Camps with Swimming

Parent Q&A

  • Camps with strong swimming programs?

    (2 replies)

    Are there any summer camps with particularly strong swimming programs?

    You didn't say what part of the Bay Area you are looking in. but if you are near Berkeley, Cal Rec Youth Programs has solid swimming programs. And of course the YMCAs also have good swim programs. My son learned to swim at the Oakland Y and then perfected it at Cal Rec.

    I strongly recommend Armada Swim and Adventure Camp which takes place at Albany Aquatics Center.  It is run by Jesus Salcedo who is one of the wonderful coaches of the Albany Armada, which is a wonderful swim team. Camp is open to kids ages 7-12 and runs 9-3 with before and after camp options. Jesus brings in some of the senior swimmers from Armada (late HS and early college) who are outstanding swimmers to be counselors with him. Swimmers must  be proficient in free and back stroke (so not a good place to learn to swim).  They are set up for a pretty wide level of swimmers, so kids who are on teams and strong swimmers can get good personalized attention and kids who are earlier swimmers can greatly improve.  Camp consists of  about 1.5 hours of lessons a day four days a week and then other activities throughout the day (trips to go rock climbing, museums, etc). Camp is a great mix of high quality swim lessons and a lot of other fun activities. Great for kids thinking of joining a team, kids who want to build their skills, or kids who just want to have a fun time.  Low key, great instruction, nice mix of activities. Strongly recommend checking it out!  They will run it for five weeks this summer—kids can attend for any (or all) of them. Jesus is fabulous with kids and a great coach and he chooses counselors who are very strong swimmers who have had a lot of experience with kids.  

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

Camp with free swim?

Aug 2013

My son would love to go to a summer camp next year that has free swimming instead of or in addition to swim lessons. Can anyone recommend such a camp? Thanks Thinking ahead to next summer

Kids in Motion (camp is at John Muir School). They go to Strawberry Canyon pool on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I think one of the Cal camps swims there too, and I'm sure there are others, but Kids in Motion is the one I'm familiar with.

Head-Royce summer camp has a great swimming program - there is a half hour swim class in the morning, *and* at least a half hour of free swim time in the afternoon recreation time. That's right, swimming twice a day, five days a week. Pretty much all the swimming skills my kids have they got at Head-Royce. First, it's three weeks per session; second, the lessons are great; and, third, having the free swim time in the afternoon gives them a time to have fun and cement the skills from those morning lessons. It is expensive, but I've told many that it's worth it for the swim program alone. Plus, they provide lunch and make drop-off and pick-up really easy. Anne

Summer Camp with daily swimming

March 2007

I would like to send my 9 year old daughter to a camp that includes daily swimming. She is already signed up for the camp at Mills and Cal (Cal Adventures). I would love to hear of other options. Thanks! ariel

The East Bay Regional Park District runs a great 2 week camp at lake Anza (and Temescal and others) called Junior Lifeguards. It's for 9-15 year olds and is described as ''a variety of beach and water activities designed to promote self-esteem and teamwork.'' They need to pass a test to show they can tread water and swim 50 yards. My 10 year old had a blast and learned alot. Go to or 510-636-1684.
Mom of Fish

Hey folks summer is upon us and if you are a busy working parent like me looking for a great summer program for your kids I have news for you! My son has been attending Head Royce Summer School going on his third summer. We love the program and while it costs a little more than some it is definately well worth the money. The program offers academics, creative courses, sports, and swimming. The combination keeps the kids interested and excited about attending. For me my greatest pleasure is knowing that my son is in a safe place, where the adults and youth couselors keep the best interest of the children at heart and behave in line with that philosophy. We are going back again this summer and are filled with excited anticipation. Hope to see you there. nk

I also recommend the Head Royce summer Camp program. Our daughter is attending for the third year this summer. The swim program is very good and kids that stay all day can swim 2x a day. They also have many different activities and an academic program in the morning (this is for the younger grades- I'm not familiar with the older grade schoolers). The academic program isn't terribly challenging (mostly review) but the teachers are engaged and really seem to enjoy the kids. Most of the teachers also teach grade school during the regular school year at various schools in the community. The long program (6 weeks) also allows your child to make friends and have a lot of time with them. Good luck finding a program - you have a lot to choose from in the Bay Area. - RK

Wanted to respond to your question about summer camp with daily swimming. Standing Ovations Summer Theater Arts Camp, directed by Barrett Lindsey-Steiner, in Walnut Creek is offering (3) three-week sessions and does have daily swimming. It is open for 7-12 year olds (though could be younger at the discretion of the director) and also for teens. Check out

Camp with lots of swimming every day

Dec 2006

Any suggestions on a summer day camp that offers a lot of swimming every day? Strawberry Canyon is great but it's just 1/2 hour a day, and we're looking for an intensive two weeks at the beginning of the summer, so we'll worry less when we camp by a lake in July. (My son is 6 and a pretty good dog paddler thanks to the YMCA and Strawberry) Cyndi in Berkeley

City of El Cerrito Recreation Dept had half-day and full-day swim camp last summer. I would expect they will this year, too. I think the info will be available in March. Here it the link to the web site: -- it looked like fun

Try the El Cerrito Rec Center: 559-7006. My six year old was enrolled in their summer camp for 7 weeks during the summer. It runs weekly, 1:30-5:30pm, with a field trip to a water fun spot on Fridays. I think the lessons are only 30 minutes long, but the kids spend the whole time in the pool. It's a little more expensive for non-residents. Also, they have a regular camp you can just sign up for if you need morning care (and they'll take your child to the swim center). I think registration begins in late January? Geraldine

Other reviews

Head-Royce School (a very nice private school in Oakland near Hwy 13 and Lincoln Ave) has a great swim program which you can sign up for individually or as part of a full or part-time summer camp. It goes from Level 1 thru Level 7. They also have a nice sports and recreation camp. It's kind of pricey, but very popular. I think they have a web site : and you click School Programs then Summer Programs.

Usually, there is a summer swim program at Redwood Day School (another Oakland private school). Pools at both schools are very nice. Reps from both programs as well as lots of other summer camps will be at the Summer Camp Fair, Scottish Rite Center, Oakland (near Lake Merritt) on Sunday, March 26th from 1-4:30. -- Diane (3/00)

My daughter attended the 1 week Stanford swim camp 1.5 years ago as a 13-year-old and LOVED it! She went with 2 or 3 friends, and I'm sure that helped, but she also made new friends, swam a lot, met some famous swimmers and coaches and had a great time. I can't say that it made a dramatic difference in her swim times, but it was fun and inspiring for her! Sally (Jan 2000)