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Canyon Swim School (El Sobrante, CA)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Classes & Lessons > Canyon Swim School (El Sobrante, CA)



For more reviews, see Swim Lessons for Preschool and School Aged Kids and Swim Lessons for Babies & Toddlers
July 2011

When we arrived at Canyon Pool, no adult greeted us, introduced themselves, or even showed us where the bathrooms were. No one told us we needed to shower first or where. The kids line up at a cyclone fence that parents are not invited beyond. My four year old girl walked herself in, sat on a bench alone and waited for almost 10 minutes to be called into the pool by someone she had not yet met. We signed up for two weeks but stopped going after the third day. (No refund.)

Your normal kid will have no problem with any of this, but my four year old girl needed just a little more warmth and human connection. The office didn't reply to my concerns and I was not able to reach the teacher (who seemed very nice and capable) behind the cyclone fence. My daughter didn't get the care she needed, no one took charge, no one checked in with me unless I called on the phone.

This was NOT a good debut swimming experience for us. mother of a 4 year old


Jan 2011

Re: Swimming Lessons for Scaredy Cats
Hi, My daughter learned to swim at Canyon swim school in El Sobrante when she just turned 5. She was scared of water too. I chose this place because the water is warm and comfortable, the teachers are in the pool with the students, and the ratio of teacher student is great 1:4. I think they can help adults too, but do not know for sure. The pool is seasonal. You can find out more by reading BPN archives and visiting their web site. Good luck! fan of Canyon swim school


June 2010

Re: Swim clinic for older kids, not a swim team?
my kids take lessons at Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante. after two summers, my son is a competent swimmer and my daughter is almost there. It is lessons, though, not play time. if you want free swim time, check out The Plunge in Point Richmond, scheduled to open in August, I think. swimmy


June 2010

Re: Swim lessons for 16 y.o. almost-beginner
You need to try Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante. It is probably a hike from where you live, but they are THE BEST! We commuted from Rockridge daily for the past two summers. A 16-yr old would definitely want to be in an adult class. They have them at Canyon. My extremely-resistant children have all learned to swim there. One huge draw (in addition to the excellent instruction) is the VERY warm water! Canyon Swim School is the best


Jan 2010

Re: Swim lessons for 4 year old
We are a big fan of the Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante. We tried the Y, we tried the now defunct Albany pool and none of these places matched Canyon for the commitment of their instructors, their effective program, and their results. Our child has been going there for years and has excellent skills and confidence in the water. www.canyonswimschool.com KK


Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante is the best! We tried several other places, and lessons didn't work at all. At one place I actually had to get in the water and help the instructor! Then I found Canyon. My kids took lessons there for 5 years. The teachers are experienced with kids and with swimming, and they have a method that works. They start lessons in April, I think. Their number is (510) 223-4600, website: www.canyonswimschool.com Good luck Pat
my kids go to Canyon swim school in El Sobrante. They went to the Oakland Y once a week for a year when they were 2 and 4 years old. During that year they had fun and the 4 year old learned to put his face in the water (not his head) and to sort of steer while kicking with a kick board, the younger made no progress that was tangible. Within a month of going to canyon swim school in El Sobrante (twice a week), they were both doing things happily that they had never even tried at the Y. anon
August 2008

Re: Outdoor Parent-Child Swim Class for 3-year-old?
For this question and the one about toddler swim classes, I highly recommend Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante (510-223-4600). The parking lot is on San Pablo Dam Rd, just past Appian Way. I first heard of this place ~24 years ago, from a mom who lived the other side of Montclair (from Berkeley). It is true that gas was cheaper then, but the warm water, small classes, and high quality of the teachers can't be beat. My kids are now 18-29, but I have taken other kids here more recently (as well as to other swim classes) as an occasional summer nanny - this still gets my vote as the best place for your kid to learn to love swimming and become proficient at it. The youngest class is for baby and mom, and the classes progress up through competitive swim techniques like flip turns, etc. The classes usually have about 4 kids per teacher. What I found to be a real plus was that if a child was afraid to try something, rather than ignore the child, or make the other 3 wait for ! eons, an extra teacher came out of the office to help with the child that was anxious. Anxious child was happy, other kids weren't frustrated - great all the way around. teachergran


May 2008

Re: Swim classes for 14-y-o who hasn't learned to swim
Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante does private lessons. They also do adult beginners. The teachers there are so nice and effective. There is no judgement, no nastiness. One thing, though, it is a small pool and the kids who take lessons tend to be younger than 14. But I think you would find the age issue pretty much anywhere. I really think Canyon has a very effective program and great teachers. It would be totally worth it to give them a call and ask what they think. I would suggest you call and ask for Julie... she is usually there between 4 and 7 pm, and she is really helpful, honest and knowledgeable about their program. They have a website www.canyonswimschool.com. Good luck. Mom of another late swimmer


April 2008

Re: Private swim lesson for 4 year old
The best place I have taken my kids for swimming lessons is, hands down, Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante. They do offer private lessons. My kids were absolutely freaked by the water, hated swimming lessons everywhere else. Within 4 weeks, my then-6-yr old son went from puking on his first day he was so scared, to swimming across the pool unassisted in a clearly-recognizable crawl stroke. They are not a ''tough love'' type of teaching place... it is all about what the kid is ready for and willing to do. They are the BEST! Their website is canyonswimschool.com. I am so sold on them that I commute from Oakland to El Sobrante. Happy swimming! Canyon Rocks!


Yes, I have to agree Canyon School is a great place. Their program is great for all ages and children learn fast and have fun. Each teacher understands and approaches each child carefully and meets child needs without pushing to hard. Several years ago I worked for them as swim instructor and had a lot of successful stories. Now I am thinking to take my own 20 month old for lessons. They do offer private lessons they are 20 min long and they have very nice make up policy. You're also might consider group lessons because this is where children strive and do a lot better after a couple private lessons. Children love to learn by example and be in the group. Instructors are always dedicate equal amount of time for each child. Brown family who runs this program have experience for over 70 years so everything is very well structured. lola
Feb 2006

re: Lessons for teen who fears water
My son took lessons at Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante last summer. You didn't say specifically that you were looking for lessons for your daughter, but I mention this pool because there were several non-swimming teens there getting lessons, as well as adults, and since almost everybody else milling around the place was relatively young, the chances of being spotted by friends would be small. Also, I was pleased to find that the drive there was only about 10 minutes from our Albany house. MF


My son David went to Canyon Swim School for two summers, when he was 4.5 and 5.5. I can't say enough good things about it---it was wonderful! It's warm, and the teachers really enjoyed my son (who has *tons* of energy), and he enjoyed them. He was not at all afraid of the water, and they took him in and taught him to swim. I was particularly looking for a place where the class for 4 year olds was not "spend two weeks feeling comfortable getting your face in the water." That would have bored my son to tears. At Canyon they really work with the kids individually. Another great thing is that unlike some other places, Strawberry Canyon for instance, the kids can touch the bottom when they are in the water. At SCRA, they have to hang on the sides while they are waiting for their turn. And SCRA is freezing! It was a 25 minute drive each way for us, but it was well worth it. Lindsay
In a word (or three) WE LOVE IT. My now 4 year old took lessons last year from spring to fall and we plan on returning this April with his 2 year old sister taking lessons too. We tried other pools but this was the only place that really worked at his pace even though there were others in the group. In a few short months he went from hanging onto the edge in the shallow end to jumping into the deep end. Their goal is always...safety first.Plus he had fun. It works for us....good luck. CorViele
Last year my daughter 31/2 at the time took classes at Canyon. The teachers are fantastic. All the kids got the attention they needed. While they waited their turn at the edge of the pool there was another adult there having fun with the kids. The water is warm and the weather is real swim weather, unlike Berkeley in June. My girl was swimming across the width of the pool by the end of the summer. Teal
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