Teaching the science of swimming since 2003!


Welcome to PhD Swim School Survival class information page, here you will find all the answers to your questions about our Survival swim classes.

Survival classes often fill from our wait list.

To get on the survival class wait list please register with us. During registration click the Select Classes button near the bottom of the page and scroll to the Survival subheader. Select the “2021 Survival Wait List” to be placed on the wait list and be notified of future class openings. If you already have an account with us you can wait list from the Parent Portal Select Classes button. Be sure to have show waitlists toggled on!

Survival Class Program Information:

  • 1 student per class (Private/one-on-one)
  • Crawling infant through adult
  • This class is designed to teach independent swimming and survival skills to toddlers and young children and even adults. 
  • ​Pre-walking infants will learn to roll into a survival back float fully clothed.
  • Toddlers who can walk well unassisted will learn a "swim-float-swim" sequence.
  • Lessons are 15 minutes a day, one-on-one, three days per week.  To graduate from this program, children will complete a simulated drowning scenario fully clothed. 
  • After being gently introduced to the water and learning to hold their breath, children will learn to float on their backs to rest and breathe in the event of an aquatic accident. 
  • They will also learn to swim a short distance (depending on age) in between back floats to reach a safe destination.
  • For adult survival classes please email phdswimfrontdesk@gmail.com

Survival Swim Program

Do they actually learn to swim?
Yes, and quickly!  Your (walking) child will learn to swim a short distance to a destination very early in the program.  Babies who are not yet walking well will learn to float independently.

What if my child can't put their face in the water?
Breath control is a skill; submerging the head is not.  All students will begin with learning how to hold their breath, and all students will submerge their head starting on Day 1.  Please be aware and prepared for this!  

Why shorter classes?

Young children learn better in shorter classes spread out over many days.  It is simply not possible to teach these complex skills in longer, weekly lessons.  After your child graduates from Survival they can move to weekly classes.

Will my child cry?

Probably at first!  It is normal for young children to cry when learning difficult new skills without their parents.  Please prepare for this and be ready to have a positive attitude and trust your child's teacher.  Your child will take their emotional cues from you, and if you are uncomfortable they will become more upset.  The best way to respond to negative behavior is to focus instead on the skills they are learning.  Try:  "Great job kicking!" instead of "It's okay, don't cry!"  Once they are skilled, many students are so happy to swim all by themselves that they cry when it's time to get out of the pool!

What if my child doesn't like the lessons?  Should I stop?

Please do not begin our program unless you understand that you will probably see crying/fussing at first.  We do everything we can to make learning to swim an enjoyable experience for your child.  Many children take a few weeks to work through their feelings about the water.  It is a new environment where they are being asked to work very hard without Mom or Dad.  Your teacher is always happy to talk through suggestions and address your concerns, but taking your child out of lessons prematurely will cause them to fear the water, which we do not want for any child!  Some amount of resistance is to be expected during the learning process.  Please remember that it is not learning how to swim that's fun, but knowing how to swim that's fun.  Just ask our grads; they LOVE to swim!

Do you use floaties?  Can I use them?  What about goggles?
We do not use any flotation devices in our school and recommend that you do not use them at home.  Flotation devices give children a false sense of security and teach them to swim vertically in the water.  If your child has used one, your lessons may take longer because they must unlearn incorrect postures before we can teach them correct ones.  Goggles may be used in Stroke classes but are not allowed in Survival.  A child who falls in unexpectedly will probably not be wearing goggles and must be able to open their eyes and swim without them.

Does my child need additional lessons? 
Yes!  Your child will not forget their new skills, but they will outgrow them.  Children grow rapidly in the first 6 years of life, causing their center of gravity to shift, and their float they learned months ago may no longer work for them.  They will also 'forget' their confidence and love of swimming if they do not practice.  For this reason we strongly recommend our weekly maintenance level classes where your child will prepare to learn formal competitive strokes and strengthen their swim-float-swim.  Children who do weekly classes do not need refreshers and will not 'forget' their confidence in the water!  If you must 'take a break,' please do not take more than 2 sessions (4 months) off from weekly classes.  Your child's skills and confidence will suffer!  We promise you will be thrilled with the progress your child makes in our fun, weekly classes.

What is Survival swim class?
This is a water survival program designed to teach independent swimming and
self-rescue skills to infants, toddlers and young children.  We begin by gently introducing your child to the water and then focus on teaching them to attain and maintain a back float from any fall-in situation.  Older children also learn to swim a short distance between back floats to reach a safe location.  At the end of the course, your child will practice their skills in clothing and shoes to simulate a real water accident.  You will also learn how to work with them yourself to maintain their skills and safely enjoy the water together.