Does a new swimmer need an evaluation?

Before registering for swim lessons at Charles River Aquatics, you should understand the evaluation process and our factors to determine swim level placement.

ADULTS: Please read our Adult Level Descriptions and determine where you fit best. You will be evaluated at your first lesson and will begin working on appropriate skills for your level.

CHILDREN: Our Children Level Descriptions help explain what skills are taught in each level, and what skills need to be accomplished to move to the next level. When considering the appropriate level for your child, please read the following requirements.

CRA levels are unique so we highly recommend the following placement into our program for newcomers:

6 months to 3 yrs old: Please place in Tiny Tots

Age 3: Please place in Splash Class

Age 4 and 5: Charles River Aquatics has done extensive research on 4 and 5-year-old children that were new to our program. All 4-year-olds and 95% of 5-year-olds who are with us the first time have been evaluated as Level 1 swimmers. Therefore, if you are new and your child is ages 4-5, we recommend that you sign your child up as a Level 1 swimmer.

Age 6 and above: Evaluations are mandatory for new swimmers thought to be in level 2 or higher.

If you have looked over our Level Descriptions and believe your child is Level 2 or higher, you will need an evaluation prior to registration.

Please schedule an evaluation by emailing evaluations@charlesriveraquatics.com.

How much do group lessons cost?



Tiny Tots, Splash, Level 1, 2, 3 | $100/month

Levels 4, 5, 6, 7, & Adult | $150/month

Billing will be monthly on the 1st.

Once you create an account, register your swimmer and enter your payment information YOUR FIRST PAYMENT WILL PROCESS THE 1st WEEK of the FOLLOWING MONTH. YOUR FIRST LESSON WILL BE ON OR AFTER THE 1st of the FOLLOWING MONTH.

Once you register for your swimmer’s spot you will be automatically charged the 1st week of each month through May unless you email the REGISTRAR to cancel. CRA requires 30 days notice for cancellations and will not prorate monthly charges.


The total cost of these multi week session programs are charged upon registration.

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

You can request changes at any time but moves mid-month will incur a $10 admin fee per registration change.

CRA requires 30 days notice to drop enrollment and we will not prorate tuition for any month.

To change or cancel please email registrar@charlesriveraquatics.com

Am I assured the same teacher every week?

Your child will generally have the same teacher for their level/day/time. Subs will fill in when the class instructor is unavailable. Instructors will change as your child moves up in levels. All of our teachers are well qualified and trained in the CRA technically focused method. Each instructor is provided the detailed notes on each swimmer that we collect at every lesson. We believe that instruction from more than one individual is extremely helpful because students learn in different ways.

Can I get a refund or make up lesson?

Please be sure you understand the following before registering

  • CRA will issue no refunds or credits for missed or cancelled lessons.
  • CRA offers no make-ups, nor a class change for a day.
  • CRA will not prorate a month if you cancel mid-month.
  • If CRA has cancelled a program due to inclement weather or pool issues, then we will do our best to offer a make-up class or free swim opportunity. This will not always be possible.
Where can I see my swimmer's progress report?

CRA student evaluations are available for you to view in your Parent Portal account

Evaluations in our Skill Tree are based on a 4 star set up:


Skill Trees will be updated by instructors about twice each month.

Just log into your CRA account with the link below and choose EVALUATIONS to the left of your screen

You will see your swimmer(s) listed and evaluation updates. Click VIEW SKILL TREE  to see the complete list of levels and their accomplishments.

Here is the link to log into your CRA account:


What are the BLACK OUT dates?
Can we watch classes from pool deck?

Doubletree Hilton location does NOT have on-deck seating but has a viewing window and will invite parents to observe on deck a few times during the season.

Boys & Girls Club location does have on-deck seating for group and private lessons. We ask that families continue to uphold our deck policy and keep their distance and watch from the seats and do not walk around on the pool deck aside from going to the locker rooms. Unfortunately, we cannot have spectators on deck for school break programs, clinics or summer camp.

How long does it take to learn rotary (or side) breathing?
Everyone learns at different rates. We emphasize side breathing in all levels, as this is the most efficient way to swim. With practice, the swimmer will become more comfortable and familiar with the concept and eventually learn the technique.
Is there a discount for back-to-back lessons?
We do not offer any discounts if you choose to register your swimmer for two back to back lessons. Pricing is based on spots in a class and not on length of lesson.
Do swimmers need one piece suits and caps?

One piece suits for girls and shorts with minimal drag for boys are required. Please also avoid suits with sleeves or wet suits. While teaching swimming and we do not want the garments to impede the swimmer’s movement or progress. Girls or boys with long hair should wear caps. While this is not required, hair can get in the way and without proper vision, a swimmer may be distracted. All long hair must be tied back if a cap is not worn. For comfortable caps, please purchase a lycra or silicone cap.

Do swimmers need goggles?

Goggles are required for children in Levels 1-7. We do not require goggles for Splash Class, although it’s a good idea for the children to wear them. When a child’s eyes are protected, he/she is more willing to put his face/eyes into the water. You can buy goggles at any sports store. We also sell goggles for $5.00 at the pool. We do not loan goggles, as this could lead to eye infections.While we do want the swimmer to be at ease putting his/her face in the water without goggles, we have found that goggles enable swimmers to see underwater, increasing their comfort and, ultimately, their progress.

Can my child sit and watch class?

For safety reasons, we cannot allow your child to sit on the side and watch the class. If you feel that your child may be apt to do this, please wait and enroll him/her in a few months. Swimming can only be learned by actually going through the motions.

Would it be OK if my child doesn’t put his/her face in the water?

Unfortunately, we cannot teach the correct swimming technique without having the face in the water. While there are many lessons to be learned without the face in the water, at some point, your child will be asked to put his/her face in the water. The goggles do help as water will not be in the eyes.

What happens if my child satisfies all the requirements in their class?

If all requirements are satisfied, then your child will immediately begin working on the higher level skills and be moved to a group working at the higher level at the same day/time whenever possible. The only occasion there will be time changes is when a swimmer moves from 1/2 hour Level 3 to 1 hour Level 4.

More questions?

Contact Sarah at registrar@charlesriveraquatics.com or call at 617-939-8078