Lessons

Weekday Lessons Weekend Lessons How to Register Choosing a Level Policies and FAQs Jackrabbit Parent Portal Summer 2024

 

Learning to swim is a critical life skill. It is important for children of all ages to know basic swimming skills and water safety. NOVA runs perhaps the largest “learn-to-swim” program in the Richmond area. Each year, we teach over 6,000 lessons to children age three and up. Our SwimNOVA lessons program has five levels, each focusing on progressively more advanced skills. Our systematic instruction focuses on core body movements, adding skills over time, while our gentle approach that builds confidence in young children. Lessons are taught on weekdays or weekends (weekends are September through May).

Once a swimmer has completed the skills in all of our Level 5 lessons, we offer different programs that one of our coaches will recommend.

NOVA also offers a variety of clinics throughout the year. Our spring clinics (Sunday afternoons from March to May) are organized to help summer league swimmers get in the pool early to work on conditioning and technique.

Whether your child takes lessons to learn to swim with sound skills, or progresses through the program onto our competitive swim team, NOVA instructors and coaches will help him or her develop basic skills, a knowledge of water safety and a love of swimming. We look forward to seeing you in the pool!

Interested in becoming a swim lessons instructor?

SwimNOVA is training and hiring new swim instructors for the Summer 2024.

Interested candidates should reach out to Leslie Wenert at coachleslie@novaswim.org.

 

About Us:

SwimNOVA Lessons Office
12207 Gayton Road.
Richmond, VA 23238

804-754-3401 x 1

In Person Office Hours at Gayton Sept-May: 

M-Th 12:00-5:00 pm

 

 

Weekday Lessons Information

2024 Winter Weekday Schedule:

Classes Resume on Monday, Jan. 8/Tuesday, Jan. 9.

No Lessons March 29-April 7 (Spring Break)

Registration for Summer 2024 will begin in May. Schedule and registration details will be announced following spring break in April.

 

 

Regency Lessons: NOVA Aquatics Center, Regency Mall, 100 NOVA Way

LessonTimeAvailability
Preschoolers (3 and older)/Homeschoolers (Levels 1-5)12:15 pm - 1:00 pmAvailable
Preschoolers (3 and older)/Homeschoolers (Levels 1-5)1:00 pm - 1:45 pmAvailable
Preschoolers (3 and older)/Homeschoolers (Levels 1-5)1:45 pm - 2:30 pmAvailable

Gayton Lessons: 12207 Gayton Road, Richmond VA 23238

LessonTimeAvailability
Elementary age and older only (Levels 2-5 only)2:30 pm - 3:15 pmFULL
Elementary age and older only (Levels 2-5 only)3:15 pm - 4:00 pmFULL
Elementary age and older only (Levels 2-5 only)4:00 pm - 4:45 pmFULL
Elementary age and older only (Levels 2-5 only)4:45 pm - 5:30 pm FULL
Elementary age and older only (Levels 2-5 only)5:30 pm - 6:15 pmFULL
Elementary age and older only (Levels 2-5 only) M/W only6:15 pm - 7:00 pmFULL

Weekday Lessons Pricing

MonthDatesLessons Monthly Price
September9/18-9/28$80
October 10/2-10/31*$180
November11/1-11/30$160
December12/4-12/21*$120
January1/8-1/31$160
February2/1-2/29* $160
March3/4-3/28* $160
April4/6-4/30$140
May5/1-5/23*$140

*Progress reports distributed in your parent portal on 2/28 or 2/29, and 3/27 or 3/28 and 5/22 or 5/23. The end of January & April, you will be notified if your child moves up to the next level.

Weekend Session Schedule @ Gayton:

 

You must register for each Weekend session separately.

Those customers enrolled for March Weekend Session #4 will be contacted the week of March 4 via email to receive priority registration for the Spring Weekend Session #5 (April/May).

Registration for Summer 2024 will begin in May. Schedule and registration details will be announced following spring break in April.

Weekend Schedule – Weekends @ Gayton:

LessonTimePriceAvailability
Fall Weekend Session #1Sept. 23/24, Sept. 30/Oct. 1.
Oct. 7/8, 14/15*.
$160FULL
Fall Weekend Session #2Nov. 11/12, 18/19.
Dec. 9/10, 16/17*.
$160FULL
Winter Weekend Session #3Jan 6/7, 27/28, Feb. 3/4, 10/11*.$160FULL
Winter Weekend Session #4March 2/3, 9/10, 16/17*$120FULL
Spring Weekend Session #5Apr 13/14, 27/28, May 11/12, 18/19*$160##Registration will begin 3/4 to current March weekend participants.

*Progress reports will be provided on Dec. 17, Feb. 11, Mar. 17, May 19 in your parent portal (see "Skills")

Swimmers attend both Saturdays and Sundays:

Levels 1-5 Saturday & Sunday Times
LessonAvailability
10:00 am - 10:45 am##FULL
10:45 am - 11:30am##FULL
11:30 am - 12:15 pm##FULL
12:15 pm - 1:00 pm##FULL
1:00 pm - 1:45 pm##FULL

About us

Email: novalessons@novaswim.org
Lessons Office:
12207 Gayton Road Richmond, Virginia 23238

In Person Office Hours at Gayton Sept-May:

M-Th 12:00 pm-5:00 pm

Phone: 804-754-3401 option #1

 

All families are required to read our SwimNOVA Lessons Policies: click here.

Check out the FAQ section under Lessons & Clinics! A lot of lessons/program questions can be answered

NOVA’s Lessons program is supported by our sponsor:

How to Register


 

CURRENT “ACTIVE” PARTICIPANT REGISTRATION:

  • Participants that have been enrolled and are “active” in our SwimNOVA program from September 2022-August 2023 will receive priority ONLINE registration for 2023 Fall Lessons.
  • NEW! Beginning Tuesday, August 29, 2023 at 9:00 am current “active” participants will be able to register ONLINE in your parent portal.
  • NOTE! Spaces in each class are filled on first-come, first-serve availability until the classes are full or until September 5 whichever comes first. Online registration will close on September 5. New participants will be able to register for any remaining spots beginning September 6.
  • We will not be having in-person registration; therefore, make sure to read “How to Register”, prior to August 29.
  • Click here to read “How to Register”
  • **Lessons office: Phone 804-754-3401 ext 1.
  • **Leave ONE detailed message and your call will be returned in the order received. *Please note that the call volume is very high and leaving multiple messages will delay calls being returned.

Jackrabbit Parent Portal

NEW PARTICIPANT REGISTRATION:

  • New students that have not been enrolled in the SwimNOVA lessons program from September 2022-August 2023 will be able to register for any remaining spaces available starting September 6th by calling the Lessons office.
  • Prior to calling the office:
    • Visit the website to see availability.
    • Visit “Choosing the Correct Level” to determine your child’s level.
  • Contact the NOVA Lessons office: 804-754-3401 ext. 1
    • Leave ONE* detailed message and your call will be returned in the order received.
    • Please note that the call volume is very high and leaving multiple messages will delay calls being returned. Thank you for your patience.
    • If you have been placed on a waitlist, we will notify you when there is an open spot (no need to call multiple times to inquire your waitlist status as that delays calls).
  • Once your child has been enrolled in a class, use the link below to register for a Jackrabbit account.
  • PLEASE DO NOT CLICK THE LINK THE BELOW TO CREATE A JACKRABBIT ACCOUNT UNTIL YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN ASSIGNED A SPACE IN A CLASS BY THE LESSONS OFFICE.

Registration for New Accounts

Choosing The Correct Skill Level


This is a guide highlighting the skills of each level for our lessons program as created by the Lessons Director. Please use the entire skills checklist under each level to determine the appropriate level for your child. NOVA lessons are skill-based. Please consult the lessons director if you have any questions about proper placement for your swimmer. Please note that the levels in other swim programs differ from the SwimNOVA levels.

Swimmers must be 3 years and older and absolutely potty trained (no swim diapers). Some swimmers may benefit from beginning group lessons at 3.5 or 4 years old. Swimmers must be able to follow instructions in a class setting for the safety of the entire class.

Level 1/Preschool:

Swimmers who have never had lessons or are not comfortable doing the skills listed below. No goggles are allowed.

Skills needed to progress to level 2:

  • Gets face / eyes wet unassisted – teach to blink afterwards
  • Blows bubbles (does not hold nose)
  • Submerges head completely underwater willingly* and blows bubbles without an instructor (holding the wall)
  • Willingly* and comfortably floats on back with or without instructor’s help (ears in)
  • Pushes from wall to instructor and instructor to wall on stomach
  • Kicks on kickboard willingly*, but with help – teach proper hand position (straight arms, hands holding top)
  • Kicks on back willingly*, but with help and support (arms at side)
  • Jumps from the side (gutter) of pool to instructor

Level 2/Advanced preschool:

Swimmers who are able to perform Level 1 skills

Skills needed to progress to level 3:

  • Repetitive bubble blowing 5 consecutive times with head entirely submerged (first with instructor, then holding wall)
  • 25 yards proper freestyle kicking on a kickboard without an instructor – no scissor/bicycle kicks
  • 25 yards proper backstroke kick with arms at side without an instructor – again, no scissor/bicycle kicks
  • Streamlines to and from the wall, unassisted – face in with bubbles, kicking and proper arms
  • Retrieves object 3 feet underwater with bubbles
  • Jumps from side, surfaces and kicks on back to instructor the width of 2 lanes

Level 3:

Swimmers who are able to perform Level 2 skills.

Skills needed to progress to level 4:

  • 25 yards rifle drill backstroke unassisted
  • 25 yards each: kicking on left and right side with an extended arm (freestyle breathing position) unassisted
  • 25 yards L and R side extended arm kicking with rotational breathing (rolling from side to stomach 6 kicks each with stationary arms and bubbles and then back to the breathing position)
  • Retrieves object from pool bottom
  • Proper breathing; inhaling through mouth, exhaling through nose
  • Jumps from starting block unassisted and kicks on back to the instructor
  • Jumps from starting block unassisted and streamlines to instructor then back to the wall

Level 4:

Swimmers who are able to perform Levels 2 and 3 skills.

Skills needed to progress to level 5:

  • Single arm catch up freestyle with rotary breathing, unassisted
  • 2 arm catch up freestyle with rotary breathing, unassisted (after single arm)
  • 3 count catch up freestyle with bi-rotary breathing, unassisted (after 2 arm)
  • Repetitive bubble blowing, inhaling through mouth, exhaling through nose
  • Flips in water
  • Dives from side
  • Retrieves objects from pool bottom
  • 25 yards butterfly tipping (3 tips/1 breath-arms at side) – no freestyle/scissor kicking
  • 25 yards streamline kicking on back
  • Continued proficiency in rifle drill backstroke

Level 5:

Swimmers who are able to pass Level 3 and 4 skills.

Skills needed to progress to Strokes School or Novice Bronze:

  • Transition to backstroke swim from rifle drill backstroke
  • Backstroke count using flags
  • Transition to freestyle swim from catch up freestyle
  • Flip Turns (freestyle)
  • 25 yards legal breaststroke kick with kickboard
  • 25 yards legal breaststroke (2 kick/1 pull with arms with glide)
  • 25 yards legal breaststroke (1 kick/1 pull with arms with glide)
  • 25 yards 2 tip butterfly with arms
  • Streamline diving from block

Levels After Level 5 Lessons

The following levels after Level 5 lessons are under the NOVA lessons program. There are different options for swimmers whether the desire is to join the team or to continue to work on stroke and skill improvement and endurance in a twice weekly practice.

Registration is through the lessons office. There is not the commitment of the swim team (contracts, volunteer hours, meets, etc.).

Click here to View NOVA Strokes School Programs.

NOVA Strokes School RED.
SS RED (formerly Stroke School Junior) practices twice a week for an hour. SS RED swimmers are legal in all 4 strokes and are placed in the group by coach recommendation. This is a introductory group, transitioning swimmers from lessons to a team-like environment.
NOVA Strokes School WHITE.
SS White (formerly Stroke School Senior) practices twice a week for an hour and fifteen minutes. Swimmers in this group are proficient in all 4 strokes and turns. This group builds on the skills learned in SS RED with an introduction to aerobic work. Placement into this group is by coach recommendation.
NOVA Strokes School BLUE.
SS Blue (formerly Development Prep) practices twice a week for an hour and thirty minutes. Swimmers in this group are able to train all 4 strokes and have proficient turns. This group builds on the skills learned in SS WHITE, with an increase in conditioning. Placement into this group is by coach recommendation and is limited to swimmers 11 years of age and older.

SwimNOVA Lessons Policies

Policies related to SWIMMER AND PARENT CONDUCT

Parents must determine a child’s readiness for swim lessons.

NOVA accepts children:

  • Aged three and up
  • Are potty trained (no swim diapers allowed)
  • The swimmer must be able to communicate verbally with instructors and lifeguards
  • The swimmer must also be able to follow instructions in a class setting for the safety of the entire class.

Required Swim Attire:

  • Girls must wear a one-piece bathing suit.
  • Long hair must be secured in a ponytail or swim cap.
  • Goggles are permitted from Level 2 and up (no goggles Level 1).
  • Goggles must not cover the swimmer’s nose.

The Facility, Bathrooms, Locker Rooms, and Classes:

  • Parents must remain on the bleachers at the far side of the pool during lessons. If a class has only one or two swimmers in attendance, the instructor may end the class after 30 minutes.
  • If a swimmer needs assistance in the bathroom during class, you must assist your child and then return them to class. Our staff cannot take swimmers to the bathroom.
  • Children 5 and older are not permitted in the locker room or bathroom of the opposite gender. Please bring your child ready to swim; changing clothes on deck is not allowed.
  • Students are not allowed to enter the pool before class or stay in the pool after class is dismissed.
  • Parents are responsible for notifying NOVA of any relevant medical circumstances, behavior issues, or water experiences before the first class begins.
  • A parent or guardian must remain at the NOVA facility during the duration of the swim lesson.

Photos/videos:

  • Photos/videos of instructors and students are not allowed without permission.
  • Photos may be taken during lessons for marketing and promotional uses.
  • You must notify us in writing if you do not want your child’s photo used.
  • NOVA has the right to terminate the participation of a student in the SwimNOVA program for any reason at any time.

Policies related to CLASS REGISTRATION AND ENROLLMENT

Class Registration and Enrollment:

  • Parents are responsible for registering their child for the correct level which is the level the child was recommended for their last session.
  • Parents can check their child’s level in their parent portal by clicking View (student’s name) and then clicking Skills (star).
  • SwimNOVA does not provide private lessons.
  • Parents registering for the incorrect level to obtain a time slot for their student, will result in the student being dropped from the class and moved to the waitlist.
  • Customers are permitted to register for 1 slot M/W or T/TH or Weekend-Sat/Sun (Classes are two days a week). NOVA cannot accommodate requests for swimmers to participate in multiple Classes within a session. NOVA will drop the 2nd and subsequent classes if enrolling in more than 1 class.
  • Space is reserved for your child ONLY when you have agreed to Policies; Receive a confirmation email and have a valid credit card on file.

Weekday Classes

  • Weekday classes are ongoing from the start of the new season (September) through the end (May) so once enrolled, you continue lessons until you drop the class according to our drop policy.
  • Credit Cards will be charged 4 days prior to the start of the following month for the next month.
  • Requests for Cancels must be made 5 days prior to the start of each month.

Weekend Classes

  • Weekend classes are offered per session. You can enroll in all sessions visible at one time. Doing so will ensure you are able to continue your weekend lessons throughout the season that has more than 1 session so please enroll in all available sessions if you plan to continue throughout.
  • Re-Enrollment is NOT automatic. You must register your child for each session of lessons separately.
  • In the case that a different level is recommended by the instructor after the first session, the lessons office will move the swimmer to the appropriate level.
  • Credit cards will be charged four days in advance of the start of the session.
  • Requests to cancel a weekend session must be made 5 days prior to the start of the next session.

Leveling up to the next level:

  • Students do not necessarily move up each month or session. The instructor will determine your swimmer’s readiness for the next level.
  • Progress reports can be seen in your parent portal account. Click View (student name) and click on Skills (star icon).
  • Our staff believes each child progresses at his or her own pace and it is neither appropriate nor beneficial (to the student) to place a child in a level above their capability.

Registration Fee:

  • Participants are responsible for paying an annual $25 registration fee per student that is valid for the entire season for September – August each year. You won’t however, be charged any merchant fees associated with your monthly payments.

Make-Up Classes:

  • SwimNOVA does not offer makeup classes.

Inclement Weather:

  • NOVA’s pools are grounded, meaning we can continue classes during weather events like periods of rain or storms – as long as there is NO lightning in the immediate area. Lessons may be stopped but then continued when the weather conditions permit.
  • Weather-related cancellations will be posted on the NOVA Lessons’ website. http://novaswim.org/swim-programs/lessons

Placing a swimmer at a level that they are not ready for is not appropriate and will not accelerate progression in our program. Swimmers that have not been in the water for several months will lose skills they may have mastered before, so enrolling in a level below is usually appropriate.

Policies related to CANCELLATIONS, REFUNDS AND MAKE UP CLASSES

Payment Policy:

  • Credit Cards will be charged 4 days before each month or session.
  • No refunds will be given if you cancel less than 5 days of the class start date.
  • Weekday Customers: Since these classes are ongoing, you are committing to lessons each month where the payment occurs 4 days prior to the start of the following month. Request to drop must be made 5 days prior to the start of the month.
  • Weekend Customers: Since classes are by session dates, you will be billed for each session separately. The payment will occur 4 days prior to the start of the session. Request to drop must be made 5 days prior to the start of the session.

Drop Policy – Weekday Classes:

  • Request to drop must be made at least 5 days prior to the start of the next month.

Drop Policy – Weekend Classes:

  • Request to drop must be made at least 5 days prior to the start of the weekend session date.

Refund Policy:

  • No refunds will be given if you cancel less than 5 days of the class start date.
  • Refunds will be issued ONLY for extended illness (3 or more consecutive lessons missed) with a doctor’s note.
  • Refunds are not offered for conflicts with other activities or vacations.

Enrollment Policy:

  • Parents are responsible for registering their child for the CORRECT level which is the level the child was recommended for their last session/month visible in your Parent Portal. To see this, click View (child name) on your dashboard, and click SKILLS (star icon) to see this information.
  • Parents registering for the incorrect level to obtain a time slot for their student, will result in the student being dropped from the class and moved to the waitlist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I am new to the SwimNOVA program, how do I know what level to put my child in?

A: There is a guide called “Choosing a Level” on the SwimNOVA Lessons homepage which describes the skills needed for each level. For additional help the lessons office can assist when registering. Please note our levels are different from other swim schools.

Q: I called the lessons office and no one answered.

A: The lessons office answers calls and returns messages in the order that they come in during office hours. Please leave one message and your call will be returned. Please do not call the business office or the Virginia Swim Shop. *Please note that the call volume is very high and leaving multiple messages will delay calls being returned

Q: I don’t understand why last year my child was swimming and very comfortable in the water but this year is afraid and can’t seem to remember his skills?

A: Young children learn swimming skills by repetition and practice, just like other skills apart from swimming. If a child has not been in the water in several, or even a few months, they will often “lose” their skills and have to relearn them. That is why on the report cards swimmers get at the end of each session, it states that the recommended level is valid for 60 days.

Q: My child’s progress report only has one item not proficient or above, why does she have to repeat that level?

A: Most of the time that “one missing skill” is the most important and challenging skill to pass a level. SwimNOVA has only 5 levels, and those levels have specific skills to master, unique in the SwimNOVA program. The skills needed to pass a level are mandatory for the next level.

Q: Can’t we just put my child in a level ahead to push them more?

A: No. Putting a swimmer in a level they are not ready for will not accelerate their learning swimming skills, in fact it will do the opposite. It will also compromise the rest of the swimmers that do belong in that level. If this happens you may not be guaranteed a spot in the session.

Q: I see you only teach children 3 years old and over that are potty trained. What can I do with my younger child to prepare them for lessons?

A: Consistent bathtub and pool playtime with parents is very important for younger children to get comfortable in the water. Learning to blow bubbles, get their face, eyes and ears wet can be made a fun yet constructive way to lay a foundation to help success in formal lessons in the future. Comfort in the water is very important.

Q: Is enrollment in subsequent sessions automatic?

A: No, with one exception. Weekend sessions (during the school year) and the summer sessions are NOT automatic re enrollment, thus a swimmer must be registered online for each session they intend to swim. The weekday lessons during the school year are the ONLY lessons in which a swimmer is automatically re enrolled.  Read the Policies on Class Registration regarding our enrollment and drop policies.

Q: My child’s swim lesson ran for only 30 minutes and I thought classes were 45 minutes long, why was the class shortened?

A: Classes are 45 minutes long. If only 1 or 2 swimmers show up for a class, the instructor will run the class for 30 minutes.

Q: I would like to talk to my child’s instructor about his progress, when is a good time?

A: The best time to talk with an instructor when the class is completely over, as long as the instructor does not have another class immediately after. Please do not take up class time when the instructor is teaching. If an instructor has a class right after your child’s class, please try to talk to the instructor the minute or two before your class begins. If necessary, you can pass along a question to one of the lessons directors and they can find an answer for you.

Q: Will my child be on the swim team when they finish the SwimNOVA program?

A: Our program teaches proper stroke technique as if each swimmer in lessons would be swimming on the team someday. Some swimmers do join the team, while others learn to swim in our program to be skilled, confident and safe in the water, which is a necessary skill that will last a lifetime. All swimmers are taught in the same manner no matter which path they are on. Once they finish Level 5, they will be evaluated for team readiness. We also have programs for swimmers who want to continue swimming without the commitment of the swim team (contracts, meets, volunteer requirements).

Q: My child likes swimming, wants to continue past lessons, but is hesitant about swimming in meets, are meets really important?

A: Yes they are. Once a swimmer is on the team, techniques and skills are still the main focus. The best way to measure a swimmer’s progress is by putting the tools they have learned to use, in competition. Most younger swimmers new to the team are a bit nervous about their first meet, but once they have accomplished it, they are happy and confident. Just like children who play soccer, baseball, basketball or any other sport are expected to play in games or matches, the same expectation is there for swim team. The first level of the team (Novice Silver) requires participating in 2 meets during the season.

Q: I have asked my child if he wants to take swim lessons, and he says “no”, what should I do?

A: Unlike other sports, swimming is a lifesaving skill. ballet, soccer or karate are sports or activities that parents may want to give their child a choice in doing, but never learning how to swim. Once again, it is a lifesaving skill. A positive “you’re going to learn to swim” is the correct approach with a child.

Q: My child is in a weekend session and we went to swim lessons and there were no lessons, Why were they canceled without us knowing?

A: The weekend lessons are scheduled by specific dates that are on the website. Certain weekends during a session may be skipped due to swim meets or holidays and are planned ahead of time. Please note those dates when registering for a session.

Summer 2024

Registration for Summer 2024 will begin in May.

Registration details will be announced following spring break in April.

 

Summer 2024 Schedule

Classes are Mondays-Thursdays
SessionDates# Lessons Prices
Summer Session #1 June 3,4,5,6/ 10,11,12,138 classes$160
Summer Session #2June 17,18,19,20/ 24,25,26,278 classes$160
Summer Session #3July 1,2,3/ 8,9,10,117 classes: (no classes July 4)$140
Summer Session #4July 15,16,17,18/ 22,23,24,258 classes$160

Class times offered in the summer:

Levels 1-5 Lesson Times (Mondays-Thursdays):
Lesson Time
10:00-10:45 am
10:45-11:30 am
11:30 am-12:15 pm
12:15-1:00 pm
Break 1:00-2:30 pm
2:30-3:15 pm
3:15-4:00 pm
4:00-4:45 pm
4:45-5:30 pm
5:30-6:15 pm
6:15-7:00 pm
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