Aquatics Programs

About the El Cerrito Swim Center
On January 12, 2004, the City of El Cerrito opened its new Swim Center to the public. The swim center renovation was made possible by the citizens of El Cerrito and the passage of the Measure A parcel tax, passed in March 2000. The City of El Cerrito staff would like to extend a special "Thank You!" to all of its citizens, City Council members, and commissioners that made this beautiful addition to our city possible. The facility features both the 25 yard x 25 meter Emery G. Weed, III Lap Pool, with one and three meter diving boards, as well as a multi-use recreational pool, equipped with a mushroom play fountain and slide.

Teen/Adult Swim Lessons
Our Teen/Adult Swim Lesson program is designed for swimmers ages 12+.  The program is split into two sections: Beginning Fundamentals and Intermediate Stroke Development and Refinement.

Beginning Fundamentals: this beginning swimming class is designed for teens and adults with little or no experience in the water.  Participants will learn water adjustment skills, floating on both the front and back, front crawl with side breathing and back crawl.  Participants will also be introduced to deep water and will learn water safety skills.

Intermediate Stroke Development and Refinement: this intermediate level swimming class is designed for teens and adults who are able to swim a minimum of 50 yards of freestyle and backstroke.  Participants will work on developing endurance and further refining their skills and strokes taught in the beginning swimming class.  Elementary backstroke, breaststroke, sidestroke and butterfly will be taught.  Diving, treading water and other deep-water skills will be introduced.

El Cerrito Aquatic Masters Program & East Bay Masters Water Polo Program
El Cerrito Aquatic Masters (ECAM) is for adults ages 19+ interested in swimming competitively or just getting in shape.  Coached workouts focus on endurance, technique and overall fitness.  Competitive swimming is not required.  Talk to the coach regarding minimum swimming ability. First workout is FREE!

East Bay Masters Water Polo Club is a Masters level co-ed water polo club for adults ages 19+.  Our team is comprised of enthusiasts of all ages, experience and skill levels.  We provide skill development, endurance training and game strategy to the beginner and advanced players.  This is a friendly and fun environment with a competitive edge.  Hope to see you in the pool!  For more information go to .

Click the link to view some frequently asked questions about the recreation departments aquatic division. 

Lap Swim
Get in shape in our heated pool! Lap Swim times are for adults and teens ages 14+ interested in working out on their own.  Lanes may be assigned speeds and space sharing is required.  Those not participating in the program must remain in the spectator area on the grass.   See the current schedule for lap swim times.

Lap Swim Etiquette and Circle Swimming

To avoid conflict and make everyone's swimming experience more enjoyable, please adhere to the following Lap Swim Etiquette.

Lane Designations

  • When the pool is busy, swim lanes will be shared.
  • Make note of lanes that contain fast, medium, and slow swimmers.
  • Lifeguards monitor the lanes and may alter the configuration at any time.
  • Select a lane compatible with your preferred swimming speed.
  • Lifeguards may assist you with selecting the appropriate lane or ask you to move if your speed is not similar to those in your lane.

Entering the Water

  • Enter the water by sliding or jumping feet first from the pool edge or by using the ladders or steps.
  • It is the responsibility of the swimmer entering the water to make sure the lane is clear of any other swimmers.
  • If there are swimmers approaching the wall as you are preparing to enter, wait until they have turned and started the next lap before entering the water so as not to interrupt their progress.


  • Slower swimmers must yield to faster swimmers.
  • Be aware of your space in the lane and orientation of others. If you are approaching the wall and another lap swimmer is gaining on you and swimming at a faster rate than you are, pause at the wall to allow the faster swimmer(s) to pass you.
  • Be courteous of drafting. Provide adequate distance between you and the swimmer ahead of you.

Circle Swimming

  • Swimmers are required to follow the circle swim pattern. The customary traffic pattern is to stay to the right; that is to swim in a counterclockwise circle in the lane, similar to the way cars drive on the road (see diagram).
  • It is the responsibility of the swimmer entering the lane to be sure that all the other swimmers in that lane are aware of his/her presence and the necessary traffic pattern, before the newest swimmer begins swimming.
  • Always swim complete laps of the pool. Avoid stopping in the middle of the lane, this can interfere with the progress of other swimmers and cause collisions.
  • Stop only at the wall and once stopped, stay in the corner of the lane, preferably in the right hand corner (from the perspective of the approach to the wall). Other lap swimmers need space to turn, always leave the middle 1/3 of the wall clear for turning purposes.


  • Pass on the left hand side. If you are the slower swimmer and being overtaken at the turn, stop, and wait until the other swimmer has pushed off the wall.
  • A pass must be initiated in time to over-take the slower swimmer before the wall.
  • When using kick boards, please be aware of other swimmers in your lane and their needs to pass.

One length of the pool is 25 yards.  One mile is approximately 72 laps.
Swim caps are not required but are encouraged for swimmers with long hair. 
Pull buoys and kick boards are available for use during Lap Swim. 
Additional equipment such as snorkels and fins are allowed during lap swim only. 
There is a slow, medium, and fast section of the pool.  If you don’t know your level, please ask the staff for assistance.

Additional Rules: 

Swimmers  ages 10 to 13, will be admitted at the approval of the Senior Lifeguard on duty.  Swimmers ages 10 to 13 will be required to pay the regular, adult fee and will be permitted to lap swim as long as they are able to swim continuous laps at all times.  Recreational swimming and/or playing in the water will not be permitted during lap swim hours.  A parent or responsible adult who is at least 18 years of age must supervise children ages 10 to 13 in the water, by swimming next to them in the same lane during the lap swim.  Adult Lap swim fees apply to all swimmers during Lap Swim Times.  Any patron complaints or staff concerns will result in younger swimmers being asked to exit the pool.

Children ages 9 and under will not be permitted to swim during lap swim times. 

Specialty Classes
Lifeguard Training (ages 15+)
Participants learn the duties and responsibilities of a professional lifeguard.  Deep and shallow water rescue techniques, injury prevention, advanced first aid, and CPR/AED skills will be covered in the class.  Participants must pass a pre-requisite swim test at the first class to continue.  Upon successful completion of written and practical skill evaluation, participants will receive American Red Cross certification.

Babysitting Basics (ages 11-14)
Participants will learn about interviewing for a babysitting job, learn how to choose safe and age-appropriate toys and games, learn basic care such as feeding, diaper changing, and infant holding techniques.  Basic first aid for cuts, scrapes and bumps will be covered as well. 

Junior Lifeguard Camp (ages 11-14)
This camp is designed to prepare potential lifeguards to meet the pre-requisite skills of the American Red Cross Lifeguard Training course.  After completion of the full program, participants will receive certification in American Red Cross CPR and First Aid and will receive a Junior Lifeguard certificate. 

Pre-requisites: participants must be comfortable in deep water, able to swim 150-yards non-stop coordinated freestyle and breast stroke and tread water for two minutes.

Participants who are 13-14 years old and successfully complete all program requirements are eligible to apply as a volunteer at the El Cerrito Swim Center during our Summer Season.  For more information call (510) 559-7008.

Pool Rules
Click here to find the list of rules for our pool. 

Splash Park, Family Swim, Recreation Swim & Family Fun Nights
Splash Park is a great way to get wet and have fun playing with water.  All children must be accompanied by an adult.  This is a non-lifeguarded program.  Swim Diapers are required for all children ages 3 and under. 

Family Swim is a family time rather than a recreational swim time.  It is designed for families with children 12 years and under.  All children must be accompanied in the water by a swimming adult.  One adult can accompany up to two children ages 6 months to 6 years at a time. Adults must be in the water, within arms reach of their child at all times.  Swim Diapers are required for all children ages 3 and under.  Family Swim takes place in the recreation pool and shares pool space with other programs.  Water slide and toddler area are not available during Family Swim times.  Life jackets may be signed out for use during Family Swim times.  Please ask a lifeguard for more information. 

Recreation Swim is a non-structured swim time for people of all ages.  Basic rules of water safety and behavior will be enforced. All children must be accompanied in the facility by an adult.  All children ages 6 and under must be accompanied in the water by an adult.  Adults must remain in the water within arms reach of their child.  One adult may accompany up to two children ages 6 months - 6 years at a time. Swim diapers are required for all swimmers ages 3 and under.  Swimmers must be a minimum of 48 inches tall to use the water slide.  When available, swimmers must pass a swim test to use the diving boards.  Please consult pool rules before participating.

Friday Family Fun Night is a special 3 hour open swim during our Summer Season. Recreation Pool, Lap Pool, Water Slide and Diving boards available for use.  Special discounted family rate available!  Grab your friends and family and we'll see you at the pool! Recreational Swim rules apply, please see above. 

El Cerrito Gators Swim Club
Gators Swim Club is a year-round program designed for both new and experienced swimmers.  Gators swimmers focus on stroke technique, endurance, and speed.  Participation in swim meets is encouraged but not required.  Swimmers must be able to swim 50 yards of freestyle,  50 yards backstroke and 25 yards breast stroke (Level 4 passing skills).  Tryouts are scheduled Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons at 3:45pm by appointment only.  For more information or to arrange a tryout, please call (510) 559-7011 or email

Youth Swim Lessons
Lesson Parents: Swimming lessons are not a time for parents to drop children off.  Please remain on the pool deck in the designated areas during your child's lessons.  Children may not be left unattended on the pool deck or in the facility.  While we appreciate your enthusiasm during lessons, your presence can be intimidating for swim instructors if you are sitting nearby on the pool deck.  It can also be a distraction, as the attention of the student becomes divided between you and the instructor.  Though we will try our best to accommodate parents whose children are experiencing difficulties in class, we politely ask all parents to observe the lessons from the bleacher area. 

Aquatics Registration Information: It is essential that each lesson is attended to receive the full benefit of the class. 
  • No make-up lessons or credits for missed classes are given.  If a class or session is canceled by the Recreation Department, a refund credit will be issued to your account.
  • Registration for swim lessons will close 3 business days prior to the first scheduled day  of class. 
  • Pre-registration for all classes is necessary.
  • Registration may be done at the Swim Center, on-line, by email or by fax (510)529-9413. 
  • Fill in registration forms each time your register for an activity.  Signature of disclaimer on registration form is required for all registrations.
  • Once the swim lesson has begun, staff will not be able to add additional students to the class.
  • We reserve the right to hold lessons in either pool.
  • Swimming is for participants during their lessons/class times only.  Participants must exit the facility when class ends.
  • If placed on a waiting list, you may not attend the class unless you are notified that a space is available.