Landlocked, and with its largest body of water, Lake Burley Griffin, having been manmade in 1964, you might think that Canberra locals are not as into swimming as other capital cities, like Perth, Adelaide or Brisbane with their beautiful beaches and sunny days.

What if I tell you, then, that the capital city of Australia is famous for a swimming event? Not just any swimming event — but an event that takes place at the coldest part of the day, in the middle of winter, in Lake Burley Griffin ... and the participants swim in the nude?

Welcome to Canberra's Winter Solstice Nude Charity Swim.

The brainchild of the late Ian Lindeman, this swim, which raises money for Lifeline Canberra, celebrated its 5th anniversary in 2021 with a record number of participants and donations.

It's a cause well worth braving sub-zero temperatures for, in a lake that is icy cold even in the middle of summer.

What is the Winter Solstice Nude Charity Swim Canberra?
Lake swimming can have its perils - icy temperatures and submerged branches and debris - but it is still popular amongst strong swimmers in Canberra | Source: Pixabay - freephotos

Shivering, slightly crazy, swimmers aside — learning to swim is a serious business, even when you live in a landlocked city that is a 2-hour drive from the nearest beach.

Keep reading to find out where you can enrol in 'swimming classes near me' in the ACT as well as where to find the best adult, child and baby swimming lessons in Canberra.

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5 (18 reviews)
Irene
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Jackie
Jackie
$35
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1st lesson free!
Michael
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5 (5 reviews)
Michael
$80
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1st lesson free!
Aparna
5
5 (5 reviews)
Aparna
$25
/h
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1st lesson free!
Ingrid
Ingrid
$35
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Malki
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Dorian
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It's Never Too Soon — Baby Swimming Lessons in Canberra

A newborn baby has a natural affinity with water, however, this 'fun' can quickly turn into 'fear' as they become older if they are not exposed to regular water play experiences — or if they have family members who are anxious around water.

Sadly, drowning deaths are all too common in Australia with an average of 14.8 drowning deaths each year being children, two-thirds of which occur in swimming pools.

The benefits of learn to swim classes for babies are obvious — safety, awareness and confidence in and around the water.

Early and ongoing swimming lessons teach your baby and your children how to have fun in the water while maintaining their safety, although it is important to note that swimming lessons are not a replacement for active supervision when your children are young.

There are other benefits too, including evidence that swimming:

  • helps with sleep
  • fosters parent-child and family bonding
  • improves social skills
  • encourages mental and physical development
  • builds language skills.

Most pools that offer swimming lessons in Canberra cater for learners of every age from babies as young as 3 months of age, to adult beginners, as well as squad training.

However, a couple of learn to swim programs specialise in baby classes and private or small group lessons for children up to mid primary school age.

Aquatots

Aquatots is a Canberra owned and run swim school that opened in 2002 and now operates a swim school at four locations throughout Canberra:

  • Aquatots at Forde
  • Aquatots at Gold Creek
  • Aquatots at Black Mountain
  • Aquatots at Googong.

The Aquatots' programs include:

  • Infant Aquatic Program for babies from 6 weeks of age
  • Pre School Program for children from 3 to 5 years of age
  • School Age Programs for primary students at all levels (beginners, intermediate and advanced).

Aquatots is considered by many parents to offer the best baby swimming lessons in Canberra.

Where can I find baby swimming lessons in Canberra?
Water confidence and water safety and survival skills are best taught at a young age | Source: Pixabay - McStone

Stellar Swim

Learn to swim programs at Stellar Swim, located in the inner south of Canberra, are based on the Royal Life Saving Society's Swim and Survival program.

Baby classes are offered for children from 6 months to 3 years of age. From the age of 3, children can be enrolled in water safety and survival classes that focus on water movement skills. Once students reach primary school age, they can be enrolled in private and small group classes that focus on stroke development and survival skills.

Aquatic Achievers

Located in the south of Canberra (as well as in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney), Aquatic Achievers Swim School caters for children from 6 weeks of age to 12 years. In all classes, they focus on safety, survival and fun.

Swimming Classes Near Me for Kids and Adults at Every Level

For a small city, there are a lot of aquatic facilities providing swimming lessons in Canberra — some, such as Dickson Swimming Pool and Manuka Pool, are only open during the summer months, however, most offer year-round classes in an indoor centre.

Australian Institute of Sport (AIS)

The AIS pool is a world-class facility where many of the top swimmers in Australia do their training. The centre offers learn to swim programs for all ages and ability levels. Classes include:

  • Infant Aquatics — for children 12-36 months of age with their parents
  • Pre-school and School-aged programs — basic stroke development to advanced techniques
  • Adult Learn-to-Swim — small group and private lessons in a supportive environment
  • Swim Fit — for advanced swimmers who want to swim for fitness.

Club Lime

Club Lime Swim School has two Canberra locations — Canberra International Swimming and Aquatic Centre (CISAC) and the Australian National University — and offers swimming lessons for babies, children, teens and adults in small class groups as well as private one-to-one lessons.

The emphasis during lessons for kids is on fun and safety, with private lessons and squad training offered for stroke development and technique. Adult swimming programs range from basic learn-to-swim lessons through to stroke correction and a masters squad.

The club also runs school-based swimming lessons during the term and intensive school holiday programs, both for two-week blocks.

Kingswim

With aquatic centres throughout Australia, Kingswim has expanded in Canberra, and is now available in three locations — Macgregor, Majura Park and Deakin — in their own private pool centre devoted solely to swimming classes for children.

Lessons at Kingswim start with Baby Play classes, aimed at parents with babies from 12 weeks of age to 6 months. As children get older and become more confident, they can progress, at their own pace, through the independent, competent and graduate levels and then on to squad training if they wish.

Kingswim also offers a 'Fast Track' program during the school holidays where existing students can practise new techniques or new students can come along with their family to 'try before they buy'.

Where are the best swimming lessons in Canberra?
'Mucking around' at the beach is a popular way for young people to spend their holidays - but how many could save themselves if they got into trouble? | Source: Pixabay - Pexels

Other public pools that offer swimming lessons in Canberra include:

  • Dickson Aquatic Centre — private and small class lessons for all ages and levels (summer months only)
  • Big Splash Water Park — weekend group lessons and private lessons (summer months only)
  • Gungahlin Leisure Centre — learn to swim and lifesaving for kids and adults (all year)
  • Lakeside Leisure Centre — swim and survive and lifesaving for all ages (all year)
  • Manuka Pool — Canberra's oldest and most loved pool, all lessons from water familiarisation to advanced stroke correction (summer months only)
  • Canberra Olympic Pool — all ages and all levels (outside pool lessons in summer, classes in the 'bubble' during winter).

How to Make Sure You Find the Best Swimming Class for YOU

If you Google 'swimming classes near me', you will find pages of private swimming teachers and swim school programs for every level in and around Canberra — so how do you choose?

Here are our five top criteria to help you narrow down your options and find swimming lessons in Canberra to suit your needs.

  1. The facility — make sure it's one you are comfortable with. Does it have a good vibe? Do students seem happy? Is it close to where you live?
  2. The timetable — the classes you want have to fit in around your other commitments and preferences. Do you want to avoid peak times? Are you only free on weekends? Do you prefer early mornings?
  3. The cost — the per class price needs to be one that is manageable for you over the long term. Is there a cancellation fee? Are the bulk booking packages available?
  4. The program structure — make sure you're clear on what you'll be learning. What are the expectations? Is the program flexible?
  5. The teachers — probably the most important criteria. Is the teacher properly qualified? Do you have a good rapport with each other? Does the teacher respect your learning style and understand your goals? Do they acknowledge your fears?

At the end of the day, ask yourself what you want to achieve with your swimming lessons — do you want to be a competitive swimmer? Do you want to be confident in the water and be able to have fun in the pool or at the beach with your family? Or do you want to participate in next year's Winter Solstice Swim?

Whatever you want to achieve, set yourself a goal and go for it.

Success isn’t final, failure isn’t fatal, it’s courage that counts.

~ Alicia Coutts ~

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Kellie

Kellie is an editor, a children's writer, blogger and a teacher. Any remaining time she has is spent on a dragon boat.