How Long Does It Take to Learn To Swim?

Just like with any sport, when parents enroll children for swim lessons they naturally have questions. One of the most common questions we get at NAC Swim School is “how long will it be until my child can swim?” Giving a simple answer would be preferred, but just like asking “when will my child be a black belt in Tae Kwon Do,” we can’t give an accurate answer.

In this post, learn more about the common questions & misconceptions we hear about swim lessons. We hope our expertise will help parents better understand the process of learning how to swim.

  • What is the earliest age you can learn how to swim? Will starting swim lessons early speed up the process?

Getting your children comfortable in the water is very important. Parents and Child classes are very beneficial to give swimmers the confidence they need to become independent in the water – plus, it’s a great bonding experience for parents too! Our suggestion is to get your toddlers in the water at least 2-3 sessions a year (each session is approx. 6-8 weeks). 

To familiarize swimmers with the experience in the water, and to give them the confidence to begin taking classes on their own, ages 4-6 is prime to “learn to swim.” If you are investing time and money into swim lessons the bulk will be done during this age group. Your swimmers are confidence and excited to try new things. Swimming will come more naturally when fear is not so fresh in their minds.

  • On average, how many years does it take a child to become comfortable in the water?

All swimmers are very unique & everyone has their own pace. The earlier you begin to familiarize & keep water consistently in their lives, the faster they will learn to swim.

  • Any key tips for becoming a better swimmer?

The most important rule is to stay calm. The more relaxed you are, the more buoyant you will be in the water. Another helpful tip is to keep as much of your body in the water as possible. Swimming with your arms underwater will help you from sinking. The water is your friend! Let it help you!  

  • Should children take a break from swimming during the winter months?

Winter is prime time to take swim lessons! Swimming in the winter allows your little swimmer enough time to practice their skills and become comfortable in the water. Summer is a time to enjoy the water and for parents to feel relief to know that their child is safe & comfortable in the water.

  • What’s better – private or group swim lessons (or both)?

There are benefits to both types. Swimmers are all very different and learn at their our pace. Some swimmers find comfort in learning with a small group. Seeing other students swimming encourages them to try for themselves. Others can feel that a group lesson scenario can feel overwhelming and uncomfortable. Group lessons are great for todders. It’s a great inexpensive way to receive instruction and keep the swimmer in the water. We suggest asking your swim instructors when taking lessons what is best for your child. They will be able to give you the best feedback for your swimmer.

  • Is it harder to learn how to swim the older you get?

It’s never too late to learn to swim! Although we suggest getting swimmers in the water as early as possible.


NAC Swim School offers swim lessons year-round for all ages! If you’re looking to learn how to swim, or just become more comfortable in the water, don’t hesitate to give us a call! Our current swim session began on Monday, January 7, with open enrollment available!

To learn more about swim lessons at the Newtown Athletic Club, contact aquatics@newtownathletic.com or 215.968.0600 x 288.

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