Each summer, the City of Mentor Recreation Department offers American Red Cross swim lessons – Levels 1 – 6, Preschool, Infant, Parent & Child and Adult for ages 6 months and older.
Our certified Water Safety Instructors teach more than 400 different swim lessons across weekday, evening and Saturday lessons, at all three pools, all summer long! Additionally, Mentor Recreation is the largest provider of American Red Cross swim lessons in Lake County, teaching more than 2,000 participants every year.
With our proximity to Lake Erie and the abundance of aquatic opportunities available to our residents, swim lessons are an important part of a child’s education and development, for health and safety and lifelong enjoyment of the water.
Be safe – learn to swim!
Below, you’ll find the course descriptions for each swim level.
All swim lessons are $25 for Mentor residents and $35 for nonresidents.
Please read level descriptions carefully. The American Red Cross has improved its Learn-to-Swim program by changing the placement and distribution of skills throughout the levels to improve participant progress and skill acquisition. Additionally, a new Preschool level has been added, specifically to help young swimmers feel comfortable in the water for the first time without a parent.
To assist you in your level selection, you’ll find a detailed American Red Cross level sheet and skill checklist you can download and review for additional information.
Be sure to call the Recreation Department at (440) 974-5720 if you have any questions about level placement for your child.
In this level, children ages 6 – 24 months (with a parent) learn to ask for permission before entering the water, how to enter and exit the water in a safe manner, feel comfortable in the water, explore submerging to the mouth, nose, eyes and completely, explore bouyancy in the front and back position and change body position in the water. Children will also learn to play safely in the water and experience wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket. Level Sheet
Parent & Child
In this fun class for children ages 18 months – 5 years and a parent, we use games, songs and simple instruction to help children learn to establish an expectation for adult supervision in and around the water, learn more ways to enter and exit the water in a safe manner, explore submerging in a rhythmic pattern through bobbing and blowing bubbles, and learn how to glide on the front and back with assistance. Level Sheet
The purpose of this class is to help children ages 3- 5 feel comfortable in the water for the first time without a parent. It orients children to the aquatic environment, helps them gain greater independence in their skills and develop more comfort in and around the water. Children will learn to enter the water on their own, follow the directions of the instructor, and gain basic swimming propulsive skills by learning to fully submerge and hold breath, bob, blow bubbles and float with assistance. Minimum age is 3. Level Sheet Skill Checklist
Level 1 – Introduction to Water Skills
In level 1, children ages 4 and older learn to enter and exit the water using ladder, steps or side, to blow bubbles through mouth and nose, to bob, to open eyes under water and retrieve submerged objects. While learning front and back glides and floats, recovery to vertical position and to roll from front to back and back to front, children begin to develop comfort in the water. Other skills include alternative and simultaneous leg actions and arm actions on front and back, treading water using arm and hand actions and combined arm and leg actions on front and back. Minimum age is 4. Level Sheet Skill Checklist
Level 2 – Fundamental Aquatic Skills
Success with fundamental aquatic skills begins in level 2 as children learn to enter and exit water by stopping or jumping from the side, fully submerge and hold breath, bob, open eyes under water and retrieve submerged objects. Children learn front, jellyfish and tuck floats, front and back glides and floats, how to recover to vertical position, change direction of travel while swimming on front or back, and how to roll from front to back and back to front. Level Sheet Skill Checklist
Level 3 – Stroke Development
Building on the skills introduced in level 2 through additional guided practice in deeper water, children learn to enter water by jumping from side, back float, survival float, rotary breathing, and headfirst entry into the water from the side in sitting and kneeling positions. Flutter, scissor, dolphin and breaststroke kicks on front will be introduced along with front crawl, elementary backstroke and treading water. Level Sheet Skill Checklist
Level 4 – Stroke Improvement
This is a big level with many skills to perfect. Most students take Level 4 several times before passing all the necessary skills. In this level, children develop confidence in the skills learned and improve other aquatic skills including swimming under water, feet-first surface dives, survival swimming, and headfirst entry into the water from the side in compact and stride positions. Other skills include front crawl and backstroke open turns, front and back crawl, elementary backstroke, breaststroke, sidestroke and butterfly, plus flutter and dolphin kicks on back. To advance, children also must be able to tread water using 2 different kicks. Level Sheet Skill Checklist
Level 5 – Stroke Refinement
Children learn further coordination and refinement of strokes in level 5. We’ll cover shallow-angle dive from the side then glide and begin front stroke, tuck and pike surface dives while submerging completely, front flip turn and backstroke flip turn while swimming, front and back crawl, elementary backstroke, breaststroke, sidestroke and butterfly, plus sculling. Level Sheet Skill Checklist
In this level, students refine the strokes to swim with ease, efficiency, power and smoothness over greater distances. Students learn to swim 500 yards continuously using any 3 strokes of choice, swimming at least 50 yards of each stroke. The class includes more complex safety skills, jumping into deep water and performing a survival float for 5 minutes, rolling onto back and performing a back float for 5 minutes, performing a surface dive, retrieving an object from the bottom of the pool at a depth of 7 – 10 feet, returning to the surface and the starting point. Skill Sheet (Water Safety)
This new American Red Cross course is an introduction to the skills needed to become a certified lifeguard. The course focuses on building a foundation of knowledge, attitudes and skills for kids ages 11 – 14 who aspire to become a lifeguard in the future. This course does not provide lifeguard certification. Participants in this course should have the following basic skills: Be capable of swimming 25 yards continuously using front crawl and breaststroke; tread water for 1 minute using arms and legs; show a level of comfort on the back by floating for 30 seconds or swimming on back for 25 yards; submerge and swim a distance of 10 feet underwater.
Lifeguard Training Crash Course
Offered early June
Students must attend all classes and pass written and practical test to receive certification. Included in the course is Lifeguarding, First Aid and CPR for Professional Rescuer. Students must be 15 years old and bring proof of age to first class.The following prerequisites will be tested the first day of class. Students who do not meet these minimum requirements will not be permitted to continue with the course but will receive a refund:
1. Swim 300 yards continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing.
2. Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs
3. Starting in the water, swim 20 yards, surface dive feet-first or head-first to a depth of 7 -10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound object, then surface and swim 20 yards on back with both hands holding the object, then exit the water without using a ladder or steps – all in less than 1 minute, 40 seconds.