Learn to Swim

Here at Southern Miss, we take water safety and education extremely seriously. Our staff of trained swim instructors work hard at teaching skills while providing children and adults with a fun, structured approach with a guaranteed increase of skills. To best assist the community, we offer private, semi private and group swim lessons.

2018 Learn to Swim (group lessons)

This program offers a structured progression of lessons, from infant-parent to adult lessons. It provides a great transition as your skills progress or a great starting point for new swimmers. 


Summer I


  • May 14
  • May 15
  • May 16
  • May 17
  • May 21
  • May 22
  • May 23
  • May 24
Suummer II
Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • June 5
  • June 7
  • June 12
  • June 14
  • June 19
  • June 21
  • June 25
  • June 28
Summer III
  • July 9
  • July 10
  • July 11
  • July 12
  • July 16
  • July 17
  • July 18
  • July 19


Parent and Child Aquatics (6 months to about 36 months old)

5:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.

Parents and children learn together to increase children's comfort in the water and build a foundation of basic aquatic and water safety skills. The class goals are to familiarize children between the ages of 6 months and approximately 3 years with the water and teach swimming readiness skills. Instructors provide safety information for parents and teach techniques parents can use to orient their children to the water. No skill prerequisites. Parent must accompany child to each class. Skills: Cueing, conditioning, body orientation, familiarizing with in-water exploration.

Preschool Aquatics (about 3 to 5 years old)

5:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.

Children learn basic aquatic safety and survival skills to increase children's comfort level in and around the water. Instructors help familiarize children approximately 3 and 5 years old to the aquatic environment and help them acquire rudimentary basic aquatic skills. They help participants begin to develop positive attitudes and safe practices in and around water. No skill prerequisites. Skills: bobbing in water, bubbles, retrieval of submerged objects in shallow water, floating, front gliding, leg action (kicking), staying safe around water, recognizing the lifeguards.

Levels 1 - 5 (about 6 to 12 years old)

5:55 p.m. - 6:25 p.m. Level 1 & 2

6:35 p.m. - 7:05 p.m. Level 3 & 4

Children learn through six progressive levels to develop and refine their water safety, survival and swim skills.

  • Level 1 - Class aims to orient participants to the aquatic environment and help them gain basic aquatic skills.  Instructors help participants begin to develop positive attitudes and safe practices around water. No skill prerequisites. Participants usually start at about 6 years of age. Skills: breathe control, bobbing, enter water independently, front glide, floating on front and back, alternating leg action on front and back (kicking), and arm/hand action on front.

  • Level 2 - Skills: jumping into water independently, fully submerge and hold breath independently, introduction to rotary breathing, back float and glide, combined arm and leg action.

  • Level 3 - Skills: Head first entry from the side in a sitting position, kneeling position, standing position, rotary breathing, back floating, changing body position in water quickly, treading water, front crawl (freestyle), elementary backstroke.

  • Level 4Skills: Swim underwater for extended distances, entries, survival swimming, front crawl/back crawl open turns, introduction to breaststroke and butterfly, and streamline push-off.

  • Level 5Skills: Entries (competitive starts), flip turns, treading water, all 4 strokes, and skulling. 

Adult Beginner Lessons (about 12 years and older)

7:15 p.m. - 7:45 p.m.

Class provides adults the opportunity to learn and/or refine their water safety, survival and swim skills with their peers. Instructors aim to improve participants' proficiency in basic aquatic skills and the six basic swimming strokes. Participants are taught skills and concepts needed to stay safe in and around water and to help themselves or others in an aquatic emergency. 


To register for Learn To Swim classes, fill out the online registration form below or stop by the sales office located in the Payne Center Atrium. The sales office is open Monday - Friday between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. For dates for Spring and Summer sessions, please see the right hand side of this page.

NOTE: Online registration does not guarantee your spot in Learn to Swim classes but it is required. Payment secures your spot in your respective Learn to Swim class and can only be submitted once confirmation email from Brent Holifield has been received and brought to Payne Center Sales Desk. To submit payment, stop by the Payne Center Sales Office or mail to 118 College Dr. #5155, Hattiesburg, MS 39406. Late registration will be taken only if space is available.



  • Southern Miss Students and Payne Center members

Parent & Child, Preschool, Levels 1-6 and Adult lessons - $75

  • Community and Payne Center Non-members

Parent & Child, Preschool, Levels 1-6 and Adult lessons - $85



  • All fees must be paid in full at the time of registration.

  • Students may NOT enter the water prior to lesson times.

  • Students should use the Natatorium entrance at Turk Circle for swim lesson admission.

  • No refunds or rollover will be granted after the first week of classes.

  • All students must wear appropriate swim attire. Students may also want to wear a swim cap and goggles.

  • Make-up days will be used in case class must be cancelled by Recreational Sports. They are not used for times when participants miss class on their own accord.

If you have any questions, please contact Brent Holifield, Aquatics and Outdoor Adventures Coordinator at 601.266.5408.