Swimming levels - Swim City

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About Swim City

See the full catalogue and register for swimming lessons. 

Swim City is the City of Ottawa’s swimming lesson program. Follow your progress as you discover the joy of swimming and collect stickers as you progress through the levels.

Enter into one of the four streams according to your age on the first day of lessons. If you’re unsure where to start, do a swim assessment during a public swim and a program supervisor will tell you which level best suits your ability.

Check out the pre-school swimming levels that are named after local creatures that swim in the Ottawa River. In partnership with Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Pimadjiwowinogamig, and the cultural centre in Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, the names are in the Anishinabemowin Algonquin language. The designs are by artist Dean Ottawa from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation. This special connection is intended to foster an appreciation of the culture and heritage of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation.

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Swim Tots (ages 4 to 35 months)

Toddlers make their entry into swimming with their caregiver who joins them in the water. Together, they learn to have fun and be safe in the water.

image of swim level stickers
Swim Tots levels
Swim Tots levels (ages 4 to 35 months)
Swim Tots Level Equivalent previous Red Cross level
Little Dippers 1 (4-11 months) Starfish
Little Splashers 2 (12-23 months) Duck
Little Jumpers 3 (24-35 months) Sea Turtle
 

Swim Creatures (ages 3 to 5 years)

The pre-school swimming levels are named after local creatures that swim in the Ottawa River.

The designs are by artist Dean Ottawa from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation.

image of swim level stickers
Credit: Artwork by Dean Ottawa
Swim creatures levels for ages 3 to 5
Swim Creatures level Equivalent previous Red Cross level
Mikinàk | Turtle 1 Sea Otter (Level 1)  
Omagakì | Frog 2 Salamander (Level 2)  
Màng | Loon 3 Sunfish (Level 3)  
Nigig | Otter 4 Crocodile (Level 4)  
Amik | Beaver 5 Whale (Level 5)  

Swim Colours (ages 6 to 14 years)

The ten colours for the levels of school-aged swim lessons were chosen through a contest in June 2022.

image of swim level stickers
Swim colours levels
Swim Colours level Equivalent previous Red Cross level
Yellow 1  Swim Kids Level 1
Coral 2 Swim Kids Level 2
Red 3 Swim Kids Level 3
Magenta 4 Swim Kids Level 4
Purple 5 Swim Kids Level 5
Navy 6 Swim Kids Level 6
Aqua 7 Swim Kids Level 7
Seafoam 8 Swim Kids Level 8
Green 9 Swim Kids Level 9
Lime 10 Swim Kids Level 10
 

Adult and Youth (ages 15 years and older)

Master the fundamentals of swimming and water safety at any age.

Swim levels - Adult and youth ages 15 and up
Adult and Youth level Equivalent previous Red Cross level
Sw’imtroduction 1 Swim Basics 1
Sw’immersion 2 Swim Basics 2
Sw’improvement 3 Swim Strokes