asked questions

What courses do you offer?

We are open 7 days a week and offer our courses in terms, with a 30 minute lesson each week. Our courses for Baby and Toddler Levels start at our Bright Start Babies Level 1 and go up to Talented Toddlers Level 8 (approx. 4 years old). We offer bespoke programmes of structured lessons which adhere to the STA Swim Programme. We have a maximum of 8 babies per class. For all these lessons, each child is accompanied by 1 parent/adult in the pool.
We also offer our Kick-Start Kids programmes which are for older children from 4-7 years old. These lessons are also sold in terms with a 30 minute lesson each week but the parent is not in the pool. See more information about Kick-Start Kids on the FAQ called “Tell me about Kick-Start Kids”!

Do you offer catch-up lessons if I have to miss one?

Yes! First Swim offers up to 3 free catch-up lessons per term, per booking, which can be booked from week 2 of the term.
Once you are signed up to a term, you manage your own attendance online! Log in to your account (from your phone, tablet or desktop) once the term has started and you can tell us if you are going to be absent from your scheduled lesson/s. Then you can book your catch-up lesson/s by searching our available spaces and selecting a day/time that is most suitable for you.
There is a high demand for catch-up lessons and as such, they are subject to availability and we therefore cannot guarantee that a space will always be available. We cannot book catch ups for you, the real-time latest availability is online!
If you are restricted in your availability (e.g. if you are limited to attending at weekends) you will find catch up places are harder to book in. Please bear this in mind when booking a course of lessons.
We do politely remind customers that our catch-up lessons are offered on a discretionary basis, so they cannot be credited or refunded if missed, or exchanged for a cash value.
Catch-up lessons can only be used within the term dates, we cannot roll these into subsequent terms.
Unfortunately we cannot offer any catch-up lessons for Kick-Start Kids.

Can both parents go in the pool?

Sorry, but due to space restrictions and the nature of the course, we can only allow one adult in the pool with your child each week. Other parents and grandparents are very welcome to watch from our spectator area and make use of our lovely coffee shop.

How clean is your pool?

We have built and designed our pools from scratch and they are for the purpose of children’s swimming only. The temperature is a consistent 32 degrees which is the optimum for the comfort of babies. To ensure the health and safety of our visitors we have installed the best filtering and chemical dosing system and we limit the use of harsh chemicals. We have two sand filters for both pools, each with a sand bed of over 1 metre. We use the very latest ‘Daisy’ and Chemical Dosing Systems that check and adjusts the chemical levels in the pool every second of the day to ensure safe swimming.

Does my child have to wear the double nappy system?

Yes. For health, safety and hygiene reasons, we do have to operate a strict double nappy system for all babies and toddlers until they are fully toilet trained. This helps us to avoid mishaps and keep the environment as clean and comfortable for everyone visiting!
The double nappy system is a disposable  swim nappy worn underneath our Swim Smart Nappy (reusable swim nappy). The Swim Smart Nappy should fit snugly around the child’s waist and thighs.
Your child is welcome to wear a swimsuit, trunks or an eczema suit, however they will still have to wear the double nappy system underneath if not toilet trained

Can my baby start swimming before immunisations?

Yes- babies can start swimming as soon as you want them to! See the latest NHS guidelines here: If you are at all concerned however, this is also something you should check with your GP or health visitor

Does my baby go under water?

Submersion is an element of our classes but just one of many parts to our swimming programme. Our teachers will advise and guide you in the submersion techniques and exercises and is only undertaken when both parent and child are ready and happy in the water.

Should I feed my child before swimming?

We recommend that babies should be fed about 45 mins – 1 hours beforehand if liquids and 1-2 hours before entering the water if eating solids. This allows the food to be digested and helps us keep any mishaps to a minimum and protect the cleanliness of our water! Often babies will be very hungry after a swim so you are very welcome to make use of our lovely coffee shop to relax and refresh after your lesson.

What should I do if my child is ill?

Babies frequently get colds and if it’s just the sniffles then it’s fine to bring them along. If they have a bad cough, temperature or are generally quite miserable with it, then it’s probably best to stay at home.
We politely ask that you do not attend your lesson if you and/or your child have any illness that you could pass on to others, cause contamination or that is making you or your child feel unwell. Common highly contagious illnesses include conjunctivitis, measles, chicken pox and impetigo.
Unfortunately there is strictly no admittance to the centre if you or your child are suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting. Please see our T&Cs for more information.

How do I book?

We take bookings online for our courses so you will need a valid email address to complete a booking. We can’t take bookings over the phone unfortunately, but if you have any questions, please visit us at the front desk or give us a call and we will be happy to answer them!

Is there a discount for siblings?

Yes there is! We offer 10% discount on both children when you book full term courses. Please enter SIBLING1 into the coupon code box during the booking/checkout process.
Polite notice that customers are responsible for adding the sibling discount to their checkout and/or identifying siblings – any missed discounts cannot be backdated, refunded or credited. 

Do I have to be able to swim to bring my child along?

No! The water is always shallow enough to stand up in, and you never have to go underwater unless you want to.

Do you have changing facilities?

Of course! We are a purpose built bespoke baby and child swimming centre and have (hopefully) thought of most things to make your visit as easy as possible. We have unisex changing rooms with cubicles, changing mats and showers. There is storage for your belongings in each cubicle, and some locations have travel cots  and lockers for small valuables.

Can I bring along siblings/other children?

To ensure safety at all times, no child under the age of 10 can be left unattended in any area of First Swim. Any child, including attending siblings, that come in to the premises, must be under direct adult supervision at all times. Only one adult and the child participating in the lesson are allowed in the wet areas. If you are in the pool for a lesson, any siblings under the age of 10 must remain in the coffee shop area and be accompanied by a supervising adult. If a child is found to be unattended, this may result in classes being stopped until the accompanying adult is located. First Swim team cannot take any responsibility for any child who is left unattended.

Do you offer trial lessons?

Yes! We offer paid trial lessons for our baby and toddler classes, where you can experience a 30 minute lesson at either our Twickenham or Chiswick centres. If you would like to enquire about a trial lesson, please email us or use the contact form, with your preferred location and your child’s age and swimming experience.
A trial is charged at the same cost as 1x lesson from a term, so is dependent on the day of the week and the pool location:
Chiswick – Weekday £23.75, Weekend £24.75
Twickenham – Weekday £23.25, Weekend £24.50
Trial lessons are subject to availability and suitability may be dependent on how much of the latest term has run.

Can I leave my buggy or car seat somewhere?

No problem! We have a large internal buggy park in our reception areas. We also have everything else in the coffee shop that you may need from high chairs to plastic plates to plenty of snacks (for parent as well as child) and a microwave station to warm little one’s milk or lunch!

Tell me about Kick-Start Kids?

Kick-Start Kids is for our older children from 4-7 years old. The courses are both challenging and rewarding and allow each child to develop their water confidence and swimming skills, whilst having fun.  There is a maximum of 4 children learning with a single First Swim teacher
We offer  courses based on the child’s experience and age, which are split in to our ‘starters’ and ‘improvers’. The starter level is aimed at beginners or children who have had no formal lessons previously. The ‘improvers’ level is for children who are more experienced and confident in the water, but are yet to fully develop their techniques and/or swim unaided. Our pool is just over 6.5m in length so if your child can already swim 5m, we may not be right for you!
Parents don’t need to be in the water with the child, however are required to help the children get dressed before and after the lesson and ensure they reach poolside for the teacher to collect them. Parent/accompanying adult must remain in our viewing area throughout the duration of the class – where of course you can sit back and relax with a treat from our coffee shop!
Please note that we cannot offer catch ups for any Kick-Start Kids lessons

Do you run school holiday courses?

We do! Our Swim Confidence Courses for 4 to 7 year olds are designed to give children a real boost in and around the water, promoting safety, developing swimming skill and technique levels in the pool whilst having fun!
These are normally held during school holidays (half terms/Easter) and are longer, 40 minute sessions which give the children a little more time in the water participating in and practicing exercises addressing the fundamentals. Your child’s lesson takes place at the same time on each day of the course.
We have designed a progressive learning programme that follows the framework outlined by the Swim Teachers Association. There is a maximum of 4 children learning with a single teacher and the lessons are taught in our private, heated and purpose-built pool.
We offer courses for both ‘Starters’ and ‘Improvers’. The Starter level is aimed at beginners or children who have had no formal lessons previously or who consistently demonstrate a lack of confidence in the water. The Improver level is aimed at those who have some basic skills and can swim confidently with floatation devices.
For availability on our next course, please check the website menu under “Swim Courses” where you can see the dates, times of classes and book. If this doesn’t show on the menu, please drop us an email and we will do our best to help.

Do you offer 1-2-1 lessons?

We don’t offer 1-2-1 lessons as standard on our timetables, however we can sometimes accommodate weekday requests if we have space in a current term’s timetable.
Please email us on for more availability and pricing, specifying which pool and day/s you are interested in and we will confirm if we can help.

What about Coronavirus?

If you, your child, or anyone attending First Swim have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result, please don’t attend your lesson. The public health advice is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.