Frequently Asked Questions


What are current restrictions due to COVID-19?

28 June 2021


Charles River Aquatics (CRA) at the Boston Sports Institute (BSI), Wellesley

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of CRA patrons and staff has always been paramount.  As larger numbers of individuals are becoming vaccinated, CRA has elected to further modify safety policies as follows: 

Updated Safety Policies:


--CRA encourages everyone to wear a mask--

  • Fully vaccinated adults (ages 18+) are no longer required to wear a mask* to enter the natatorium. 
  • Unvaccinated individuals are required to mask at all times with the exception of while swimming.  
  • All youth (under the age of 18) must mask at all times
  • All fully vaccinated CRA Staff will mask at all times when working with youth (under age 18) and when approaching any adult patron.
  • Any unvaccinated CRA Staff must mask at all times.

*In the interest of protecting our young patrons (not yet fully vaccinated, or too young to receive the vaccine), all patrons must mask in the presence of youth under the age of 18.  CRA asks that all adults bring a mask to the pool and be sensitive to who is on deckIf youth are present, put on a mask.

Additional Operational Procedures:

  • All patrons will continue to enter the natatorium at the BSI via the wet corridor and check in on pool deck.  Patrons participating in Competition Pool programming will exit via the deck door and Teaching Pool programming, via the wet corridor and Door #4.
  • There is no drop-in programming.  All patrons must register in advance for specific times at which to swim. 
  • On deck bleachers and benches remain marked at 6 foot intervals to encourage social distancing
  • To minimize the overlapping of groups, patrons are asked to arrive as close to assigned pool time as possible and to depart immediately upon completion of activity.
  • Changing rooms at the BSI are now open to adults on the CRA Masters Swim Team, enrolled in any adult Instructional Programming or the Lap Swim Program.  Changing rooms remain closed to all youth with an anticipated opening to those under age 18 in late August.  Face coverings must be worn at all times while in the changing rooms.
  • Spectator seating remains closed.
  • All patrons must thoroughly rinse prior to swimming.  On-deck showers are available for this purpose.
  • CRA will continue to carefully maintain the pools at the BSI, meeting all requirements as set forth by the CDC and the Wellesley Board of Health.  
  • Staff will continue to maintain a schedule of regular sanitization of high-touch surfaces.  

The risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 does still exist.  Should any patron or staff member exhibit symptoms, he/she will be immediately isolated and arrangements will be made for discharge.  

As always, CRA asks patrons to stay home if not feeling well.  

CRA anticipates further relaxing these operational procedures in late summer 2021. 

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.  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 what instructional level should I register my swimmer?
When registering for the School Year Season, follow these guidelines to identify the appropriate level class:
Returning CRA Instructional Swim Students and/or CRA Camp Participants: Log into your CRA account and check EVALUATIONS to identify appropriate level--
Returning Technique & Training Tune Up (T3U) Participants: Click here for information--Technique & Training Tune Up (T3U) or Level  3+ Group Swim Lessons 
Or join the CRA Recreational Swim Team CRA Recreational Swim Team 
Instructional Students NEW to CRA:  Register for Level 1/2 ONLY UNLESS currently or previously on a competitive 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
Competitive Swimmers NEW to CRA:  Register for Level 3+  or Technique & Training Tune Up. Or join the CRA Recreational Swim Team CRA Recreational Swim Team



Does my swimmer need an evaluation?

Swimmers are evaluated for placement in an appropriate program and identification of the correct instructional level.  

CHILDREN: 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.  

All swimmers new to the CRA Instructional Swim Program must register for Level 1/2 unless they have prior competitive swim team experience. ONLY swimmers with competitive swim team experience are eligible for Level 3+ if new to the program.
All new swimmers are evaluated upon arrival for the first lesson and instruction is provided at an appropriate individual level.   


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 Lessons, 30 min., $120/month

Technique & Training Tune Up (T3U), 60 min., $160/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 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.

All persons with hair 6 inches or longer must wear swim caps at all times.

All students enrolled in Instructional Swim, Level 3 and higher, and 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 Cancellation & Changes 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

Once restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted, spectators will be permitted to attend events. 


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. 

Spectators are not permitted in the natatorium. 

Arrival:  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 exit the facility.  Athletes arriving for swim team practice, will be checked in at the entrance to the deck of the pool in which they swim.  Again, parents/guardians if accompanying athletes into the facility will exit once reaching the wet corridor entrance.  Adults arriving for programming will check in on pool deck.

Departure:  All patrons swimming in the Competition Pool will exit via the deck door directly into the foyer and exit the building by the main entrance.  Brief live parking is permitted along the front of the building for pickups.  Do not block the fire lane or handicapped parking spots.  All patrons swimming in the Teaching Pool, will exit the building via Door #4 on the Route 9 side of the building.  Brief live parking is permitted along the side of the building.  Alternately, park in a legal parking spot and wait for swimmers to emerge from the building.  All students in Instructional Swim, and young swim team athletes will be escorted out of the building and supervised until connected with a parent/guardian.  


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,

-Pool Playtime

More questions?

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