How to Start Swimming

British Columbians have historically maintained a strong relationship with the water, whether it be our abundant ocean shorelines and vast archipelagos of islands or the inland waterways of rivers and lakes throughout the province, water is part of being British Columbian.  As such, being British Columbian inherently makes swimming an essential life skill. Much of our population enjoy swimming recreationally, many swim for exercise, community and competition. Swimming can be a complicated skill to acquire and the earlier you start, the better your chances are of gaining competency, familiarity and comfort in the water.

If you or a family member is just starting out, swimming lessons at your local recreation centre pool is a great place to start.  These lessons typically cover the basics including floating, water safety and some entry level stroke skills. Most communities provide some form of swimming lesson, often using programs like the Red Cross or the Lifesaving Society.  However, swimming lessons typically teach only the basics, are typically focussed on water safety and do not develop strong confident swimmers.

Taking the next step into Swim BC programs, (our member clubs are listed here will introduce you to swimming with confidence and competence.  A stronger swimmer is a  swimmer. Swim BC programs typically start around ages of 7 or 8. Geared towards a competitive outcome, the programs Swim BC clubs offer help develop confidence and strength in the water, fitness and metabolic health, and set you up with a skill you can use throughout your life. Most clubs also provide recreational and skills programs to progress to after completing swimming lessons but aren’t ready to step into competition.

Swim BC clubs are the only programs held to strong SafeSport guidelines.  Our programs are required to be aligned with Sport Canada’s Universal Code of Conduct, the policies of Swimming Canada and viaSport, the sport governing agency of the Government of BC.  Swim BC ensures our members are protected by comprehensive insurance policies and adhere to accountability guidelines.

From a physical outcome perspective, swimming is a low impact non-weight bearing whole-body sport. As a regular activity, it builds strength, endurance, aerobic capacity and is one of the best exercises one can do for cardiovascular and metabolic health. it is an excellent sport to participate in for life. From an activity perspective, swimmers enjoy a group or ‘team’ dynamic typically participating with both genders yet benefit from the challenges of an individual sport when competing.  The club dynamic of swimming creates an environment for socialization and the development of lifelong friendships.

Swim BC has Masters Clubs for adult swimmers wishing to continue swimming for fun, fitness and if you choose, competition throughout life. In Masters programs, there are participants ranging in age from 20 to 90 training and competing across the province. You can find a list of Masters Club on the Masters Swimming Association of BC (MSABC) website here.

Competitive swimming is a great sport, and an even better life skill. Start your experience today and “Find your Greatness”

Swim BC gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.


305-4420 Chatterton Way
Victoria, BC V8X 5J2



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