How to Finally Learn to Swim in NYC


I think it’s safe to say that every parent wants their child to learn how to swim. But really – how do you DO that? We’ve tried a couple classes here and there since Max was born, and I remember vaguely going to classes as a child myself. They weren’t so nice back then and I still remember jumping in when they said they would catch me and I went under. But as I watch Max do the same thing now, I realize, it’s really how you have to learn – just jump in! But…where?

DSC04172Swimming lessons in NYC aren’t easy to find. There aren’t a lot of pools, and there is a lottery to get into the free ones at the outdoor city parks pools. We actually HAVE a pool in our building, but trying to pull together a few kids in the building to learn together with a teacher proved unsuccessful and having one-on-one lessons was almost more than our rent every month. So when Goldfish Swim School approached me, I thought it was totally meant to be. Only catch – they’re in Garden City, which is about a 20 min drive outside of Manhattan (no traffic). Since Maximo’s dad lives close to there I thought that this could be an adventure we could all embark together. Would it work? Would Max learn? Would he even like it??? 

Let’s dive in.

Goldfish Swim School: The Basics


Classes are 30 minutes each. This is general everywhere I have looked (which was a big deterrent in the city since it would take a two-hour commute to the Upper East Side for a 30 min class). You don’t wear swimmies, but you need goggles and a towel. That’s it. Parents watch from behind the glass to be “separated” enough for the kids to listen to the instructors while the parents still get to watch with a close eye (which is great for everyone).


Typically Max is by himself in a lane or has two other classmates. There is no overcrowding, and since there are two teachers, he always has a lot of one-on-one time during his lesson. They allow you to come into the pool at the end of the session, and they give you a little update on what to work on for next week. 


Goldfish Swim School has multiple changing stations in the venue, so you can easily jump in and jump out of your suits. There are showers and even a cute station to dry your hair, etc. (sort of like those fancy boutique fitness venues in the city). 

FAVORITE THING: Goldfish Swim School will allow you to cancel/reschedule your lesson with at least 24 hour notice with no penalties! This has been a saving grace over the summer when we need to travel. We have just told them we need to move to another day, and they simply fill us in with another open time slot that week. The staff is always super friendly when I call them (big sell for me!), and I appreciate the flexibility. 

What’s Happened in Four Weeks:

DSC04226Max is swimming on his own! It’s not perfect, but he is definitely swimming from platform to platform without help. We use our own pool during the week to practice, and this kid has no fear. He jumps right in and swims to me with no swimmies on. While he’s still hesitant to completely swim without them (he’ll wear them if we have friends over to play and definitely still when we jump into a lake or ocean!), but to see him really trying and bobbing above water is a huge advancement in only four 30-minute classes. 

At first, Max was afraid to float on his back, now it’s one of his favorite things to do.

Two More Months To Go:

What will we expect? Not exactly sure, so watch for a follow-up again in four more weeks to see the progression. One worry I do have is – what happens when the swimming lessons are over? And it’s winter? Will they remember how to swim come summer? Is it like riding a bike?

I guess we will all have to wait and see – the suspense is killing us all!

Questions for Goldfish Swim School

If you have any questions like mine above, share below and I will be sure to ask them and get the answers for next month!

Pricing and Availability

Goldfish Swim School has a full listing of prices, including discounts for multiple children enrolled. Most classes are only once a week, but if someone was interested in swimming two days a week, it would be the same cost as adding a second child, which is a 7% discount. 
You can learn more (as well as see their multiple locations!) here:
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Goldfish Swim School. All opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting Football Food and Motherhood!
By | 2017-11-18T07:06:25+00:00 August 23rd, 2017|activities, Brand collaboration, classes, Favorite Things, Kid Friendly New York City, Motherhood, things to do|Comments Off on How to Finally Learn to Swim in NYC

About the Author:

Stephanie Barnhart is an award-winning blogger, columnist, and outdoor enthusiast writer featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and other media outlets. She is also the NYC Editor for