When is it too late to learn to swim?

The short answer, of course, is it’s never too late to learn to swim. (We are a swim school, after all!) But with the emphasis placed on early learning, sometimes parents of older kids – even teens, and sometimes the parents themselves – can feel like they’ve missed the boat and there isn’t a good option for them to learn to swim.

At Foss Swim School, our goal is to help ANYONE learn to swim. These classes for older swimmers sometimes follow a different schedule than our standard levels and so might not be what you see when you walk into a Foss school, but they are available and, like all our classes, designed to meet older students wherever they are on their swimming journey.

Our classes for older swimmers teach some of the same skills found in our progression aimed at younger students, but of course tweens, teens and adults respond to different instruction methods. FOSS swim teachers are trained to engage with each student in the way that best helps them learn – so, no, older students won’t be asked to do Monkey Cheeks, but they will be instructed in breath control. (Unless you really want to do Monkey Cheeks – they are fun!)

Ways older students can learn to swim at FOSS

Tweens and early teens in our 10+ classes: Our progression includes a level for older kids. They can begin with literally no swim experience whatsoever and find themselves learning alongside students their same age and skill level – they will never feel like they are being treated like a younger kid. Most FOSS schools have some of these classes, although fewer than at other levels – contact your local school to learn what is offered and when.

Higher-level Big classes or local swim teams: For stronger swimmers who are looking to improve, we offer classes such as Big 6, which can include teens. These classes are for swimmers who are already experiences but may be looking to swim competitively or otherwise want advanced swim training. Some Foss Swim Schools also have local swim teams that include higher-level instruction.

Private and semi-private lessons: Only available at some locations by request, these are preferred by many teen and adult students. Often held at less-busy times, these lessons offer a fully customizable experience and can address specific issues, from extreme water fear to technique refinements.

What the experience is like for older swimmers

For students in 10+ classes, FOSS has developed a curriculum tailored to each level – from first-time water introduction and safety skills in 10+ level 1, to teaching strokes and confidence in 10+ level 2. There are fewer levels in the program since kids at this age can learn more simultaneously, but the core lessons taught are the same found in other FOSS Swim Path progressions.

The method of teaching changes too, since older students can follow and understand the teacher’s direction better and generally have longer attention spans.

Sooner is Better than Later, and Late is Better than Never

FOSS encourages families to enroll students at a young age because it improves safety for kids, because youth is a time when people are naturally primed to learn, and because knowing how to swim opens up a world of fun activities.

But with a mission of helping everyone learn to be a stronger swimmer and knowing how many people in the U.S. lack confidence in the water, we are committed to making classes available to people of all ages, at all comfort levels. So don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Foss Swim School with questions – it really is never too late!

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