Aquatics Programs

Year-Round Programs Summer Programs Training
Fitness Classes Learn-to-Swim Programs Junior Lifeguard/Water Safety Aid
Lap Swimming Competitive Swim Team Lifeguard Training
Recreational Swimming Special Olympic Swim Team Water Safety Instructor (WSI)
  Synchronized Swimming  
Employment and Volunteer Opportunities Additional Information
Junior Lifeguard/Water Safety Aid Volunteers Pools and Splash Pads
Summer Lifeguard Employment Aquatics Rates and Fees
  Pool and Splash Pad Rules
  Water Safety

Aquatics Programs

Tucson Parks and Recreation offers a wide variety of aquatic programming for children and adults year round such as recreational swimming, water fitness classes, arthritis classes, swim and diving lessons, and competitive and synchronized swim leagues. In addition, Tucson Parks and Recreation offers Junior Lifeguard/Water Safety Aid, Lifeguard Training, and Water Safety Aid classes. For more information about these classes, call (520) 791-4245 or see the Aquatics or Adaptive Aquatics program listings in the current Activity Guide or on

Year-Round Programs

The heated pools at the Edith Ball Adaptive Recreation Center (ARC), Catalina, Clements, and Sunnyside remain open on a year-round basis, offering a variety of classes.

Fitness Classes

Year-round pools offer a variety of fitness classes for adults and children. Offerings include shallow and deep-water fitness classes designed to improve strength, stamina and stability led by certified instructors for ages 17 and up; fitness classes for children; and classes to teach the basics of lap swimming. In addition, the Edith Ball Adaptive Recreation Center (ARC) (791-5643) conducts a year-round program of adaptive aquatics of all ages and disabilities.

Lap Swimming

Lap swimming is offered on a daily basis at all year-round pools during scheduled times.

Recreational Swimming

Recreational swimming is offered on a daily basis at all year-round pools during scheduled times.

American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim Programs

American Red Cross swimming lessons are offered at all City of Tucson pools. Lessons are offered in four, 2-week sessions during June and July. Schedules vary from pool to pool. Classes are scheduled in response to demand, with an emphasis on classes for the youngest children. Registration is conducted at each pool by a selection process.

  • Parent and Child Classes: For ages 6 Months to 3 Years - Parents are taught to safely work with their children in the water as they learn the skills to help prepare them to learn how to swim. In-water participation by parent or other care-giving adult is required for each child. Children almost 4 years old who complete Parent-Child Lessons may advance to Preschool Lessons with instructor recommendation.
  • Preschool Classes: For ages about 4 or 5 Years - Classes of approximately 6 children work with an instructor as they learn to safely enter and exit the water, make progress through the water using arms and legs, and float and recover. All skills are performed with instructor support. Parents observe from an area away from poolside. Children who are nearly 6 and complete Preschool Lessons may advance to Learn-to-Swim Level 2 or 3 Classes with instructor recommendation.
  • Summer Swim Lessons: For Children about 6 Years and Older
    • Level 1: Introduction to Water Skills - Children who have not completed Preschool Classes learn to safely enter and exit the water, make progress through the water using arms and legs, and float and recover. All skills are performed with instructor support.
    • Level 2: Fundamental Aquatic Skills - Children perform Level 1 skills, swimming several body lengths without instructor support.
    • Level 3: Stroke Development - Children learn the front crawl and elementary backstroke, swimming each 15 yards, and are introduced to the scissors and dolphin kicks and treading water.
    • Level 4: Stroke Improvement - Swimmers practice front crawl and elementary backstroke and are introduced to sidestroke, back crawl, breaststroke, butterfly, and turning at the wall.
    • Level 5: Stroke Refinement - Swimmers practice front crawl, back crawl, butterfly, breaststroke, elementary backstroke, and sidestroke over increasing distances and are introduced to flip turns.
    • Level 6: Advanced Classes -Specialty classes in Swimming and Skill Proficiency, Personal Water Safety, Fundamentals of Diving, or Fitness. Area of focus determined by Pool Supervisor.

Competitive Swim Team

An introductory competitive swimming program is offered at designated pools for swimmers ages 4-17. Swimmers learn competitive strokes and techniques in daily practices and participate in a series of evening swim meets, culminating in a championship meet in July. Because the program is introductory, it is available to swimmers who have not participated in more advanced programs such as SAAA and USA Swimming. Swimmers must, however, be able to swim 25 yards of a recognizable stroke without stopping on the first day of practice.

Registration for the summer swim team is conducted by selection process at the swimming pool hosting the swim team.

Special Olympic Swim Team

Call the Edith Ball Adaptive Recreation Center (ARC) at 791-5643 for more information.

Synchronized Swimming

A competitive synchronized swim team program is offered at designated pools for beginning and intermediate level synchronized swimmers for ages 6-17. Swimmers learn synchronized swimming skills in daily practices and prepare a routine for competition in a citywide meet in July. Participants must have basic water skills such as basic swimming strokes and breath control.

Registration for the summer synchronized swim team is conducted at the swimming pool hosting the team.


Online applications for summer employment are available online during the first week of December.
Please consult the current Activity Guide or for deadlines and class schedules.
For more information about these training classes, please contact Registration Services at 791-4877.

Junior Lifeguard/Water Safety Aid Training

Taught over a period of four weeks beginning in April, this course for ages 13 to 15 teaches swimming, water safety and emergency skills, along with basic rescue and leadership skills. Graduates become eligible to participate in the summer Jr. Lifeguard / Water Safety Aide Volunteer Program.  Participants must attend all training classes in order to graduate.  Recommended for teens with intermediate or advanced swim skills.  Participants must be able to swim 100 yards or a recognizable stroke and swim underwater for 30 feet.  Swim test will be administered the first day of class.  This training class is separate from the Volunteer Program.

Lifeguard Training

Swim test will be administered at first class. Trainee must be at least 15 years old before first class. Training includes: American Red Cross CPR for the Professional Rescuer Certification and First Aid Basics. Must attend all designated classes to complete course.  Must be able to swim 300 yards with at least 100 yards of breaststroke and front crawl and be able to swim 20 yards and retrieve a 10-pound brick from 7 to 10 feet of water.  CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and First Aid Basics certifications are required.

Water Safety Instructor (WSI)

You must have WSI certification to teach swim lessons.  Trainees must be 16 years old before the first class. Stroke and swim skills tested in the first and second class. Trainees should be proficient in the following strokes: Front Crawl, Back Crawl, Breaststroke, Sidestroke, and Elementary Backstroke; basic knowledge of Butterfly is also helpful.  CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and First Aid Basics certifications are required.

Lifeguard Training and Water Safety Instructor classes conducted at selected City of Tucson pools certify many of these lifeguards and instructors as well as lifeguards and instructors seeking employment. For questions about training or employment, call 791-4245 or 791-5352.

Employment and Volunteer Opportunities

Junior Lifeguard/Water Safety Aide Volunteers

This program provides volunteer opportunities for teens ages 13-15 at city-wide pools. Participants gain valuable work experience and leadership skills. The volunteer’s schedule is determined by the site’s needs. All volunteers must have completed the Junior Lifeguard (13 to 15) course. Returning Junior Lifeguards need not repeat the course.

Summer Lifeguard Employment

  • Must be 15 years of age by the start of the summer pool season.
  • Must hold current certifications in American Red Cross Lifeguarding, First Aid, and CPR/AED.  All certificates must be current at the time of the screening.  Bring all certifications to screenings.
  • Bring swimsuit, towel and required certifications.  Also bring W.S.I. certification (if applicable). 
  • Applicant should have knowledge of contact skills, including defenses, approaches, escapes, carries without equipment, ability to turn c-spine victims in deep water, and swim to side 30' without equipment.  Screening consists of rescue skills, swimming, first aid, and CPR in practical and oral interviews. 
  • Attend the City of Tucson Lifeguard Recruitment
  • Complete the on-line application