Swimming Lessons


  • Register online beginning Monday, April 15 at 8 a.m.  
  • Register in person at the Parks & Recreation office, 1210 NW Prairie Ridge Dr.
  • Registrations will not be accepted by mail or by phone on this day.

Swim Lessons

  • Red Cross swim lessons will be offered at both pools throughout the summer.
  • Morning sessions will be offered at both pools, and evening sessions at Prairie Ridge.

Other Programs & Rentals

  • Aquatic programming includes springboard diving, Flowrider workshops, Flowrider private lessons, Princess Parties, and Special Needs Water Aerobics. View available classes and register online.
  • For information regarding rentals and birthday parties, please call Ankeny Parks & Recreation office at 515-963-3570. Reservations will be accepted beginning March 1.

Swim Lesson Course Levels

Review the skills listed for each class below. The skills listed are those needed in order to pass the class. Can your child complete all of the skills listed? No = enroll in that class. Yes = advance to the next level.

Date Transfer

A $5 transfer fee will be charged for each transfer from one swim section to another after the initial registration. A $5 cancellation fee will be charged for each cancellation. Please check your swim lesson time with other summer activities before registering.

Waiting Lists

If a class is filled you can be placed on a waiting list. We will then contact you if spots become available.

Inclement Weather & Facility Closures

Call the weather hotline, 515-963-3575, for up-to-date announcements and cancellations. During each session, the first interrupted class day will be held at regularly scheduled times in the guard houses of each aquatic center, with swimmers watching the Red Cross Longfellow's Whale Tales safety videos. Any subsequent makeup days will be rescheduled for Friday of the same week.

How do I choose the correct level?

  • Children enrolling in Red Cross lessons (Levels 1 to 6) must be 5 years old by the first lesson. Younger children or 5-year-olds not ready for Red Cross lessons may be interested in our specialized toddler or preschool swim classes.
  • Review the skills listed for each class. The skills listed are those skills needed in order to pass the class. Can your child complete all of the skills listed? If yes, advance to the next level. If not, enroll in that class.

Parent-Child Aquatics

For ages 18 months to 3 years along with a parent or guardian

Parent-Child Aquatics is designed to familiarize children 18 months to 3 years in the water with help from a parent or guardian. Instructors provide water safety for parents as well as holding / support techniques. The American Red Cross does not focus on independent swimming at this age and does not encourage forced submersions. Children participating are required to wear a swim diaper.

Preschool Aquatics

For ages 3 to 5 years

This class is designed to familiarize children ages 3 to 5 with an introduction to water skills. Children will orient to the aquatic environment, gain basic aquatic skills, and gain greater independence in their skills and develop more comfort in and around water. Preschool skills include getting wet, water entry/exit, blowing bubbles, submerging face, bobbing, exploring the pool, front and back floats, underwater exploration with eyes open, arm movement and kicking on front and back, and rolling over.

Red Cross Swim Lessons

Level 1: Introduction to Water Skills

Participants learn to: enter and exit water safely, blow bubbles, open eyes underwater, pick up submerged object, roll over independently, floating/gliding on front and back independently, swimming on front and back using arm and leg actions with support, recovering to a vertical position, and treading water with minimal support.

Level 2: Fundamental Aquatic Skills

Participants build on everything in Level 1, plus: front, jellyfish, and tuck floats independently, change directions while swimming on front and back, tread water independently, combined arm and leg action independently and finning arm action independently.

Level 3: Stroke Development

Participants will build on skills in Level 2, plus: jump into deep water and return to side, bob to safety, rotary breathing 15 times, survival float for 30 seconds, back float for 30 seconds, tread water for 30 seconds, push off in a streamline and flutter kick for 3-5 body lengths, front crawl and elementary backstroke 15 yards, dive from kneeling position, rotary tread water 1 minute, flutter, scissor, dolphin and breaststroke kicks for 15 yards each.

Level 4: Stroke Improvement

Participants will complete everything in Level 3, plus: dive from a compact or stride position, swim underwater 5 body lengths, feet-first surface dive, perform open turns on front and back, tread water using two kicks for 2 minutes, and perform the following: front and back crawl (25 yards), breaststroke, butterfly, and elementary backstroke (15 yards).

Level 5: Stroke Refinement

Participants will complete everything in Level 4, plus: shallow angle dive-glide two body lengths and begin any front stroke, tuck and pike surface dives, flip turns, front and back crawl (50 yards), butterfly, breaststroke, elementary backstroke and sidestroke (25 yards) and sculling.

Level 6: Swimming & Skill Proficiency

Purpose: Refine strokes so students swim with ease, efficiency, power and smoothness over greater distances. Perform the front and back crawl (100 yds), perform the breaststroke, elementary backstroke, sidestroke and butterfly (50 yds.), demonstrate all turns for all strokes, surface dive and retrieve an object from bottom of pool, survival float, and survival swimming.