Swim Lessons

indoor pool panorama shot

Swim lessons in our indoor pool

If you missed out on Fall or Fall 2 session, don’t worry! Winter swim registration starts Dec 6; lessons are visible in our system on Nov 29; the session runs Jan 7 – Feb 24.

Why Dovercourt?

  • We are a Lifesaving Society swim program
  • Our learn to swim program is nationally recognized, researched, and proven
  • we have National level trainers and experienced, qualified staff who love to teach kids to swim
  • Our online registration system is fast & easy to use, with filtering options to find the day, time, age and level of the lessons you need. It is built to withstand the heavy loads that come on registration day.

Kids of all ages can benefit from swim lessons at Dovercourt.

Babies: Dovercourt swim lessons teach infants — through games, songs & activities in our warm water pool — that being in the water is fun, which translates into having a positive experience in all water, even bath time!

Preschoolers: Swimming has been scientifically linked to better academic performance. Studies have found that children who swam during their developmental years achieved several physical and mental milestones faster than their non-swimming counterparts.

School age kids: Everyone has read the stats: children are drowning. This is serious stuff and as children get older, they are more likely to be around water when you may not be present — for example, on a trip to the beach with friends, a camping trip etc.

For youth, swimming is a great full-body workout that strengthens and builds coordination through drills, skills and tools for the developing athlete.

Read more about what makes Dovercourt the best for lessons in the city.

How does it work?

We are offering private swim lessons, group swim lessons as well as limited enrollment group classes for Parent and Tot 1 – 3, Preschool A – E, Swimmer 1 – 6, and Swim Patrol. 

Parents are only required to be in the pool with their children for Parent and Tot and Preschool A transition.

Adult swim lessons are only available as private lessons at this time. 

Ratios for Limited Enrollment lessons:

  • P&T 1-3, 8:1
  • Preschool A-E: 3:1
  • Swimmer 1-4: 4:1
  • Swimmer 5&6: 5:1
  • Swim Patrol 6:1

Ratios for regular classes:

  • P&T 1-3, 12:1
  • Preschool A-E, 5:1
  • Swimmer 1-4, 7:1
  • Swimmer 5&6, 8:1
  • Swim Patrol 12:1
For semi-private lessons:

If you would like to upgrade your private package to a semi-private, register the 1st child into the timeslot of your choice, then email [email protected]g with the additional child’s name and we will charge you the additional fee of $130/ 6 lessons and $151/ 7 lessons.

Registration Details:

Before registration, please note:

  • Registration will be available online only. Please ensure you have a complete and accurate family account.
  • Please note that swim lessons cannot be rescheduled. 


Cancellation Policy

Refunds will be provided up to 3 weeks (21 days) prior to the start date and subject to a $20 administration fee (this fee is waived if the amount is left as an account credit).

Within 3 weeks (21 days) of a program start, refunds will not be issued other than in extraordinary circumstances, and with medical documentation.

Register for a Program

Use the options on the left to filter your results. If you click straight into e.g. Children’s Lessons, you will also have filtering options.
Tip: Once you click the link for e.g. Children’s lessons, keep scrolling to see the options for Spring II dates (Spring I lessons that are already underway will display first).
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July 17 – 23, 2022: Drowning Prevention Week

On Monday morning, July 18, the City of Ottawa proclaimed, July 17 – 23, National Drowning Prevention Week to remind residents about the risks in, on and around water. The Lifesaving Society’s president, Kathleen Finn (who is also Dovercourt’s Director of Aquatics and Fitness), gave a speech about the sobering statistics about drowning and what we can do to prevent the loss of life. The LSS flag was raised at City hall and will fly this week. 

The mission of Lifesaving Society Canada is to prevent drowning — even one drowning is one too many. The majority of drownings are preventable in a Water Smart community. Over 400 people fatally drown annually in Canada, making it the second leading cause of unintentional death for children and the third leading cause of unintentional death for adults. Statistics show that almost 70% of those who die from drowning never intended to go into the water and were often within 15 metres of safety. In addition, Indigenous, northern and new Canadians have a disproportionately high mortality burden. 

To help reduce drownings, all Canadians are encouraged to:

  • achieve the Lifesaving Society Swim to Survive Standard 
  • participate in a learn-to-swim programs
  • wear a properly fitted lifejacket when out on a boat
  • refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages while participating in aquatic activities
  • ensure that children are under the direct supervision of an adult when in or near water.

Let’s do our part to ensure our community is educated and given opportunities to learn to be safe in, on and around water.

Why take swimming lessons at Dovercourt?

Dovercourt Recreation Centre takes swimming very seriously.

In addition to being an essential life skill, swimming is also an enormous life asset – from  both a physical and mental health perspective. Bottom line, those who learn how to swim will have an enormous advantage in life.

Dovercourt strongly believes everyone should have that advantage, and with this, has built a unique and reputable swimming program based on 4 key pillars:

One other important point: Dovercourt’s modern registration system can handle heavy demand at registration times and works equally well on Mac & PC, tablet and phone.

private lesson boy learning to swim one-on-one

Quality of curriculum and instruction

The Dovercourt swimming program is based on the Lifesaving Society’s  Swim for Life® model – a comprehensive approach that focuses on three fundamental strokes.  Learning Swim to Survive® and achieving the Lifesaving Society’s Swim to Survive® Standard are key foundations of the Swim for Life® program.

While Swim for Life® forms the foundation of our swimming program, it is our highly-skilled instructors who ultimately make it the success that it is.  Dovercourt swim staff undergo regular, extensive training on safety, current standards and teaching techniques. 

In addition to their consummate level of instruction, our staff also put a strong emphasis on fun, patience and kindness. Allaying fears and instilling confidence in budding swimmers is a top priority.

And we’re proud to say that many of our instructors were once students of Dovercourt’s swimming program themselves!

kids having fun in pool in recreational swim

Comfort and functionality of facilities

Dovercourt is conveniently located in central west Ottawa. With plenty of parking, an extensive playground, and close proximity to the shops and restaurants of Westboro, Dovercourt offers convenience and ease for families both coming and going.

Read more about our pool here.

jump in swim

Access and inclusion

Access and inclusion quite simply means that everyone is welcome at Dovercourt. Regardless of age, income, race, physical ability, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or gender identity — our swimming program is open to all.

Dovercourt has offered low or no-cost classes to new Canadians, and our Last Minute Club provides free spots in swim classes that have failed to sell out at the start of the program.

And for anyone who wishes to register for swimming at Dovercourt but finds that the expense is cost-prohibitive, you can request a financial assistance form to see if you qualify for a subsidy.

jump in to swim

Swimming influences the development of the whole child

Some have said that swimming is a metaphor for life – we battle waves, go with the flow, try to keep our head above water – and of course, the proverbial sink or swim.

The comparison is apt when you examine the benefits of swimming on the development of the whole child. According to the German Sports College Cologne, learning to swim at a young age can contribute significantly to left and right brain development, healthy self-esteem, strong self-discipline, and even academic success.

Read more about this here:


child swim lessons with flutter boards

Our Swim Instructors

Dovercourt’s highly-skilled instructors are able to teach children proper technique efficiently and effectively, in accordance with the high standards of the Lifesaving Society. Our staff undergo extensive training and regular updates on safety, rescue situations, changes to current standards, as well as techniques for teaching. Many of our senior aquatics staff are instructor and lifeguard trainers and are a valuable resource for our aquatics team. 

swim instructors

The people who teach swimming at Dovercourt are pretty special. Not only are they exceptionally gifted in the water – they’re also warm, funny and kind – and they each have their own story of how they came to be a swim instructor. 

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