“Swim Like a Hippo” Swim Program

– Helping Children Become Stronger & Safer Swimmers –

As the Red Cross ended their swim program on December 31, 2022, Hippo in the Bathtub is now using our own swim program, which came into effect on January 1, 2023.  The swim program has been tailored to complement our students’ learning environment: our custom indoor pools and our client’s backyard pools. 

Through the six levels in our “Swim Like a Hippo” program, swimmers will go from learning to be comfortable in the pool to being able to perform five strokes and a number of water safety, lifesaving, & survival skills.  The swim program is suitable for ages 5 months – 12 years old.  Adult swim lessons are also available.

Do parents need to participate in the water during lessons?

One parent is required to participate in the water during lessons if their child is under the age of 2 years old.  Once a child is registered in Level #2: Flamingo (or higher), a parent is not able to participate in the lesson.

When will my child pass a level?

Level skills are constantly evaluated, and once a child is able to complete each skill to the level’s requirements, they will receive a passing report card.  Level progression will depend on many factors: including how frequently a child attends lessons, how long their lessons are, whether the lessons are private or semi-private, whether the child has any fears of the water, etc.

In order to ensure that a child masters all level skills before moving up a level, we do have a minimum hours of instruction required before a child can be eligible for passing.

Hedgehog & Flamingo: minimum of 3 hours of instruction
Penguin & Capybara : minimum of 4 hours of instruction
Tiger: minimum of 5 hours of instruction
Hippo: minimum of 6 hours of instruction

If you have questions about your child’s progress within a level, please speak with your instructor at the end of a lesson, and they will be happy to provide you with an update.

How will my child remain motivated during each level?

Children will receive motivational stickers and rewards as they make progress in their respective level.  Once they complete all the skills, then they will receive a passing report card!

Can your instructors teach skills not included in these levels?

Absolutely!  If you prefer your child to have custom lessons and focus on learning a few specific skills, please include that information when booking online.

What type of lessons do you offer at your indoor pools?

We offer 30 minute private and semi-private lessons at our two indoor pool facilities (Nepean & Stittsville).  

Who can register for semi-private lessons?

Our semi-private lessons are for two swimmers that are registered together by one client.  For example, two siblings, two cousins, two best friends, etc.   Unlike the City of Ottawa or other swim lesson providers, we do not put strangers together for semi-private lessons, so clients are responsible for signing up two swimmers for these types of classes.

When purchasing semi-private lessons, you will need to purchase the entire class, which means you are paying for both swimmers.  

If you are registering only one swimmer, our private lessons will be the appropriate service option.

Why are semi-private lessons capped at 2 swimmers?

It is our company’s policy to cap semi-private lessons at two swimmers of a similar swimming ability because it allows us to ensure that all swimmers receive adequate attention during each lesson.

When lessons include more than two children, it is difficult to tailor the lesson to each child’s strengths and weaknesses.  Children are never identical, and each child has a different learning style and personality.  By capping classes at two swimmers, our instructors can help guarantee that each of our students becomes a stronger swimmer at the end of every session.

Do you offer lessons for adults?

Yes, we do offer swim lessons for adults.  At your first swim lesson with us, your instructor will chat with you about your specific goals for the lessons and will then tailor the lesson to match those goals.  Whether you are just starting on your swimming journey or are looking to fine-tune your stroke technique, our instructors will be happy to work with you!


“Introduction to Water Comfort & Assisted Swimming”

In this level, swimmers will learn basic assisted skills to get them started on their swimming journey!

  • Blow bubbles
  • Front & back floats (assisted)
  • Front & back rocketships (assisted)
  • Kicking on front & back – 2 meters (assisted)
  • Jumping (assisted)
  • Submersion – 3 seconds


“Completing Basic Swimming Skills Unassisted”

In this level, swimmers will continue their swimming journey by learning to complete all basic swimming skills unassisted!

  • Front & back floats – 3 seconds
  • Front & back rocketships – 2 meters
  • Front & back rocketships with kick – 5 meters
  • Roll-over rocketship with kick – 5 meters
  • Front swim – 5 meters
  • Side glide – 2 meters (assisted)
  • Jump into deep water and return


“Mastering Basic Skills & Introduction of Water Survival Skills”

In this level, swimmers will increase distances in all the basic swimming skills and learn some new water survival skills.

  • Front & back rocketship with kick – 12 meters
  • Front swim with arms – 12 meters
  • Distance swim – 25 meters
  • Sculling on front & back – 10 meters
  • Tread water – 30 seconds
  • Sitting dive & return
  • Retrieve item at 3-4 feet depth


“Introduction to Strokes”

In this level, swimmers will learn three strokes, increase their distance swim, and improve their water survival skills!

  • Front & back crawl – 50 meters
  • Elementary backstroke – 25 meters
  • Whip kick on front – 10 meters
  • Distance swim – 100 meters
  • Tread water – 1 minute
  • Front somersaults
  • Kneeling dive
  • Head-up front crawl – 5 meters


“Stroke Improvement & Increased Endurance”

In this level, swimmers will improve technique for the strokes they already know, learn breaststroke, and gain endurance.

  • Front & back crawl – 150 meters
  • Elementary backstroke – 75 meters
  • Breaststroke – 50 meters
  • Distance swim – 250 meters
  • Tread water – 2 minutes
  • Handstands & back somersaults
  • Underwater swim – 5 meters
  • Head-up front crawl – 12 meters


“Stroke Refinement & Advanced Water Survival Skills”

In this level, swimmers will refine their technique on four strokes, learn a new stroke, and improve their water survival skills.

  • Front & back crawl – 300 meters
  • Elementary backstroke – 150 meters
  • Breaststroke – 150 meters
  • Sidestroke – 50 meters
  • Distance swim – 500 meters
  • Travelling eggbeater – 3 minutes
  • Dolphin kick – 10 meters
  • Underwater swim – 10 meters
  • Head-up front crawl – 25 meters