SwimAbilities® is a learn to swim program geared for children with special needs. SwimAbilities® provides lessons where the caregiver is in the water to provide one-on-one focus while being under the direction of a certified instructor. SwimAbilities® assists children and their caregivers to increase safety, independence, and enjoyment in and around the water. Children may begin SwimAbilities® at any level and may continue into other swim programs if they are comfortable doing so.

Every child who does not yet fit into regular lessons is welcome in SwimAbilities®, regardless of whether or not they have a diagnosis.

Recommended ages: 3-16 years old

Who would benefit?

Children who need or would benefit from:

  • A slower paced lesson with additional practice time
  • Basic learn-to-swim instruction
  • Additional support learning swimming routines and/or public swimming routines
  • Additional one-on-one safety supervision

Parents or Aides who are in the water with the child, will also benefit from learning:

  • Techniques to support the child in learning and performing the swimming skills
  • Routines that are the same or similar to routines found during public swim

SwimAbilities® Sites




Facility Name



Municipality of Jasper 

Jasper Aquatic Centre 




MacEwan University

MacEwan University


University of Alberta

University of Alberta Pool




City of Calgary

Bob Bahan Aquatic & Fitness Centre


Repsol Sport Centre

Repsol Sport Centre


Trico Centre for Family Wellness

Trico Centre for Family Wellness


City of Calgary

Village Square Leisure Centre


Town of Claresholm

Claresholm Aquatic Centre



City of Wetaskiwin

The Manluk Centre

For communities who would like to offer SwimAbilities®, please contact the Lifesaving Society Alberta & Northwest Territories directly.

Who teaches SwimAbilities®?

SwimAbilities® classes are run by certified swimming instructors, who also hold SwimAbilities®Instructor certification through the Lifesaving Society Alberta & Northwest Territories.  SwimAbilities® instructors have additional training and certification to support children with special needs in a pool environment.

SwimAbilities® Instructor

SwimAbilities® Instructors are responsible for teaching and evaluating candidates participating in the SwimAbilities® learn to swim program. The SwimAbilities® Instructor course prepares instructors to apply level 2 leadership competencies and strategies designed to teach candidates with special needs.

Prerequisite(s): Current Swim or Lifesaving Instructor

Apprenticeship: In course

Certification Currency: 2 years from the date of certification

Recertification: Complete and submit a Distance Recertification Form, a Self- Assessment, and a Leadership Development Plan

SwimAbilities® Instructor courses are scheduled in both Edmonton and Calgary. Look on Find a Course or contact the Lifesaving Society for more details.