Aquatics Programs

BGC Durham offers exciting aquatics programs for almost every age and ability. We are pleased to provide quality programming with staff trained by the Lifesaving Society to work with all swimmers to meet their needs and help them reach their goals.

Whether you're looking for fitness programs or lessons, BGC Durham's aquatics program has something for you.

Swimming Lessons

Swimming Lessons

BGC Durham offers a variety of swimming lessons designed to accommodate individual needs and abilities. Click on the program tab you are interested in to expand it for more details.

Parents can spend quality time with their child while having fun, learning, and socializing. Through structured in-water interactions between parent and child, we stress the importance of play in developing water-positive attitudes and skills. We provide Lifesaving Society Water Smart® tips on keeping your child safe in any aquatic setting. Certified instructors provide guidance and answers to your questions.

Parent & Tot 1

Designed for the 4 to 12-month-old to learn to enjoy the water with the parent.

Parent & Tot 2

Designed for the 12 to 24-month-old to learn to enjoy the water with the parent.

Parent & Tot 3

Designed for the 2 to 3-year-old to learn to enjoy the water with the parent.

Preschool Lessons give your child a head start on learning to swim. The Lifesaving Society Preschool program develops an appreciation and healthy respect for the water before these kids get in too deep. We work to ensure preschoolers become comfortable in the water and have fun acquiring and developing a foundation of water skills. We incorporate Lifesaving Society Water Smart® education in all Preschool levels.

Preschool A

These preschoolers will have fun learning to get in and out of the water. We'll help them jump into chest deep water. They'll float and glide on their front and back and learn to get their faces wet and blow bubbles underwater.

Preschool B

These preschoolers learn to jump into chest-deep water by themselves, and get in and get out wearing a lifejacket. They'll submerge and exhale underwater. Wearing a lifejacket they'll glide on their front and back.

Preschool C

These youngsters will try both jumping and a sideways entry into deep water while wearing a lifejacket. They'll recover objects from the bottom in waist-deep water. They'll work on kicking and gliding through the water on their front and back.

Preschool D

Advanced preschoolers will learn to do solo jumps into deeper water and get out by themselves. They'll do sideways entries and open their eyes underwater. They'll master a short swim on their front wearing a lifejacket and gliding and kicking on their side.

Preschool E

These youngsters get more adventuresome with a forward roll entry wearing a lifejacket and treading water for 10 sec. They'll work on front and back crawl swims for 5 m, interval training and get a giggle out of whip kick.

The Lifesaving Society's 6-level Swimmer program makes sure children learn how to swim before they get in too deep. Swimmer progressions accommodate children 5 years and older including absolute beginners as well as swimmers who want to build on the basics. We stress lots of in-water practice to develop solid swimming strokes and skills.

Swimmer 1

These beginners will become comfortable jumping into water with and without a lifejacket. They'll learn to open their eyes, exhale and hold their breath underwater. They'll work on floats, glides and kicking through the water on their front and back.

Swimmer 2

These advanced beginners will jump into deeper water, and learn to be comfortable falling sideways into the water wearing a lifejacket. They'll be able to support themselves at the surface without an aid, learn whip kick, swim 10 m on their front and back, and be introduced to flutter kick interval training (4 x 5 m).

Swimmer 3

These junior swimmers will dive and do in-water front somersaults and handstands. They'll work on 15 m of front crawl, back crawl and 10 m of whip kick. Flutter kick interval training increases to 4 x 15 m.

Swimmer 4

These intermediate swimmers will swim 5 m underwater and lengths of front, back crawl, whip kick, and breaststroke arms with breathing. Their new bag of tricks includes the completion of the Canadian Swim to Survive® Standard. They'll cap it all off with front crawl sprints over 25 m and 4 x 25 m front or back crawl interval training.

Swimmer 5

These swimmers will master shallow dives, cannonball entries, eggbeater kicks, and in-water backward somersaults. They'll refine their front and back crawl over 50 m swims of each, and breaststroke over 25 m. Then they'll pick up the pace in 25 m sprints and two interval training bouts: 4 x 50 m front or back crawl; and 4 x 15 m breaststroke.

Swimmer 6

These advanced swimmers will rise to the challenge of sophisticated aquatic skills including stride entries, compact jumps and lifesaving kicks like eggbeater and scissor kick. They'll develop strength and power in head-up breaststroke sprints over 25 m. They'll easily swim lengths of front crawl, back crawl, and breaststroke, and they'll complain about the 300 m workout.

Adapted aquatics are modified swimming techniques that accommodate the abilities of individuals with cognitive or physical limitations. The goal is to give people the skills they need for independent swimming and water safety. These lessons are designed to meet your child's individual needs and requirements.

These lessons are designed for any swimmer, any age, and any skill level. One on one support and practice will be given to the swimmer, and individualized plans are created by the instructor to best suit the needs of the swimmer, whether it be refining swimming strokes, improving fitness and endurance, or just getting comfortable in the water! 

Whether you're just starting out or just want help with your strokes, our Adult program is for the young at heart - no matter what your age. Set your own goals. Work with certified instructors to learn to swim, or improve your current swimming ability and water fitness. You won't be going to the Olympics, but you'll develop water confidence and smooth recognizable strokes good enough for lane swimming and fit enough for the beach. We incorporate Lifesaving Society Water Smart® education in all Adult levels.

Adult 1

You'll work towards a 10-15 m swim on your front and back. You'll do jump entries from the side and recover an object from the bottom in chest-deep water. Improve your fitness and your flutter kick with 4 x 9-12 m interval training.

Adult 2

Kick it up a notch working on two interval training workouts of 4 x 25 m kicking and front or back crawl. You'll be able to perform dive entries and demonstrate breaststroke arms and breathing over 10-15 m. You'll be supporting yourself at the surface for 1-2 minutes, and showing off your handstands in shallow water.

Adult 3

No sweat (or at least none anyone can see). You'll learn eggbeater, stride entries and compact jumps. You'll be doing a 300 m workout and sprinting 25-50 m. You'll master your front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke. Whew!

Aquatic Leadership

Aquatic Leadership

Designed for swimmers ready to take the next step in their aquatics journey, our aquatics leadership programs foster confidence in the water.  Click on the program tab you are interested in to expand it for more details.

 Participants earning their Bronze Medal Awards or National Lifeguard certification are eligible to apply for our Aquatics Leadership Scholarship Program. For more information on eligibility and application process, click here.


The Junior Lifeguard Club (JLC) offers serious fun for kids 8 years and up who can swim at least 25m and tread water for 2 minutes. The Jr. Lifeguard Club provides an action-packed challenge for kids who love the water but who want more than "lessons." The Jr. Lifeguard Club is for quick learners, those between levels or programs who thrive in an energetic learning environment. ACTION PACKED FUN - More action, more options, more fun. The Junior Lifeguard Club offers a unique aquatic alternative for those kids who love the water and who want more than "lessons." The Junior Lifeguard Club keeps kids interested and active in aquatics - especially quick learners and those caught between levels. The Junior Lifeguard Club is perfect for youth who thrive in an energetic learning environment.

Looking to take the next steps in your aquatics journey? earn your Bronze Medal Awards with BGC Durham! Swimmers participating in the following programs -- and those in our National Lifeguard course -- are eligible to apply for our Aquatics Leadership Scholarship program. For more information, please click here.

Bronze Star ($125)

Develops swimming proficiency, lifesaving skill and personal fitness. Candidates refine their stroke mechanics, acquire self-rescue skills, and apply fitness principles in training workouts. Bronze Star is excellent preparation for success in Bronze Medallion and provides a fun introduction to lifesaving sport.

Bronze Medallion & Emergency First Aid ($190)

Rescuers will learn tows, carries, defense methods and releases in preparation for challenging rescues of increased risk involving conscious and unconscious victims of various types. They’ll develop stroke efficiency and endurance through a 400m timed swim in 12 minutes and underwater swims.

Bronze Cross & Standard First Aid ($235)

Bronze Cross is a prerequisite for all advanced training programs including National Lifeguard and Swim Instructor certifications. This course includes a timed 400 m swim in 11 minutes, introduction of spinal rollovers, and a timed 10 lb brick recovery in 60 seconds. Lifeguarding situations are also introduced in this course.

National Lifeguard is Canada's only nationally recognized lifeguard certification program. National Lifeguard is a legal certificate for lifeguarding throughout the country and is recognized by the province of Ontario for lifeguarding public swimming pools. National Lifeguard is recognized as the waterfront supervisory certification for Ontario Recreational Camp Regulation 503/17. In this course, participants will complete a 400-metre timed swim in 10 minutes, a 20 lb object recovery in 40 seconds, spinal and submerged victim rescues, and a 50-metre head-up swim in 60 seconds.

Canadian Swim Patrol

Swim Patrol

The Canadian Swim Patrol program is the on-ramp to lifeguarding. Ability is the only prerequisite. The Swim Patrol provides enriched training for those who are ready to go beyond learn-to-swim. Swim Patrol's three levels - Rookie, Ranger, and Star - continue to develop participants' swim strokes and provide the skill foundation that prepares them for success in the Society's Bronze medal awards.

Swimmers continue stroke development with 50 m swims of front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke. Lifesaving sport skills include a 25 m obstacle swim and 15 m object carry. First aid focuses on assessment of conscious victims, contacting EMS, and treatment for bleeding. Fitness improves in 350 m workouts and 100 m timed swims.

Ranger Patrol features development of front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke over 75 m each, a 100 m lifesaving medley and timed 200 m swims.

Star Patrol demands good physical conditioning and lifesaving judgment. Participants develop lifesaving and first aid skills; further refine front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke over 100 m each; and complete 600 m workouts and 300 m timed swims.

Fitness Programs

Aquatic Fitness

Getting in the pool is a great way to get moving and active! At BGC Durham, our aquatic fitness programs are designed to be flexible to individual ability to ensure a safe, rewarding experience.

AquaFit is an excellent fitness class that includes a warm-up, aerobic, muscle conditioning exercises, and a cool down. Exercises are done in the shallow end and deep end with a floatation device. Participants are encouraged to go at their own pace. You can find AquaFit under 'Adult Programs' in our online registration system.


Cancellation made 7 days or more before the program start date: A full refund will be issued.

Cancellation made less than 7 days before the program start date and before the commencement of the second lesson: A partial refund of 50% will be provided.

Cancellation made after the second class: No refund will be granted.

Financial Assistance

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Foundation and Their Opportunity offer financial assistance to those who need it to enroll their children in sport programs.

Ontario Sport Network Logo

BGC Durham is grateful for the support of the Ontario Sport Network. Our aquatics programs receive support from the OSN Emergency Relief Community Support and Recreation Grant Program.

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