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Aquatics paddling panthers

Paddling Panthers

Registration now open!

Recreation Services offers American Red Cross Swim Lessons for family members of students, faculty and staff, or alumni of the University of Northern Iowa.

Paddling Panthers

Paddling Panthers swim lessons include all levels of the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim Program. Lessons are taught by American Red Cross certified Water Safety Instructors. All participants in this program will be assessed on the first day of class to ensure proper class level enrollment. Available to family members of UNI students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Have a question about Paddling Panthers? Check out the FAQs page to find an answer!

Session Format

Tuesday/Thursday Session — Comprised of eight lessons, every Tuesday/Thursday for four weeks.
Saturday Session — Comprised of eight lessons, every Saturday for four weeks. No lessons on October 7th due to UNI Homecoming.
(All levels offered contingent on enrollment for both sessions)

Tuesday/Thursday Session

October 10th — November 2nd
(5:30pm, 6:15pm)

Saturday Session

September 9th — November 4th
(9:30am, 10:15am, 11:00am)

Paddling Panthers Lesson Fees

UNI Students, Staff, Faculty & WRC paid users

One Child: $40 per session
Two Children: $80 per session
Three or more children: $80 + half-off each additional child

UNI Alumni

One Child: $50 per session
Two Children: $100 per session
Three or more children: $100 + half-off each additional child

Paddling Panthers Level Information

Parent/Child — This class is designed to help children ages 6-36 months and their parents feel comfortable in the water. Parents and/or guardians must participate in this class. The basic skills learned are water entry, bubble blowing, front kick, back floating, and underwater exploration. Swim diapers are required for participation in this course.

Preschool — This class is designed to help children age 3-4 years feel comfortable in the water. Skills learned in this class are combined stroke on front and back, underwater exploration, and using life jackets.

Level 1: Introduction to Water Skills — This class is designed to help children feel comfortable in the water. Submerging mouth, nose, and eyes, floating on front/back and swimming on front/back using arms and legs will be emphasized in this class. Minimum age = 4 years.

Level 2: Fundamental Aquatic Skills — This class gives students success with fundamental skills. Front/back glide, treading water, and swimming with combined strokes will all be introduced in this class.

Level 3: Stroke Development — This class builds on skills learned in Level II. Front/back crawl, diving, safety skills, survival float, deep water skills, and butterfly kick will all be introduced in this class.

Level 4: Stroke Improvement — This class develops confidence in previously learned skills and improves other aquatic skills. Elementary backstroke, breaststroke, scissors kick, and survival skills will all be introduced in this class.

Level 5: Stroke Refinement — This class will further coordinate and refine the strokes previously learned. Surface dives, flip turns, sidestroke and survival swimming will all be introduced in this class.

Level 6: Swimming and Skill Proficiency — This class refines the strokes so students can swim with efficiency, power and smoothness over greater distances. It also prepares students to participate in more advanced courses, including Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard Training Courses.

*Lessons for levels 1 – 6 are 40 minutes
**Parent/Infant and Preschool are 30 minutes
***Any other class that has an enrollment below four students will be canceled or taught for 30 minutes instead of 40 minutes.

Class Size — There is a minimum enrollment of 4 "Paddling Panthers" for each of the regular swim lesson classes. Preschool and Levels 1 through 3 will have a maximum enrollment of 6 swimmers per instructor. Parent/Child and Levels 4 through 6 will have a maximum enrollment of 10 swimmers.

Contact Information

Meredith Gregg, Aquatics & Certifications Coordinator
University of Northern Iowa
101 C Wellness and Recreation Center | Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614
Phone: (319) 273-7263 | Fax: (319) 273-7130

Weather Policy

Inclement weather that includes lightning will require the closing of the pools. The pools will close when a storm is in the area. You may choose to call the WRC prior to driving to the building. Please call the main welcome desk at (319) 273-2413 for information concerning lessons and severe weather closures. Unless the University and/or the WRC is closed we will continue lessons with dry land training.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Northern Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability, or have a child with a disability and you require an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Meredith Gregg at or (319) 273-7263.


If there is an accommodation you need in order to participate in a RS program or activity, please contact WRC 101 at (319) 273-6275.


Human Dignity

We believe that all people, regardless of their differences, should treat each other with mutual respect and dignity. Diversity and individual rights will be honored and respected.