I have friends who have had good luck with swim lessons closer to Berkeley and Oakland. I envy them; they sign up for a couple sessions at the Y and their sons and daughters can now swim safely. But if the casual classes aren’t doing the trick for you, and you’re ready to get serious (or your kid, of course I mean your child… why would YOU obsess about your child’s progress swimming?!), it’s time to make the drive to Canyon Swim School.
Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante
For children over the age of four (and in some cases younger), parents watch from shaded lawn chairs while well-qualified teachers get children to do what you thought was impossible: line up, put a timid face in the water, blow bubbles, and (finally) SWIM. Classes are organized, regimented, and no-nonsense. Teachers are tanned, friendly, and basically miracle-workers.
Each class is 30 minutes. Classes consist of 1-5 kids with 1-2 teachers, so there’s lots of attention and actual swimming and not a lot of empty time for messing around in the water. The water itself is warm so kids are comfortable. Progress builds on prerequisite skills for each class level. Children are not made to feel inferior if they repeat lessons (in fact, it’s expected). At the end of each session each kid gets a pin that indicates their level. It’s fun to collect them and pin them to your swim bag.
How to Sign Up for Canyon Swim School
Canyon Swim School sign up is a bit unique, but once you’re in the system it’s not very difficult. As a first-time registrant you’ll go to their website and fill out their online form. Then they’ll call you in a few days to assign you a session and time that works best for you. You can register more than one kid at a time. Usually they’re able to get siblings in at the same time, or within the half hour. After each session (4-8 classes) you re-sign-up for the next session that works for you or what’s available. They do their best to find you a spot. You can only sign up for one session at a time.
Pro Tip: Bring coloring books, toys, snacks, etc. to keep wiggly siblings entertained if you couldn’t get them in at the same time. Cell service is spotty, so iPhone entertainment isn’t guaranteed.
Canyon Swim School Details
Location: 21 Campbell Lane, El Sobrante, CA 94803 at 4201 San Pablo Dam Road near Appian Way.
What to Bring: Wear your swimsuit, crocs, robe and goggles. Don’t forget a towel (I’ve done that)! There are changing stalls and a bathroom.
Phone: (510) 223-4600
Price:8 lessons $240 | 6 lessons $180
Bottom Line: Canyon Swim School is organized and their methods just work. They have helped our kids finally learn how to swim and hopefully they’ll do the same for yours.