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Two swimmers floating in the pool.

Swim Lessons Overview

OVERVIEW: Swim lessons can save a life, build a child’s confidence, and introduce little ones to a lifelong habit of exercise. Our instructors are carefully selected and trained, and our curriculum is expertly planned by our team of experienced managers. Whether your child is fearful of the water or just wants to perfect a particular stroke, we have the right class for you!

Our highest priority is to provide all swim lesson participants with a safe and comfortable place to learn swimming skills that are appropriate for their needs and abilities. We ask that you choose the lesson level that best fits your child. The suggested ages listed are designed to serve as a guide but should not be the main determinant in selecting a class for your child.

WEATHER: In case of inclement weather, make-up days are on Fridays for weekday sessions, and on August 6 for Sunday morning sessions. If the number of rain days exceeds the number of make-up days, we will not offer refunds for the remaining days.

INSTRUCTIONS: To register, please review the class descriptions and choose the class you think your child is ready for. Once you have chosen the class, please see the available times for the class. Note that if the class is full when you go to register, please add your child to the wait list. Depending on registrations for the time slot you want to choose, we may be able to offer your child a spot in a class.

Swim Lessons


Ages 6 months-2 years with a parent
This class is an introduction to water safety and basic water skills for both parent and child. It is not a swim lesson, but rather a class designed to assist your child to get more comfortable in the water. This class is meant to allow the child to explore the water in a supervised and fun environment with the guidance of the instructor and parent.

Fee (R/NR): $51/$76
No Class: July 2


Ages 2-4 with a parent
The objective of this class is to help students feel comfortable in the water while a parent is at their side. Students will learn elementary water skills that they can build on as they progress through the various swim levels. We introduce the WaterSmart Rules that are encouraged by Sophie the Safety Seal — our very own mascot for the Jeff Ellis Swimming Program.

Fee (R/NR): $51/$76
No Class: July 2


Ages 3-5
The purpose of this class is to help students feel comfortable in the water without the presence of the parent. Students will learn elementary water skills that they can build on as they progress through the various swim levels. Preschool skills include blowing bubbles, bobbing under water fully, front and back floats for 10 seconds (face in the water with front floats).

Fee (R/NR): $55/$82
No Class: July 2


Ages 5-11
The Beginner class builds on water skills previously learned (bubbles, bobs, front and back floats) and teaches students elementary backstroke, front crawl, and backstroke. Students must be comfortable putting their face in the water for this level.

Fee (R/NR): $64/$96
No Class: July 2


Ages 6-12
The Advanced Beginner class introduces breaststroke and side breathing with freestyle. Students should be comfortable with swimming 25 feet of elementary backstroke, front crawl, and backstroke. Students must be comfortable swimming with their face in the water.

Fee (R/NR): $64/$96
No Class: July 2


Ages 6-14
The Intermediate class strengthens students’ coordination of keystrokes. This class requires swimming the length of the pool which limits availability. Students should be able to swim the length of the pool for front crawl with rhythmically breathing, backstroke, breaststroke, and elementary backstroke. We introduce the sidestroke, butterfly and the act of treading water at this level. Students must be comfortable swimming with their face in the water. More advanced swimmers will look to improve power and smoothness over greater distances.

Fee (R/NR): $64/$96
No Class: July 2


Ages 15+
Basic swimming and self-rescue skills are taught in an environment that is within your comfort zone. The class size is designed ton be small so that every swimmer gets the attention needed to achieve swimming goals.

Fee (R/NR): $64/$96
No Class: July 2


Looking for a more personalized approach or more flexible scheduling for swim lessons? Our private swim lesson program offers one-on-one or small group lessons that are tailored to meet your personal needs. All lessons are 30 minutes and are available by appointment only. For more information or to schedule your lessons, please email ryan.hays@champaignparks.org starting May 15. Lessons must be paid at time of lesson

Fee (R/NR) per swimmer

  • Private (1) $31/$46
  • Semi-Private (2) $22/$33
  • Semi-Private (3) $18/$27

Date: June 5 – August 3

SAVE THE DATE | Swim Lessons Graduation Pool Party

To congratulate you on graduating your swim lessons, we are throwing a party! Come out and enjoy all that Sholem Aquatic Center has to offer and show off your new swimming skills. This graduation party is for Swim Lesson participants and one guest per household. Best part….it is FREE! Let us show you how much we appreciate you as a Sholem swim lesson participant.

Date: Friday, August 11, 2023
Time: 8-10:45a
Questions: ryan.hays@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3985

More Aquatics Programs


Ages 0–5 with parent/guardian
One of Champaign-Urbana’s “best kept secrets,” Tiny Tots Splash Time provides a wonderful opportunity for you to spend some quality water play time with your little one before the afternoon rush. Only the kiddie pool will be available for Tiny Tots. This is a paid activity and is not part of swim lessons or swim team.

*Siblings 1-2 years older are welcome to join. However, the other pools and slides will not be open for public use at the program’s allocated time. Tiny Tot Splash Time gives priority to children 0-5 years old with parent/guardian due to the size of the area and for the safety of our tiny tots.

Date: Daily, June 3-August 13, 2023*
Time: 8-10:45a
No Program: June 24, July 4, July 7, July 8, July 15, July 28*
Location: Sholem Aquatic Center
Fee (R/NR): $5/$7.50 per person or FREE for pool pass holders! Children ages 3 and under are free with a paying adult.
Questions: ryan.hays@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3985


Ages 15+
Get some fresh air while getting in shape! This guided class will help to increase your energy, flexibility, strength, and circulation. All water aerobics classes at Sholem Pool are arthritis, back pain, and Fibromyalgia-friendly. Swimming skills are not required. Participants must attend only the class/section for which they registered.


Date | Day | Time | Fee (R/NR)

  • June 5 – July 7* | M/W/F | 10:30-11:15a | $89/$129
  • July 10 – August 9* | M/W/F | 10:30-11:15a | $89/$129
  • June 6 – July 6* | Tu/Th | 6:45-7:30p | $66/$99
  • July 11 – August 10 | Tu/Th | 6:45-7:30p | $66/$99


Date | Day | Time | Fee (R/NR) 

  • June 4 – August 13* | Sa | 10-10:45a | $53/$79

No Class*: July 4, July 7, July 8, July 15, July 28
Location: Sholem Aquatic Center
Instructor: Jo Rodriguez
Questions: ryan.hays@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3985


Whether you’re looking to get fit, improve your mood, or enjoy one of the simple pleasures of summer – lap swimming is just what the doctor ordered. Lap swimmers do not share the lanes with swim team or any other groups – so feel free to stretch out and Carpe Piscinam: Seize the Pool! For those who can’t attend Lap Swim, lap lanes are protected during most open swim hours with some exceptions on weekends and holidays. Feel free to call ahead to check on lane availability.

Date | Day | Time:

  • June 5 – August 11* | M-F | 6:30-7:30a and 6:45-8p
  • June 3 – August 13* | Sa & Su | 8-10:45a and 7:15-8p

No Lap Swim*: June 16 (pm), June 24 (all day), July 8 (am), July 14 (pm), July 15 (all day), August 1 (pm)
Fee (R/NR): $5/$7.50 or free with season pass
Location: Sholem Aquatic Center
Questions: ryan.hays@champaignparks. org or 217-819-3985


All Ages
Here’s a fun way to work towards better health and fitness with low impact water running/walking in Sholem’s Lazy River. We will have the river current turned on and flowing. All walking/running will be against the current for added resistance. This is a self-guided/self-paced program. Feel free to bring your water weights for a more intense workout. All we ask is that all participating be respectful of those around them (no swimming, playing with toys, splashing, etc.). Enjoy this WET (in the water) opportunity to walk/run your way to better health and fitness. Water shoes are highly recommended for better traction in the river, but not required.

Date | Day | Time 

June 3-August 13* | Daily | 8-10:45a
June 5 – August 11** | M-F | 6:45-8p
June 3-August 13*** | Sa/Su | 7:15-8p

No Program*: (June 24, July 7, July 8, July 15, July 28)*, (June 16, July 14)**, (June 24, July 15, August 12)***
Fee (R/NR): $5/$7.50 per person or FREE for pool pass holders.
Questions: ryan.hays@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3985


Ages 12-14
The primary purpose of the Junior Lifeguard Academy is to increase participants’ self-confidence, physical conditioning, and safety awareness by providing a thorough introduction to water safety, first aid, and aquatic rescue techniques. All Junior Lifeguard Academy instructors are veteran members of our award-winning lifeguard team, well-versed in water safety, and passionate about teaching and mentoring young people. The goal of this program is to provide participants with the skills necessary to apply for lifeguarding positions with the Champaign Park District after they turn 15. Participants must be able to swim 25 yards comfortably in a reasonable amount of time and should also have an interest in learning about aquatic rescue techniques.

Successful completion will qualify participant for an expedited hiring process after turning 15.

Date: July 10 – July 21
Days: Monday-Friday
Time: 9:30-11:30a
Fee (R/NR): $45/$67.50
Deadline: July 2, 2023
Location: Sholem Aquatic Center
Min/Max: 6/30
Questions: ryan.hays@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3985


Ages 0-22 with parent or guardian
Enjoy a day of family fun and sensory friendly swimming at Sholem Aquatic Center! Please see CUSR’s program guide or visit www.cuspecialrecreation.org or call the CUSR Center at 217-819-3980 for more information.

Date: July 7, July 28
Time: 9:30-11:15a (pool is closed to the public during this event)
Location: Sholem Aquatic Center

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