Lifesaving Society Swim For Life Program

Recently, the Red Cross decided to discontinue their program support for swim lessons. As a result, The City of Red Deer began providing lessons under the support of the Lifesaving Society Swim for Life plan in January of 2023.
Swim for life graphic

How does this affect you, the swimmer?

The Swim for Life program includes different milestones and requires different skills in order for the successful completion of each level.

The Swim for Life program offers many different options, we invite you to explore this page to understand the new offerings.

Swim Transfer Chart thumbnail imageDownload the Swim Transfer Chart (pdf)

What’s New?

The Swim for Life program includes changes to the current Preschool Swim, Swim Kids and Lifesaving programs as you will see below. Additional offerings now include SwimAbilities, Adult Swimmer and Fitness Swimmer profiles. We encourage you to review each item carefully to determine where your child should be placed. The Swim Transfer Chart (pdf) will also help point you in the right direction.

Content below is taken from the Lifesaving Society Swim For Life page.

SwimAbilities® – Adapted Swim

SwimAbilities® is a learn to swim program geared for children with special needs. SwimAbilities® provides lessons where the caregiver is in the water to provide one-on-one focus while being under the direction of a certified instructor. SwimAbilities® assists children and their caregivers to increase safety, independence, and enjoyment in and around the water. Children may begin SwimAbilities® at any level and may continue into other swim programs if they are comfortable doing so.

Every child who does not yet fit into regular lessons is welcome in SwimAbilities®, regardless of whether or not they have a diagnosis.

Recommended ages: 3-16 years old

Who would benefit?

  • Children who need or would benefit from:
    • A slower paced lesson with additional practice time
    • Basic learn-to-swim instruction
    • Additional support learning swimming routines and/or public swimming routines
    • Additional one-on-one safety supervision
  • Parents or Aides who are in the water with the child, will also benefit from learning:
    • Techniques to support the child in learning and performing the swimming skills
    • Routines that are the same or similar to routines found during public swim
Parent and Tot

The Parent & Tot Program structures in-water interaction between parent/caregiver and child to stress the importance of play in developing water-positive attitudes and skills.

Recommended ages: 4 months - 3 years.

To see the skills taught in the Parent & Tot Program view the At-A-Glance Parent & Tot Program Chart found on p.11 of the Swim for Life Program Guide.


The Preschool Program works to ensure children become comfortable in the water and have fun developing a foundation of water skills.

Recommended ages: 3-5 years old

To see the skills taught in the Preschool Program view the At-A-Glance Preschool Program Chart found on p.12 of the Swim for Life Program Guide.

Swimmer (Formerly Swim Kids)

The Swimmer Program uses in-water practice for swimmers of any ability to develop swimming strokes and skills.

Recommended ages: 5-12 years old

To see the skills taught in the Swimmer Program view the At-A-Glance Swimmer Program Chart found on p.14 of the Swim for Life Program Guide.

Next Steps: Canadian Swim Patrol (Rookie, Ranger, Star), Junior Lifeguard Club, or Bronze Star/Medallion.

Adult Swimmer

The Adult Swimmer Program is for beginners or swimmers who want to improve their skills. Within the Adult Swimmer curriculum, participants set their own goals to develop water confidence and recognizable strokes.

To see the skills taught in the Adult Swimmer Program view the At-A-Glance Adult Swimmer Program Chart found on p.16 of the Swim for Life Program Guide.

Next Steps: Take our Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross and National Lifeguard programs to become a National Lifeguard, or become a Swim and/or Lifesaving Instructor.

Fitness Swimmer

The Fitness Swimmer Program is for swimmers of any age who want to improve their overall physical fitness in the water. Fitness Swimmer provides a structured approach to improve physical fitness based on accepted training principles and practices.

To see the skills taught in the Fitness Swimmer Program view the At-A-Glance Fitness Program Chart found on p.17 of the Swim for Life Program Guide.

Canadian Swim Patrol

The Canadian Swim Patrol program is the on-ramp to lifeguarding. Ability is the only prerequisite.

The Swim Patrol provides enriched training for those who are ready to go beyond learn-to-swim. Swim Patrol's three levels - Rookie, Ranger, and Star - continue to develop participants' swim strokes and provide the skill foundation that prepares them for success in the Society's Bronze medal awards.

Lifesaving Courses and National Lifeguard

More information on Lifesaving courses and the National Lifeguard certification can be found on the Become a Lifeguard page.


Don’t remember what Red Cross Swim level you completed last? Contact our Recreation team at 403-309-8411.