Frequently Asked Questions


What is the CRA policy regarding illness?

May 2023

Charles River Aquatics Policy Regarding Illness


At Charles River Aquatics (CRA) the health and safety of our patrons and staff is of the utmost importance. 

Per the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, if you have a communicable disease, you may not swim

Please stay home if you are not feeling well.

Your adherence to this policy is essential to the health and safety of everyone. 

Thank you!

Why CRA?

CRA offers a competitive technique-based program designed to build a solid foundation for life-long swimming. CRA challenges swimmers to develop efficient technique, increasing safety and efficiency in the water.  CRA has offerings for the entire family from Tiny Tots to Triathletes!

Instructional programming at CRA emphasizes stroke development and water safety.  CRA has a unique comprehensive approach to instruction.  In-water and on-deck coaching support, small class sizes and detailed progress notes yield individualized instruction with proven results.  All CRA Instructors are provided extensive and ongoing training in the CRA approach and philosophy guaranteeing a high-quality consistent experience for students.  The positive, encouraging environment, coupled with a cumulative, tiered curriculum, assures swimmers achieve their goals in the water.

The CRA Dragons Youth Swim Team is a comprehensive swim program committed to teach, train, and motivate age group swimmers to excel at all levels. The positive team atmosphere is conducive to individual development and growth, empowering each swimmer to achieve his/her potential in the sport. The youngest training groups begin at 5 years old with an emphasis on development of efficient technique. As an organization we foster sportsmanship and fair play and demand respect for others both on the team and in the larger community.  The Dragons focus on teamwork within the program while simultaneously encouraging individual development as an athlete.

The CRA Masters Team provides a diverse group of athletes, ages 18 and over, with the opportunity to improve fitness and technique.  The training environment offers options for all levels--whether a first-time Masters swimmer, an Olympian, or somewhere in between.  The CRA Masters workouts are physically and mentally stimulating, tiered to accommodate all abilities and training goals.   

Contact Sarah at or call at (617) 939-8078

On which instructional level should I register my swimmer?
The Children's Level Descriptions detail skills taught at each level of the Instructional Program and specify skill mastery necessary for advancement through the levels*.  
When registering for Group Lessons this School Year Season, follow these guidelines to identify the appropriate level class:
  • Swimmers under 3 years old, in the water with a caretaker -Bubble Tots
  • Swimmers 3 years old - Splash
  • Swimmers 4 years old and older - Any Level - Age 4+

    These half hour lessons are in our warm Teaching Pool and we will group and challenge swimmers based on skill level. 

  • Competitive swimmers 8 years and older looking for an endurance building, technique focused workout - Technique & Training Tune Up (T3U) is an hour long coached workout in our Competition Pool with lots of skill feedback for swimmers.
  • Competitive swimmers 8 years and older looking for a team experience without competing in swim meets - CRA Recreational Swim Team 
All new students are evaluated at the first lesson and will begin working on appropriate skills.  The CRA approach to instruction differs significantly from that of other instructional swim programs.  For details on the CRA Instructional Levels--Instructional Swim Levels 


The CRA Instructional approach is unique.  The requirements for advancement differ significantly from those of the Red Cross or of other programs.  

Movement through the levels in CRA Instruction is based on the technical accuracy of a swimmer's movements.  Skills are systematically layered as each isolated movement is committed to muscle memory.  

In the CRA Instructional Program, students do not swim great distances during lessons to increase endurance.  The focus on technique creates efficient, safe and fast swimmers.  

What happens if I add my swimmer to a program wait list?

If you add your swimmer to a program wait list, the CRA Registrar will be in touch if space becomes available.

What is the tuition for group lessons?



Small Group Youth Lessons, 30 min., $140/month

Technique & Training Tune Up (T3U), (youth), 60 min., $200/month

Adult Beginner Lessons, 60 min., $200/month

Adult Small Group Coaching, 60 min., $200/month

Pre-Masters Swim Team Class (adults), 60 min., $140/month

How am I billed for tuition?

Tuition is billed during the first week of each month.

Billing is structured as follows:  Begin by creating an account with CRA, registering the swimmer(s) and entering payment information.  The first tuition payment will be deducted on the first of the following month and the first lesson, on or after the first of that month.  (For example—if a swimmer is registered on October 20, the first tuition payment will be November 1, and the first lessons, in the first week of November).

After the first tuition payment, deductions occur during the first week of the month through June. 

To cancel, email

30 days notice is required to cancel.  CRA does not prorate tuition.  


A one-time tuition payment is due at registration.

What is the CRA Tax ID?

CRA TAX ID number:


What should swimmers wear?

Swim Attire:

One piece swimsuits for females, comfortable board shorts for males

Swim shirts are discouraged as they obstruct the full range of movement necessary when learning to swim.

Goggles are required for Level 1 and above, and encouraged for Splash swimmers.

Swim caps are encouraged for all swimmers and required for those in Level 3 and above.  All Technique & Training Tune Up participants are required to wear swim caps at all times.

All athletes practicing with swim teams must wear swim caps at all times.

How do I cancel my School Year Season class or change the day and/or time?

30 days notice is required to drop School Year Season Group Lesson enrollment.  CRA does not prorate tuition. 

School Year Season Group Lesson changes may be requested at any time.  Mid-month changes incur a $10.00 administrative fee per registration.  

To cancel or make changes, email

Does CRA offer refunds or make-up opportunities for missed lessons?

CRA does not offer refunds or make-up lessons.

Review CRA Policies for details.

How does CRA communicate important information?

CRA shares important information regarding schedule changes and new program opportunities via email and social media. Time sensitive messages are emailed, texted and/or communicated by phone.

CRA recommends not opting out of email, text or phone contact as these are the only methods of communication used to share important information. 

CRA will not share personal information.  

When are lesson black out dates?
Are instructors consistent?

Consistency of instruction is a central goal in the Instructional Swim program.  A student will generally  have the same instructor throughout an entire level, although he/she will occasionally have a substitute or may experience a change in teacher.

As students advance, each level brings a new instructor. At every lesson, detailed progress notes are recorded, guaranteeing continuity of instruction throughout a student's entire tenure. CRA instructors are specifically trained in the technique-based instructional approach, maintaining consistency, and the high-quality of the Instructional Program.  

Can I request a specific instructor?

We welcome requests for specific instructors and, while we cannot guarantee, will attempt to accommodate.

All instructors are specifically trained in the technique-based instructional method.

Your student will thrive with any of our CRA Instructors!

If a swimmer is afraid, how will CRA help?

Having fear associated with water is not unusual for children and adults alike. CRA strives to have all swimmers feel safe, comfortable and confident in the water.  Extra encouragement and patience are essential and CRA instructors bring this to each and every lesson. 

My swimmer is a true beginner. Can he/she still enroll in a clinic or camp?

CRA's camps and clinics are part of the Instructional Swim Program.  Many students who attend camps and clinics are true beginners who thrive with the supportive patient instruction.  Students ages 4 years and up may participate.  

Attending a CRA camp or clinic is a great way to start the journey to becoming a confident, safe and efficient swimmer. 

Are parents/guardians permitted to observe programs?

Spectators, including parents/guardians of youth participants, are not permitted during any instructional or team programming. 

Parents/guardians of youth enrolled in Instructional Swim Lessons will be periodically invited for a visiting day.  Observation is not permitted during summer/vacation camps or clinics

Spectators are not permitted during any swim team practices

The presence of spectators at events is assessed for each individual event.  Decisions regarding the presence of spectators will be made in advance of each event and shared by event organizers.  

Where are Instructional Swim progress reports posted?

Progress reports are posted in CRA accounts.  Log in to view and click "Evaluations".

How long does it take to advance to the next instructional level?

Learning to swim does not occur on a set timeline.  Each swimmer is a unique learner and individually tracked through the instructional levels. As skills are achieved and consistently demonstrated, students advance.

What happens when my swimmer advances to the next instructional level?

Once requirements for advancement are satisfied, swimmers immediately begin the skills in the next level.  Class schedule is not disrupted.  

When we arrive at the Boston Sports Institute, how do we get to the pools?

Upon arrival at the Boston Sports Institute (BSI), enter via the main entrance, proceed straight ahead through the foyer, past the reception desk and turn left.  Walk down the hallway to the wet corridor (glass double doors) entrance to the natatorium. 


What is the procedure for arrival/departure of participants?

Spectators, including parents/guardians of youth participants, are not permitted during instructional programming, camp/clinics or team practices.

Youth Instructional Swim Arrival/Departure:

  • Upon arrival at the Boston Sports Institute (BSI), park in a legal parking spot and walk students into the facility.  Enter via the main entrance, proceed straight ahead through the foyer, past the reception desk and turn left.  Walk down the hallway to the wet corridor (glass double doors) entrance to the natatorium. 

  • When arriving for Instructional Swim, students are greeted by a CRA Staff Member at the entrance to the wet corridor and at that point, parents/guardians must depart

  • *To collect swimmers at the conclusion of a lesson, park in a legal parking spot, enter the facility and queue up outside of the double glass doors at the end of the wet corridor (the point of drop off).  Do not enter the wet corridor.
    • Staff will open the doors at the end of each lesson, at which point you may meet your swimmer.   
    • Parents/guardians wishing to assist young swimmers in the Family Changing Room may enter the wet corridor when staff signal that the lesson has concluded and it is okay to do so.  Parents/guardians may then accompany swimmers into the changing room.
    • No one may linger in the wet corridor at any time.

*Live parking for pickup along the Route 9 side of the facility is NOT permitted for youth instructional programs.

Adult Instructional Swim Arrival/Departure:

Adults arriving for programming will enter the natatorium via the wet corridor and check in at the entrance to the deck of the pool in which they swim.  Adults depart via the wet corridor.  

Youth Swim Team Arrival/Departure:

Athletes arriving for swim team practice enter via the wet corridor and will be checked in at the entrance to the deck of the pool in which they swim.  Parents/guardians accompanying athletes into the facility will depart upon reaching the wet corridor entrance.  Youth athletes will depart via the wet corridor.  Parents/guardians meeting athletes inside the facility at the conclusion of practice, park in a legal parking spot, enter the facility and queue up outside of the double glass doors at the end of the wet corridor (the point of drop off).  Do not enter the wet corridor.

Brief live parking is permitted along the front (main entrance) of the building for pickups.  Do not block the fire lane or handicapped parking spots.  


Does Charles River Aquatics have a USA Swimming Youth Team?

CRA has a large and competitive USA Swimming Youth Team, the Dragons.

For more information visit the Dragons website

Does Charles River Aquatics have a Masters Swim Team for adults?

CRA has a large active US Masters Swim Team. 

For more information, visit the CRA Masters website

What other programming does Charles River Aquatics offer?

In addition to Instructional Swim lessons (youth and adult) and team opportunities (USA Swimming Youth Team the Dragons, and CRA Masters), CRA offers a range of other programs. 

These include:

-Summer/School Vacation Week Swim Camp,

-Instructional Swim Clinics (Starts & Turns, Beginning Dives, and more),

-Swim & Splash,

-CRA Recreational Swim Team,

-Technique & Training Tune-Up (T3U),

-Adult Small Group Coaching,

-Lap Swim Program,

-Teen Lap Swim Program,

-Warm Pool Open,

-Family Recreational Swim Rental,

-Bubble Tots,

-Aquatic Fitness Classes,

-Adult Pre-Masters Swim Team Class,

-Springboard Diving

More questions?

Contact Sarah at or call at (617) 939-8078