children learn from repetition and fun. Bath time is another
good time to play with skills and have fun in the water. Practice floating or blowing bubbles and kicking
your legs in the tub or pool.
- Can my child swim more than once a week?
Of course! The more a child is exposed to the water the faster they will learn to swim. Just be sure not
to over do it. Children need all kinds of activities to stimulate their minds and bodies.
- Why doesn't SwimWest use floatation devices?
We believe that floatation devices give children and parents a false sense of security. We want our children
to feel the water and how it effects and moves their body. The floatation devices tend to make the child
swim in a more vertical body position and do not allow the child to discover their own body's buoyancy. In
swimming, you want your body to be in a more horizontal or streamline position so that you can move through
water more easily.
- Does SwimWest hold lessons during bad weather?
Our west side location of SwimWest will still hold lessons during rain and thunderstorms because there are
no outside windows. Our Fitchburg location has several windows in the pool area and must suspend lessons
during cloud-to-ground lightning, but lessons usually resume within a short amount of time. We will extend
your lesson time or offer a make-up lesson if this happens.
During bad snowstorms, we follow the Madison
Public School District. If they close school for the day, SwimWest will not hold morning lessons. Afternoon
and evening lessons will depend on driving conditions. If you feel it is not safe to come to lessons, we
can issue a one-time Family Swim pass for your missed lesson. SwimWest does not offer make-up lessons if
we close due to the weather. We will have information on our voicemail system, website, and will try to have
it announced on local radio stations.
Please call our Front Desk at (608) 831-6829 or (608) 276-SWIM if you
have questions about our status for the day.
- Are parents allowed to be on the pool deck during lessons?
Yes, we encourage parents to watch their children swim! All parents and siblings can watch lessons from our
observation area or the designated area on the pool deck.
- Do you have a Lost and Found?
SwimWest has a Lost and Found for all those items you might leave behind. All items found throughout the day,
or in the locker room at the end of the night, will be put in our Lost and Found. We cannot hold items at the
front desk. With 1,500 students here, our desk would be a mess! If you find an unclaimed item, please put it
in the Lost and Found.
- What is a Deck Manager?
A Deck Manager is available to answer your questions regarding your child’s progress, a technique we are using
in swim lessons, or any other question you might have. They will educate you on lesson progression and practice
activities. We encourage you to speak with the Deck Manager at anytime.
- Do I need to bring my own lock for the lockers?
(Madison location only) Anyone using the locker room is responsible for bringing their own lock. You cannot
keep your lock on a specific locker any longer than when you are in the facility unless you pay a locker rental
fee. Please remember that SwimWest is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
- What if my child is not potty-trained?
All children not potty-trained need to wear a reusable swim diaper. Disposable swim diapers (such as "Lil’
Swimmers") are not allowed in our pool. The cotton inside those diapers leaks out and clogs our pool filters.
Our reusable diapers have a tighter fit which helps to avoid "accidents" in our pool.
- Where can I change and shower my child?
For your convenience, our west side location has complete men's and women's locker rooms, as well as on-deck
showers and changing rooms. SwimWest does not allow children age 5 and over in the opposite-gender locker room.
Our Fitchburg location has seven family changing rooms, private showers in the restrooms, and five on-deck showers
for your convenience.
10 Reasons to Learn to Swim
- Swim for Health. People involved in even simple exercise have a lower risk of many diseases as
well as a better state of mental and emotional well-being. Swimming is highly recommended by the medical
profession as it also causes no stress to the body's joints.
- Safety in and around the water is greatly enhanced by being able to swim. Drowning is the major cause
of accidental death in children under the age of 5. Many adults also drown regularly while fishing, boating
or swimming in rivers and lakes.
- It's good FUN. As soon as the feet leave the bottom, you experience a whole new adventure in the water
- Fitness for the total body comes from swimming by developing muscle tone and endurance.
- Swimming is a lifelong activity - as asset for life.
- The family can come swim together for health, fitness, and fun!
- Meet new friends--Swimming lessons can be a great place for children and parents to meet new people.
Many friendships have been formed at the pool!
- Other organized activities at SwimWest Swim School include All Center Achievement Swims, Homeschool
swim lessons, and Girl Scout programs.
- No barriers: Regardless of age, sex, ethnicity or ability, swimming is an activity for all to enjoy.
- Be refreshed. A nice dip in the warm water pool can be great for stress relief.
What to Look for in a Swim School
- A Reputation to be proud of: A good swim school will be
pleased for you to see their programs before enrolling. They will also have lots of happy
customers prepared to tell you about their child's experiences and successes.
- National certification: A good swim school will strive to
achieve high standards through certification with the United States Swim School Association and
other organizations which provide ongoing training and program development, such as the World
Baby Congress and Safer Three Water Safety Program.
- Friendliness and helpfulness: As a provider of educational
services, the swim school will have a warm and welcome atmosphere. Staff will strive to meet your
family's needs, answer your questions and concerns, and address any questions you may have.
- Small classes for young children and beginners: Small class
sizes will ensure that children receive all the personal attention they deserve. With smaller
classes, the instructor is also able to better care for the safety of each child in the class.
- Well maintained facility and clean pool: Pool water should
always be clear and well sanitized. Good swim schools will test their water quality at regular
intervals throughout the day and be happy to share the results with you.
- Comfortable water and air temperature: Babies, young children,
and beginners need very warm water and warm air. The warm atmosphere may be uncomfortable for
spectators and staff; however, it’s a small price to pay to ensure that the little swimmers are
comfortable before and after their lessons.
- Well qualified staff: All instructors should have a nationally
recognized swim instruction or swim coach qualification and a current First Aid/CPR
certification. Qualifications should be appropriate to the level being taught. A good swim
school will also have a core of experienced teachers with special qualifications and a constant
philosophy and methods taught throughout the school.
- A child-centered teaching philosophy: Skills will be appropriate
for the child's age, development, and ability. Children should never be placed under stress
during a swim lesson. Nervous beginners will be reassured and gently introduced to new skills as
they gain confidence. A nervous child should never be forced into performing swim skills.
- Parental involvement: Young children need the security of having
a parent close by. Having a parent in view and showing positive reinforcement is important to all
young children, especially preschoolers and nervous beginners. A good swim school will welcome
parental involvement and want to communicate with you regarding your child’s progress and how to
make sure they will do their best!
- A progressive approach: Classes should be based on a sound
progression of swimming and water safety skills. A good swim school will provide parents with
written information explaining the school's philosophy, levels, and skill progression.
- Water safety skills: A good swim school will teach children
appropriate safety and survival skills while acknowledging that no child is ever water safe.
Children must not be placed in stressful situations in order to teach survival skills. Parents
will be taught that constant supervision is the only way to ensure a child's safety.
- Well-grouped classes: All children in a class should be at
approximately the same level. This allows the teacher to better cater for individual needs. A
good swim school will give consideration to children with special needs.
- Short lessons for learners: Young children and beginners may
become tired if lessons are longer than 30 minutes. Advanced swimmers will benefit from longer
lessons to build fitness and endurance.
- Maximum time on task: Children need to repeat skills many times
to learn and remember them. A good swim school will provide repetition and quality practice.
Those are the keys to developing good swimming techniques.
- Interesting and challenging activities: Activities should be
varied and fun. Children must be motivated and challenged to learn. Games and activities will be
carefully planned to develop and practice aquatic skills.
- A comprehensive and professional program: Programs should be
ongoing and provide a range of programs from beginners through advanced swimmers.
- Opportunity to participate in competitive swimming: A good swim
school will be able to recommend a good coaching program. Many swim schools will provide a higher
level of coaching programs and will encourage developing swimmers to pursue swimming at a
- A motivating system of rewards: Children in a good swim school
will be confident and happy to participate. Most schools will have a system in place marking
progression between levels, such as mid-session progress reports and report cards for the last
day of class. Smiles and laughter will be the "norm" and praise will be given in large doses.
Open Swim Times
Looking for our open swim schedule?
Free Trial Swim Class
Interested in trying a class before signing up?
We've got you covered. Every new family is welcome to a free trial class or free pass to our
family open swim. Call for details.
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Read the latest blog entries from Karen Kittelson below:
The Fish Tales Blog |
The Safety Blog
SwimWest Program Schedule
Need dates and times? Click your desired location
below for a complete program schedule.
Madison West |
Madison East |
Swim & Gym All Sports Camp
Swimming, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, tennis, and fun theme weeks... you'll
find it all at Swim&Gym All Sports Camp!