Session 1 - Swim Lesson schedule coming in April.

FEES 2023:

  • Portsmouth Residents: $5.00 per session
  • Nonresidents: $70.00 per session

Session 1 Sign-ups:

  • Residents: Mon, May 1, 2023 at 9:00am
  • Non-residents: Wed, May 3, 2023 at 9:00am

Session 2 Sign-ups:

  • Residents: Wed, July 5, 2023 at 9:00am
  • Non-residents: Fri, July 7, 2023 at 9:00am

Current and former members of the military may show their military ID and receive the resident rate. Please call 603-427-1547 with questions or to set up discount.

Coming soon - Click Here to Register


Peirce Island Outdoor Pool is an excellent pool for teaching lessons. The water is eighteen inches deep in the shallow end and six and one-half feet deep in the deep end of the pool. The pool is divided into sections by depth, which allows for all swimmers to be able to access water in depths that are appropriate to their ability. There is no need for platforms or swimmers to be called one at a time because the water is too deep. Lessons are offered two days per week for four weeks during the week (Monday/Wednesday, Tuesday/Thursday, or Wednesday/Friday) and Saturdays for eight weeks. They are taught for one-half hour each (five time slots each morning) starting at 9:30am and ending at 12:00pm. Lessons are free for Portsmouth residents (primary residence only – proof of residency required) and active duty military (active duty ID or dependent ID card); lessons are $60.00 per session for nonresidents.

Lessons are taught by certified American Red Cross (ARC) Water Safety Instructors (WSI). As a result, swimmers must be at least five (5) years old (prior to the class beginning) to enter the Learn-to-Swim program, which includes levels 1 to level 6, which are described below. Children younger than five years old will be placed in the Parent/Child program (approximately one-year old to age three) or Preschool program (four or five years old), which are described below. There are no exceptions to these age requirements.


Red Cross Swimming Level Descriptions

Parent and Child Aquatics

Parents and children learn together to increase a child's comfort level in the water and build a foundation of basic skills, such as arm and leg movements and breath control. Parent and Child helps introduce water safety concepts, encouraging a healthy recreational habit that your entire family can enjoy.

Parent and Child provides experiences and activities for children to:

  • Learn how to enter and exit the water in a safe manner.
  • Feel comfortable in the water.
  • Explore submerging to the mouth, nose and eyes and fully submerging.
  • Explore buoyancy on the front and back position.
  • Change body position in the water.
  • Learn how to play safely.
  • Experience wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Plus age-appropriate water safety topics.


Preschool Levels Basic and Advanced 3 or 4 YEARS OLD


For swimmers three or four years old who have never taken a lesson and need to become acclimated to the water. Orients children to the aquatic environment and helps them gain basic aquatic skills Help participants begin to develop positive attitudes and safe practices in and around water. Swimmers will submerge and do basic bobbing drills, experience bubble blowing, experience buoyancy, and learn to enter and exit shallow or deep water safely and independently. Swimmers will learn to float on their backs and fronts as well as practice kicking on their front and back.


For swimmers three or four years old who are comfortable in the water and are ready to learn to swim. Swimmers will begin to learn breath control and floating on their front and back. Also, kicking on the front and back will be a major emphasis on Advanced Preschool. Swimmer will be introduced to the arm action of the front crawl and back crawl to begin coordination of these strokes, treading water, and safety skills. The goal of Advanced Preschool is to prepare swimmers to start in Level Two of the Learn to Swim Program. In some instances, swimmers can move to Level Three of the LTS program upon turning five years old.


Learn to Swim Program (LTS) Levels 1 – 6



The objective of Level One is to help students feel comfortable in the water and to enjoy the water safely. Students will learn elementary water skills, which they can build on as they progress through the various levels.

Skills Acquired:

  • Become oriented to aquatic environment
  • Submerging
    • Fully submerge face (3 seconds)
  • Bobbing
  • Experience buoyancy
  • Breath control (bubble blowing)
  • Entering/exiting shallow/deep water safely and independently
  • Supported floating on front/back
  • Supported kicking on front/back
  • Alternating arm action
  • Move through water comfortably
  • Introduction to alternating arm action


Level Two builds on swimmers’ previous skills gives to allow swimmers to become proficient with these previously learned skills. They will learn basic self-help and assisting rescue skills (floating, turning over, reaching assists, rescue breathing).

Skills Acquired:

  • Retrieve objects from bottom while submerging
    • Retrieve object, eyes open, no support
  • Flutter kicking front/back
  • Floating on front/back unassisted
  • Turning front-to-back, back-to-front
  • Beginning crawl stroke: learning to swim on their own
  • Beginning breathing techniques
  • Back crawl arm action with kick
  • Deep water safety
  • Bob and submerge head completely
    • Bob in water slightly over head to travel to safe area
    • Jump into deep water from side of pool
  • Front/Back glide w/ push off (2 body lengths)


Students learn to coordinate front and back crawl. Introduce elementary backstroke and the fundamentals of treading water.

Skills Acquired:

  • Retrieve objects from bottom while submerging
  • Flutter kicking front/back
  • Floating on front/back unassisted
  • Turning front-to-back, back-to-front
    • Reverse direction while swimming on front/back
  • Crawl stroke should begin to look and feel comfortable
    • Coordinate arm stroke for crawl
    • Rotary breathing
  • Deep water safety
  • Coordinated back crawl
  • Elementary Backstroke, 15 yards
  • Dolphin Kicking, 15 yards
  • Breaststroke Kicking, 15 yards
  • Scissors Kicking, 15 yards
  • Tread water


Level Four develops confidence in stokes previously learned (elementary backstroke, front/back crawl, rotary breathing, floating, treading water) and improves other aquatic skills. This level introduces breaststroke, sidestroke and wall turns. Familiarize with CPR/rescue breathing).

Skills Acquired:

Retrieve objects from bottom while submerging

Flutter kicking front/back

Floating on front/back unassisted

Turning front-to-back, back-to-front

Fine tuning crawl stroke, 50 yards

Alternate breathing

Continuous swimming

Deep water safety

Perfecting back crawl, 25 yards

Good body position

Breaststroke, 15 yards

Butterfly, 15 yards

Sidestroke, 15 yards

Underwater swimming (3 body lengths)

Elementary backstroke, 25 yards

Open turn on front/back

Tread water (2 min., 2 different techniques)


Level Five helps participants refine their performance of all six swimming strokes.

Skills Acquired:

  • Front crawl, 50 yards
  • Breaststroke, 25 yards
  • Butterfly, 25 yards
  • Swim underwater, 3 to 5 body lengths, without hyperventilating
  • Elementary backstroke, 50 yards
  • Back crawl, 25 yards
  • Sidestroke, 25 yards
  • Standard (back) scull, 30 seconds
  • Front flip turn while swimming
  • Backstroke flip turn while swimming
  • Tread water, 5 minutes
  • Tread water, using legs only, 2 minutes


Lesson length: 45 minutes

The objective of Level Six is to polish strokes so students swim with more ease, efficiency, power, and smoothness over greater distances. Excellent for an introduction to swim team or swim team maintenance). An emphasis on proper body position (alignment and control) will be emphasized alo9ng with an introduction to swim fins, pull buoys, and hand paddles. Basic stretching exercises and warmup drills will be covered. Skill drills to perfect strokes will be taught. Front and back flip turns will be covered. At a minimum, swimmers should be able to do:

  • Front Crawl, 100 yards
  • Back Crawl, 50 yards
  • Breaststroke, 50 yards
  • Butterfly, 25 yards
  • Front crawl open turn
  • Back crawl open turn