Lessons Frequently Asked Questions

NOVA's Lessons program is supported by our sponsor 


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" under the "Lessons & Clinics" drop down button on the NOVA homepage which describes the skills needed for each level. For additional help the lessons director can assist when registering.

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

A: The lessons director is answering calls and returning messages in the order that they come in during office hours. Please leave a message and your call will be returned. Please do not call the business office or the Virginia Swim Shop. The office hours change seasonally, so check the registration information for the current hours.

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 report card 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.

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, the length of a private or semi-private lesson.

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. 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 and in the flyers at the pool. 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.