Compass Swimming Classes

Frequently Asked Questions:


Where is the YMCA located?

The Reston YMCA is located 0.9 miles from Compass at 12196 Sunset Hills Rd, Reston, VA 20190. When leaving Compass, a driver should turn left on Herndon Parkway and turn right at the first traffic light onto Spring Street. After crossing under the Fairfax County Parkway overpass, the road names changes to Sunset Hills, and the YMCA is located on the left, across from Target and next to Chik Fil A.

What kind of pool does the YMCA have?

The YMCA pool is a 25-yard, 6-lane chlorine pool maintained at 81-82 degrees. Swimmers can check the pool conditions on the information board for water conditions, current temperature, and recent testing. The Fairfax County Health Department performs an annual inspection of the pool and issues the pool permit.

Who are the YMCA adults in the pool with my child?

All swim instructors are adult employees of the YMCA who undergo background checks, random screening for drugs, and are CPR/First Aid certified.

Ages/Skills Levels

My daughter has had some prior swim lessons, so she is not a Beginner, but I don’t think she is at Intermediate level yet. Why isn’t there an Beginner II level for her?

Individual parents and swimming programs have different definitions of beginning and intermediate swimming. Some students may be at in-between levels. On the first day of swim class, students will be given a skills assessment by a YMCA instructor. Students my be moved from one swim instructor to another in the same hour in order to group swimmers of similar abilities.

Young Beginner level starts at the PreK, or 4-year-old level, but my son is 3 would like to start swimming lessons. Can he enroll?

No, Compass guidelines and insurance restrict participation by students under age 4. Parents of toddlers and young preschoolers should inquire with the YMCA directly or area recreation centers about baby-and-me, toddler-and-me, pee wee introductory swimming lessons, or similar.

My daughter is an advanced swimmer because of prior lessons/ swim team experience/ private coaching, etc. Can you accommodate her?

The YMCA is able to offer more advanced swim coaching such as water stamina, stroke development, stroke mechanics, and competitive techniques. An additional class section, either at a different time or different swim lane, in an advanced topic may be possible, subject to the availability of YMCA aquatics instructors. Families requesting advanced swimming levels will be encouraged to ask their own friends and contacts to join them since a minimum of 3 students are needed for a class.

Swim classes are listed through 6th grade, but my daughter is 13 and would like to take swimming lessons. Can she enroll?

Per Compass placement policies, students may enroll up or down one year from the suggested grade range, with minimum age of 4 for swimming. Teens older than age 12 should contact Compass to discuss an additional class section, either at a different time or different swim lane, subject to the availability of YMCA aquatics instructors. Families requesting additional or special class levels will be encouraged to ask their own friends and contacts to join them since a minimum of 3 students are needed for a class.

Safety/Facility Rules

Is there a lifeguard on duty during swimming lessons?

Yes, there will always be a lifeguard on duty during swimming lessons. In addition, the aquatics manager will always be onsite.

Are there any rules we need to be aware of?

All Compass swimmers are responsible for following all posted Pool Rules and following all instructions of the lifeguards.

My child has a class after swimming. Where can he change out of his wet swim clothes?

For safety reasons, children must be accompanied by a supervising adult (parent or parent proxy) in the men’s and women’s locker room. Compass parents may not say to their child, “Run in there, take your swim suit off, and put your dry clothes on.” Families are encouraged to use the Family Changing Room.

Waiting Parents/Siblings

Where can I wait while my child is in swim lessons?

While Compass children are in swim lessons, parents and siblings may wait at the designated first floor waiting areas. There are seating groups adjacent to the pool window wall and near the reception desk (see photos). Loose seating is also scattered around the lobby. Parents may also sit on the wooden benches adjacent to the pool.

My son is 8 years old. Can I drop him off for swim lessons and run to Chick Fil A or Target? Can I run my other child over to Compass for her class?

No, even though children may be dropped off for Compass classroom programs beginning at age 8, for swimming lessons, a parent or parent proxy (i.e. designated adult) must remain in the facility for each child. Due to YMCA safety rules, drop-offs are not permitted for any minor children.

Can parents use the facility while waiting for their child during a swim lesson?

Parents may use the fitness center, exercise equipment, indoor sports courts, sauna, or lap pool while their children are in swim class if they have purchased a Compass Family Day Pass from the YMCA for $10.00 (regularly $30.00).

Can younger siblings go to the child care center while waiting for their older sibling in a swim lesson?

Younger children may go to the YMCA-staffed Childwatch center while a sibling is in swim class IF the parent has purchased a Compass Family Day Pass for $10.00 (regularly $30.00). This pass allows up to 2 hours in the Childwatch center between the hours of 8:00 am and 12:00 pm when the parent remains in the building. Children may not use the Childwatch center for play without parent purchasing a pass.

My infant/toddler/preschooler gets restless when waiting for older brother. Can I take them to the onsite playground, community room, etc?

Younger siblings who must wait while older siblings are in swim lessons must remain in the first floor seating areas with their parents. Parents should bring small toys or books to keep little ones occupied. Waiting siblings may not run through hallways, block walkways, or climb on furniture. The onsite playground is part of a YMCA childcare program and is off limits to visitors. Auxiliary activity spaces such as community rooms, sports courts, etc., are not available to waiting parents and siblings unless they have purchased a Compass Family Day Pass from the YMCA front desk.

Swim Essentials

What should my daughter bring to her lesson?

Students should bring a towel, swim goggles, a change of clothes, waterproof bag for the wet swimsuit, or a hairbrush/comb.

Does my child need goggles?

Swim goggles are highly recommended so children’s eyes are not bothered by the chlorine in the pool. Swim googles have individual lenses with a seal for each eye. Half-face masks, such as those used for snorkeling, may not be used.

Does my child need a swim cap?

Swim caps are permitted if swimmer prefers them, but are not required.

My son loved summer play in the pool. Can he bring his favorite pool toys/floaties/inflatable?

No, toys, floaties, and inflatables are not permitted in the Reston YMCA pool.


Do I sign up for these classes through the YMCA or Compass? 

While the swim classes are taught at the Reston YMCA, registration and payment is made through Compass to streamline the process and simplify communications with Y staff. Questions on these classes should be directed to Compass.

Since we signed up through Compass, are we fully registered with the YMCA?

Each family must sign a YMCA waiver form before the start of swimming lessons. One your first day of lessons, please arrive a few minutes early to complete this at the main desk of the YMCA.

Why are these lessons 40 minutes long when most Compass classes are 55 minutes long?

Swim lessons are 40 minutes and are comparable in pricing, content, and pacing to 30-45 minute lessons offered by parks and recreation departments for larger groups of swim students. The 40 minute duration is timed to allow the swim students to dry off, change clothes, and commute back to Compass’s classroom facility for additional classes.