About Our Swim School

Gurnee Park District offers year round swim instruction for students ages six months to adults. Certified lifeguards are on duty during all swim programs.

Did you know?
Residents of District 121 pay resident rates for all programs held at Warren High School. Hunt Club Park Aquatic Center and FitNation programs follow Gurnee Park District boundaries.

Be Prepared for the First Day of Class:

  • Bring a swim suit, towel and goggles (optional).
  • When using the pool, showers and lockers will be available for your use. Please bring your own lock and remove it at the end of your activity each day. Neither the Gurnee Park District nor the school are responsible for lost or stolen items.
  • Children in diapers must wear swim diapers and a swimsuit in the pool.
  • We recommend bringing an additional towel and a change of clothes. Neither location offers towel service for swimming.
  • Classes may be combined at times and modified to best use the resources of the program.
  • Students attending classes at FitNation must check-in at the front desk before swim school begins.

Are you unable to attend one class? Click here to learn more.

Swim With Me

These classes for children 6 months to 4 years old, allow parents to participate along side their child to learn water safety skills and explore the art of swimming together. Each child is exposed to the pool to experience supported movement, coordinated arm and leg movement while gaining confidence in the water. Classes are 30 minutes. Click here to view available class times.

Be Prepared for the First Day of Class:

  • Arrive 5-10 minutes early to your first class to make sure you and your child have enough time to change into your suits and arrive to class on time.
  • Children still in diapers must wear plastic pants and swim diapers (available for purchase at the pool). If you don't have plastic swim pants, a swim diaper and regular swimsuit works, too!
  • Bring additional dry clothes/towels to wear to and from class to keep kids warm.
  • Only one parent is allowed in the water per child, but can rotate the parent throughout the session.

Swim With Me: Level 1

Each child is exposed to the pool to experience supported movement, learn prompts before swimming and learn basic water skills.

Swim With Me: Level 2

Children learn coordinated arm and leg movements with the use of instructional equipment. Lifejacket usage will be reviewed. Once your child turns 3 years old, they are qualified to move to our Little Swimmers Program.

Little Swimmers

Children learn primary swimming and age-appropriate safety skills along with coordinated water movements. An approximate of 3:1 student to instructor ratio will be used. These classes are recommended for children 3-6 years old. Classes are 30 minutes long.

Little Swimmers:

Level 1 

This level focuses on the fundamentals of swimming including water independence, coordinated arm and leg movements and proper body position.

Little Swimmers:

Level 2

Floating with minimal support as well as kicking with support bars are practiced. Basic coordinated arm and leg movements on front and back will also be a focus at this level.

Little Swimmers:

Level 3

A primary requirement in this class will be swimming on the front and back for increased distances with coordinated breathing. Completion of this level will qualify the child for Learn to Swim Level 2. If your child does not complete this level and is at least five years old, you may transfer him/her into Learn to Swim Level 1.

Learn to Swim: Levels 1-4 (5-12 years old)

The Learn to Swim program is for children between 5-12 years and helps participants progress from beginner to advanced swimming skills.  Fundamental body positions, breath control, stroke drills, and age-appropriate safety skills will be taught.  Approximate 4:1 student/instructor ratio will be used. Classes are 45 minutes. Click here to view available class times.

Level 1 Focus is on the fundamentals of swimming including water independence, coordinated arm and leg movements and proper body position. Floating with minimal support as well as kicking with stroke bars are practiced.

Level 2 Arm and leg movements will become more defined in this level as coordinated breathing is introduced. Swimming on their back, basic water survival skills and an introduction to deep water will also be highlighted.

Level 3 Increasing strength and endurance is the primary focus at this level as the participants are prepared to swim lengths of the pool.  Elementary backstroke is introduced.

Level 4 Swimming distance will be increased significantly in this level as proper turns are introduced and swimming and diving skills are further refined.  Breaststroke is introduced.

Swim Academy (7-14 years old)

This academy is divided into two levels: Experienced Swimmers and Advanced Swimmers.

Experienced Swimmers: This program will introduce more advanced swim strokes such as butterfly and sidestroke while simultaneously increasing lap distance and teaching lap lane etiquette.  This program is perfect for those who are interested in in continuing to swim for physical fitness, possibly join a swim club, or continuing their strength and endurance for swimming.

Advanced Swimmers: This program focuses on endurance, speed, diving, drills and starts. Participants will be exposed to practice sets, dryland exercises and a social atmosphere while learning how to decrease their swim times while focusing on technique for each stroke. At the conclusion of this program, swimmers will participate in a GPD swim meet to showcase their strokes and what they've learned throughout the session.

Gurnee Park District Juniors

Aquatic Programs for ages 12-16

Is your child ready to take their aquatic experience to the next level? Register them for our Junior Lifeguard, Junior Swim School or Junior Instructors. Click here to view available class times.

Junior Lifeguard
12-14 years old

This water safety training includes basic rescue techniques, CPR and first-aid skills. Participants improve their physical condition and apprentice with current lifeguards. Passing participants receive a certification as a junior lifeguard. Those 15 years old, may apply to be a lifeguard with Gurnee Park District.

Junior Swim School
12-16 years old
For those needing swim lessons

This program is for participants between 12-16 years of age. Whether it’s their first time learning how to swim or if they are interested in perfecting their technique, instructors will be available to help them accomplish their goals and become comfortable in the water.

Junior Instructors
12-14 years old

Are you looking to become a swim instructor? Want to work for GPD? Start your career with us! Junior Instructors receive supervised, hands-on experience while assisting our staff with swim programs.

John H. Emery Swimming Assistance Program

Are you interested in signing your child up for our swim school but are unable to due to financial hardships?

At Gurnee Park District, we are here to support all community members and provide recreational opportunities for every resident. We created the John H. Emery Swimming Assistance Program to promote life-long swimming skills for those who may not have an opportunity otherwise. This program is designed specifically for Little Swimmers and Learn to Swim classes. 

Download the John H. Emery Swimming Assistance Program Application.

Adult Swim Instruction (16 years old and up)

This class is open to all levels of ability from the fearful to the more advanced swimmer. Everyone will work at their own level and will learn personal safety skills and strokes. We offer group classes or private instruction. Classes are 45 minutes. Click here to view available class times.

Private Adult Swim Specialists

Looking for a customized schedule with our swim specialists?

Kathy Atkins photoKathy Atkins is a long time resident of Gurnee with vast experience teaching first time swimmers to more advance swimmers. With her abilities to communicate with all ages, she works to build trust, confidence and provides constant encouragement to help each student reach their goals. Kathy is an advanced athlete and has competed and won awards in swimming and diving, running, bodybuilding and bowling on local and national levels. She also received certifications in instruction for swimming, personal training and bowling.

General Lesson Availability: Kathy is available any time during the week and weekend mornings.

Private Swim Instruction (all ages) 

Private lessons have a 1:1 student to instructor ratio. Lessons are 30 minutes and will be customized to fit the needs of the student. Click here to view available class times.

Semi-Private Swim Instruction (all ages)

Semi-private swim lessons are provided according to Learn to Swim criteria with a 2:1 student to instructor ratio. Classes are 30 minutes. Click here to view available class times.

Inclusion with WSRA Special Recreation

Warren Special Recreation Association (WSRA) and its member districts, believe that all participants should be provided with leisure opportunities that allow for performance at their highest level of ability. Inclusion helps provide a smooth transition from WSRA to a member Park District/Township program.  If you are interested in Park District/Township programming and desire inclusion assistance, contact the WSRA office at 847-244-6619.


We encourage all participants to attend all scheduled class times. Any missed classes should be submitted online prior to the missed classes for approval. Starting summer of 2017, participants are allowed one makeup class per child, per session. Makeup classes will be offered outside of normal swim program times. Participants cannot attend already scheduled programs for a makeup class. Any missed classes submitted after the class will not be able to be approved.

If Gurnee Park District cancels classes due to bad weather, mechanical failure or an internal program scheduling conflict, you will be notified if a make-up class or refund will be offered.

Please fill out the form below and you will hear from the Aquatic Department via email within 3 business days.

Swim Lesson Make-Up

Please let us know your name.
Please let us know your email address.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your child's name.
Please let us know your child's level.
Please let us know the lesson day & time.
Please let us know the reason for make-up.