One of the most frequent questions asked in our Mom Tribes this time of year is “where should my kids take swim lessons?” So, we’ve compiled a list of honest recommendations from our contributing team and other local moms in our amazing community. The swim schools listed below are highly recommended time and again in the discussions of our Facebook Groups.
The quotes you’ll read here are honest and sincere from local moms who paid their own money for the swim lessons they’re recommending. The photos below are also real photos of their children, provided by the moms. No one was compensated for their opinions and this post is not sponsored.
Beluga Swim School
Lessons arranged at your private residence or community pool within the Sarasota/Bradenton area.
“When we moved to Anna Maria we had an almost one-year-old and a four-year-old. With drowning being the leading cause of death of preschoolers, we had water safety on our minds. Fortunately, a friend recommended Lynn of Beluga Swim School. She will travel to your home and offers private or small group lessons. The 30-minute private lessons worked wonders for us, and my youngest was swimming across the pool before he could walk across the room. When we had baby number three, we started with Lynn before he turned one. Those lessons were just as successful, and we saw how he was able to safely rescue himself if needed. She focused on water safety, breathing, and beginning swimming strokes.”
– Kelly Smith, mom to Jett (9), Brody (7) and Cade (4)
Mermaid Swim School
Lessons arranged at your private residence or community pool.
Serving the Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties, as well as Lakeland, Brandon, Wesley Chapel, Land O’ Lakes and Spring Hill areas.
“We recently moved to Florida and top of my priority list was to find a great swim school for my 3 kids. After much research, we decided on Mermaid Swim School. An instructor came to our house twice a week and spent 30 minutes with each child. While it benefited all of my kids, the most noticeable was my 4 year old. Prior to swim lessons, she had to wear a life jacket. After Mermaid Swim School she not only swims without the assistance of a life jacket, but can swim the length of the pool with no problems. The instructor really took her time to work with each child and I recommend Mermaid Swim School to anyone that is looking for swim lessons for their kids.”
– Kelly DiNardo, mom to Rocco (8), Edie (4) and Marco (17 months)
ISR with Melissa Osborne
Lessons arranged at Swim Gym of Lakewood Ranch (see below) or her private pool in Ellenton
“I cannot say enough great things about Melissa Osborne and ISR! Last year, when we moved to the area, my oldest did a refresher course with her. And this year, we started my youngest on ISR and did another set of refreshers for my oldest. Melissa is amazing! She is very professional and passionate about water safety for children. I am truly amazed at the skills my daughters now have in the water, and people are always impressed with their abilities. We’ve had so much fun enjoying our pool with them this summer and I love seeing their confidence in the water. ISR is not your “traditional” swimming lesson. It will teach your child water survival skills. And let me tell you, it is worth the time and money. At the end of lessons, you will have confidence that your child will be able to save themselves, if heaven forbid, a situation arises where they will need to use their ISR skills.”
– Michelle Erickson, mom to Ariana (3) and Juliet (1)
Sarasota Swim Kids
Located near Clark Rd and I-75
Sarasota, FL 34241
“We and some of our friends all used Alena at Swim Kids. My daughter was petrified of swimming and after a couple of lessons loved it! They do not use any flotation devices and start with teaching the kids how to float on their back. My daughter quickly became such an amazing and strong swimmer. Alena is also amazing with the kids! I highly recommend her.”
– Cari Beard, mom to Arden (7)
School of Fish
John H. Marble Aquatics Center
3675 53rd Avenue
Bradenton, FL 34203
“My daughter started swim lessons just after she turned 2. We LOVE Miss Maria at School of Fish Swimming Lessons. At 2, the lessons were Mommy and Me. But my girl learned how to find ‘Mr. Wall’ and how to crab-crawl to the pool steps. We have continued with lessons every summer since those Mommy and Me lessons. Not only is Miss Maria an amazing swim instructor, during the school year she teaches second grade, so she definitely knows how to work with kids. The other instructors we have had, hand-picked and trained by Miss Maria, have been incredible teachers as well. My daughter knows the butterfly stoke, the breast stroke, the backstroke and the freestyle and she is only 6. I can’t do half of those! Miss Maria also teaches the kids pool safety and what to do if they find themselves in a pool unexpectedly, which has given me peace of mind. School of Fish Swimming has absolutely turned my daughter into a fish!”
– Barb Hagan, mom to Ally (6)
Swim Gym of Lakewood Ranch
5002 Lena Rd Unit #103
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211
“I’ve taken my son to Miss Anita for Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) lessons at Swim Gym of Lakewood Ranch every summer for the past 4 years, starting when he was six months old. The focus of ISR lessons is survival. I really liked that these classes don’t rely on the use of floaties. Because, let’s face it, if your child accidentally falls in the pool when you’re not around, they likely won’t be wearing floaties. Instead, Swim Gym teaches your child to first float on their back, then flip to a float if they enter the water facedown, and then to swim when they gain the motor skills and understand how to hold their breath. My son has gained so much water confidence, he’s like a fish! I can barely get him out of the pool once he’s in it. And I know he’d be able to save himself by swimming and floating to the step or side if he fell into the pool when I wasn’t around. He can now do 4 different strokes – back stroke, butterfly, freestyle and breast stroke – and swims better than some kids who are twice his age. Miss Anita is an excellent teacher. She is patient and encouraging, but also keeps squirmy kids (like my son) on task, so they really get the most out of their 10-minute session each day. I’m so pleased with the results, I’ve started lessons this summer for my 1 year old daughter as well.”
– Vivian Owen, mom to Logan (4) and Dahlia (1)
The Swim School
5755 Harrison Ranch Blvd
Parrish, FL 34219
“As a family with two small children that recently moved to Florida, familiarizing our girls with the water and pool safety was one of the first things we did when we arrived in Parrish. We found Hilary with The Swim School through our subdivision monthly newsletter. We have been using her continuously for over three years and could not be more pleased with the results. Our girls immediately learned pool safety before progressing into more of the complicated swim instruction. Hilary has a great demeanor with the kids and does a wonderful job of connecting with them and teaching the basics of swimming. Our girls have progressed so much in their time with Hilary, and as a mom seeing them learn and become more comfortable in the water definitely is one of those “mom moments” I will always remember. We are very thankful for The Swim School and will continue to have Hilary teach them as long as our girls need lessons.”
– Rebekah Flaming, mom to Alice (6) and Lucy (2)