How do I know what level my child is?

This depends entirely on their experience and comfort in the water. Find a description of our levels here. If your child has never had swimming lessons before and is pre-school-aged, we recommend starting in Angelfish (our parent/tot class) or Baby Belugas (our lowest group level). Children with some comfort and exposure to the water may be more suited for Clownfish, and those with a concrete grasp of water-safety skills would do better in Dolphins. Electric Eels is tailored to learning all four strokes, and Flying Fish is designed for refinement of competitive swim skills prior to joining a swim team. Still not sure? Schedule a free placement test with our Aquatics Staff. 

I am signing up for several sessions this summer.  How do I schedule my child?  Can I put him/her in different levels?

Generally, it is not recommended that you sign your child up for each level, as passing a level is not automatic but based on completion of specific skills.  If your child has little water experience it is recommended you sign him/her up for the same level over multiple sessions.  For students more comfortable in the water, we recommend signing up for the level completed last year as a “refresher” and then moving on to the next level for additional sessions. It is not uncommon for a child to remain in the same level throughout the summer – especially in Dolphin and Electric Eels. If your child does pass a level earlier than expected, arrangements can be made with the Aquatics Lead to transfer classes if class space is available. However, classes fill up very quickly, especially our lower levels, so as soon as you are aware that your child is registered in the wrong level, please contact us at (805) 546-3132.

My child is fearful of the water, what should I do?       

There are many different reasons why a child may be fearful of the water. Some children are hesitant to swim with an instructor who is a stranger to them, some may dislike the taste or feel of the water, and others might just be tired or hungry on that particular day. A positive swimming experience starts at home, not just at the pool. Try playing with toys or blowing bubbles during bath time, giving words of reassurance and encouragement on the way to swim lessons, or incentivizing swim lessons with stickers or something similar. Teach them to enjoy and respect the water, rather than fear it. When they're ready for swim lessons, try starting with classes with low student-teacher ratios, such as private or semi-private lessons. You can also enroll in an Angelfish class with your child to help them adjust to the water in a more familiar environment. Here at the Gnarly Gnarwhals Swim School, we prioritize comfort and safety in the water, and want both you and your child to enjoy lessons with us. 

How long will it take for my child to learn to swim?

Children vary greatly in learning capabilities and motor skills. Repetition, patience and persistence are key factors in learning swim skills and gaining comfort in the water. Every child will be given individual instruction at their own pace. As a general rule, children get better at swimming as they age and get stronger, especially if they regularly attend swim lessons or swim practices. 

If my child misses a lesson, can they have a make-up lesson?

Our pool is scheduled to maximize community and Cuesta College student usage; we are unable to offer make-up lessons for unplanned absences. Class sizes are set so that each child may receive maximal individual attention, therefore, we do not allow students to switch or make up a missed lesson in another class. We may reschedule or prorate lessons if they are cancelled for College programs. 

Additional notes

  • First and second choices are required on your registration form
  • Please check the class descriptions carefully. If your child is enrolled in the wrong level, you are not guaranteed a spot in a different level. The Aquatics Lead will attempt to re-schedule your child however all other classes may already be full.
  • Early registration is advised especially if you are trying to coordinate multiple children at the same time. These classes fill-up quickly. Registration is processed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Registration for each session closes at 2pm on the Wednesday before the session begins.
  • Walk-In registration is accepted at the pool for current sessions only.  However, there are no guarantees. The class you request may already be full and/or cancelled due to low enrollment.
  • Swim Diapers are required for all children 3 years and younger or any child who is not potty-trained. Due to Health Department regulations, diaper changes are not allowed on the pool deck. Please use the locker rooms or restrooms on campus prior to arriving on the deck.