March 27, 2024 


Liz McDonald    


City of Saint Paul announces free youth swimming lessons; highlights other successful aquatics initiatives  

Free lessons are latest addition to portfolio of programs aimed at increasing aquatics equity and building water safety skills throughout Saint Paul 


SAINT PAUL – The City of Saint Paul today announced that all youth swimming lessons will be offered free of charge this summer. Registration will be open to all Saint Paul youth on a first come, first-served basis starting April 1, 2024.  


“In the land of 10,000 lakes, cost should never be a barrier to water safety skills,” said Parks and Recreation Director Andy Rodriguez. “That’s why Saint Paul Parks and Recreation youth swimming lessons will now be offered free of charge.” 


The program builds on Saint Paul’s recent success removing fees for youth sports programs and aligns with Mayor Carter’s Community First Public Safety Initiative. 


“Swimming is a fun and healthy activity our children can do for the rest of their lives,” said Mayor Carter. “Our iconic pools, lakes and rivers are only as amazing as our residents’ ability to safely enjoy them.” 


Summer lessons will be offered at Como Regional Park Pool and Highland Park Aquatic Center. Youth swimming lessons are open to Saint Paul residents only and registration will be available online at, by calling 651-642-0650, or in-person at Great River Water Park starting at 9 a.m. on April 1, 2024 (a.k.a. “April Pools Day”). A water safety and swimming course will also be offered at Lake Phalen Beach this summer. 


The free youth swimming lessons are the latest addition in a portfolio of aquatics programs aimed at creating equitable access to water recreation and building strong water safety skills throughout all of Saint Paul. Other recent free and low-cost aquatics programs include:  


  • Women’s Swim Night – Swim time providing equitable access to aquatics facilities for women and girls who may otherwise not be utilizing these spaces due to religious beliefs or cultural practices.  

  • Sensory Friendly Swim Time – Swim time for individuals with sensory sensitives. 

  • Rondo Community Free Open Swim Sundays - Free open swim time with water safety education.  

  • Teen Aquatic Fitness – Free swim time with water safety and lifeguard skills training, mentorship program, service projects, and aquatic fitness for ages 14-18. 

  • Senior Aquatics Memberships – Free and reduced rate aquatics memberships for Saint Paul residents age 62+ with a financial need.  

  • Saint Paul Sunnies Developmental Swim Team – Developmental swim team with a mission to reach youth ages 10-14 who have historically experienced barriers to traditional swim teams. 


The new programs have received positive reception from participants, families, and community members. 


“Our son is absolutely loving swimming and connecting with kids from across the city, but he’s really been excited about the number of high school mentors that have also been helping lead the team and sharing their insight,” said Jessica Larson, parent of a Saint Paul Sunnies participant. “It has been such an awesome experience to watch the character development that is happening at the pool.” 


More information on the programs mentioned is available at 


About Saint Paul Parks and Recreation 
Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is a nationally accredited and gold medal award-winning organization that manages 184 parks and open spaces, AZA-accredited Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, 26 city-operated recreation centers, more than 120 miles of trails, an indoor and two outdoor aquatic facilities, a public beach, a variety of premium sports facilities, municipal golf courses, and Great River Passage – which is the new identity for all proposed public development along Saint Paul’s more than 17 miles of Mississippi riverfront. For more information about Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, visit 


Last Edited: March 29, 2024