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For more than a century, the YMCA has been the nation's leading expert in swimming and water safety! 

Y branches across the Greater St. Louis area and southwest Illinois offer a variety of aquatics classes for all ages and abilities, including infant and parent, preschool-age, school-age, teens, adults, seniors and people with disabilities.  Group and private lessons are also available.  In addition, we offer water exercise classes and water sports, including synchronized swimming and even SCUBA.  Competitive programs are also available for youth and adults through Masters programs.  Courses for lifeguard certification are also available at many of our Ys.

Water Safety

Here are some water safety tips from the Y:

  • Never leave children unattended, and stay vigilant when around any body of water.
  • Designate a “Water Watcher” to supervise children around water. This person should not read, use a cellphone or be otherwise distracted.
  • Inexperienced and non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket around water.
  • Children should stay away from pool drains,pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Children and adults should not engage in breath-holding activities.

Water Safety 

Drowning Facts

Choosing a Life Jacket

Inclusion Services

The Y provides inclusive programming and reasonable accommodations for all our program participants.  If you or your loved one has a disability and would like to participate in our swimming programs, please contact Sherri Rocklage at (314) 678-0162 or We also offer 1:1 instruction for developmental disabilities.

Modest Swimwear Guidelines

Please click here for the YMCA's guidelines for modest swimwear.