The YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin values the importance of water safety education, exercise and fun. We are proud to be an Affiliate Member in providing the Lifesaving Society’s Swim for Life®, Lifesaving training and Advanced Aquatic Leadership programs.  Targeted Water Smart® drowning prevention messages are an integral part of the Swim for Life® program.

Swim for Life Lifesaving Society
Lifesaving Society logo

Fall, Winter and Spring Sessions of Aquatic Programs are offered in Aylmer, where local indoor pool facility access is possible, including at the Ontario Police College.  Summer sessions are offered at the Town of Aylmer Outdoor Pool.

Check out the current YWCA Aquatic Program Schedule & Guide including information about available programs, lessons, times, dates and registration information.

Registration must be completed in advance online, by phone, or in person during regular business hours. 


Aquatics Program Guide_Winter 2024

If financial assistance is required to join in, please contact us.  We are happy to help determine available options for support.

Financial assistance may be available for children ages 4-18 years of age through Jump Start Individual Child Grants, subject to eligibility criteria. For more information or to complete an application, please visit: Jump Start.

*Please note Jump Start will require proof of swimming schedule and prices to apply.


Learn more about the Lifesaving Society’s Swim for Life® Program to help you decide what level to register in!

Swim for Life Registration Chart

Programs at a Glance

*Please check our current program schedule for a list of programs being offered. Not all programs listed below are available all seasons.

Parent & Tot: structures in-water interaction between parent and child to stress the importance of play in developing water-positive attitudes and skills. Activities and progressions are based on child development, so parents register in the level appropriate for their child’s age from 4 months-3 years.

Preschool: gives children a head start on learning to swim. Preschool programs develop an appreciation and healthy respect for the water.  In our five basic aquatic progressions we work to ensure 3 to 5-year-olds become comfortable in the water and have fun developing a foundation of water skills.

Swimmer: makes sure children learn how to swim before they get in too deep. Progressions accommodate 5 to 12-year-olds including beginners and swimmers who want to build on the basics. Lots of in-water practice develops solid swimming strokes and skills.

Adult Swimmer: for beginners who may be just starting out or swimmers who just want help with their strokes. Within the Adult Swimmer curriculum, participants set their own goals to develop water confidence and smooth recognizable strokes.  Ages 16+

Fitness Swimmer: for swimmers of any age who want to improve their overall physical fitness in the water.  Fitness Swimmer provides a structured approach based on accepted training principles and practices including interval training, sprints, and distance swims.  Candidates set their own goals to improve overall physical fitness.

Lifesaving Society Bronze Medal Awards and National Lifeguard

The 3 Lifesaving Society Bronze Medal Awards are designed for swimmers between 8 – 15 years of age.  The Lifesaving Society deems its certifications to be “current” for 24 months from the certification date.

Bronze Star (10 hr.): develops swimming proficiency, lifesaving skill and personal fitness. Candidates refine their stroke mechanics, acquire self-rescue skills, and apply fitness principles in training workouts. Bronze Star is excellent preparation for success in Bronze Medallion and provides a fun introduction to lifesaving sport. Prerequisite: None (Swim Patrol experience recommended – Swimmer 7/8/9 (Rookie/Ranger/Star.))

Bronze Medallion & Emergency First Aid (20hr): challenges the candidate both mentally and physically. Judgment, knowledge, skill, and fitness – the four components of water rescue – form the basis of Bronze Medallion training. Candidates acquire the assessment and problem-solving skills needed to make good decisions in, on, and around the water. Bronze Medallion is a prerequisite for assistant lifeguard training in Bronze Cross.  Note: Candidates must be able to swim 400 metres within 12 minutes. Prerequisite: Minimum 13 years of age or Bronze Star certification (need not be current). Emergency First Aid is for people who want a general knowledge of first aid principles and the emergency treatment of injuries. Skills include: victim assessment, CPR, choking and what to do for external bleeding, heart attack, stroke wounds and burns. Includes CPR-B certification. Recognized by Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Insurance Board.

Bronze Cross (20 hr.): begins the transition from lifesaving to lifeguarding and prepares candidates for responsibilities as assistant lifeguards. Candidates strengthen and expand their lifesaving skills and begin to apply the principles and techniques of active surveillance in aquatic facilities. Bronze Cross emphasizes the importance of teamwork and communication in preventing and responding to aquatic emergencies. Bronze Cross is a prerequisite for advanced training in the Society’s National Lifeguard and leadership certification programs. Note: Candidates must be able to swim 400 metres within 11 minutes. Prerequisites: Bronze Medallion & Emergency or Standard First Aid

Standard First Aid & CPR: provides comprehensive training covering all aspects of first aid and CPR. Standard First Aid incorporates all of Emergency First Aid and is designed for those who require a more in-depth understanding of first aid including: legal implications of first aid treatment, spinal injuries, heat or cold injuries, bone and joint injuries, chest injuries, and medical emergencies. Includes CPR-C certification. Prerequisites: None

National Lifeguard: National Lifeguard is a legal certificate for lifeguarding throughout the country and is recognized by the province of Ontario for lifeguarding public swimming pools. Prerequisites: Age 15, Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid & CPR C.


Lifesaving Society Aquatic Leadership Training

The Lifesaving Society leadership training system is a multi-level, competency-based system designed to encourage and support the development of progressively skilled and knowledgeable Lifesaving Society instructors – at all levels.

Leadership courses have prerequisite awards, which must be completed prior to attempting the course. There is no grace period for age prerequisites: candidates must be the required minimum age prior to the conclusion of the course.

Assistant Swim Instructor: Through classroom learning and in-water practice, the Lifesaving Society Assistant Instructor course prepares candidates to help instructors with swimming and lifesaving classes. Candidates are introduced to key principles of learning and teaching while they master basic progressions. The roles and responsibilities of instructors and their assistants are emphasized. Prerequisites: Age 14 and Bronze Cross

Swim Instructor: prepares the instructor to teach and evaluate the swimming strokes and related skills found in the Lifesaving Society Swim for Life program. Candidates acquire proven teaching methods, planning skills, and a variety of stroke development drills and correction techniques. Prerequisites: Age 15 and Bronze Cross or National Lifeguard.

Lifesaving Instructor: prepares instructors to teach the Lifesaving Society’s: Canadian Swim Patrol Program. Bronze Star, Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, Lifesaving Fitness, Distinction, Basic and Emergency First Aid, and CPR-A, CPR-B and CPR-C.  Prerequisites: 15 years of age by the end of the course; Bronze Cross certification (need not be current).

We are here to help

Use the form below or call our Aylmer Office at (226) 210-6800 or call our Main Office at (519) 631-9800 for more information. 

Please note inquiries will be reviewed within 2-3 business days.

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