Middlesex County Offers Free Swim Lessons for All Second Graders to Enhance Water Safety

The new County program aims to empower children with water safety and drowning prevention skills

Post Date:05/29/2024 2:00 PM

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MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ – At a press conference on Wednesday, May 29, Middlesex County announced the launch of a new program offering free swim lessons to every second grader in the County, in an effort to improve safety skills in anticipation of water activity during the summer months. This pilot initiative led by the Office of Health Services aims to prevent drowning incidents by equipping young children with essential swimming skills and educating them about water safety.

“Last year, my fellow County Commissioners and I were appalled to hear about the many drownings happening not only in New Jersey but throughout the U.S. with people, particularly children, drowning at a higher rate than before the pandemic. We wondered if there was something we could do to help increase access to basic swimming lessons.” said Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios. “The safety of our families is always a priority, and as a parent and grandparent myself, I know that this program will not only make children in Middlesex County safer it will also bring peace of mind to their parents.”

“Teaching our youth how to swim will save lives, and Middlesex County is taking clear, proactive steps to make sure our children are ready and comfortable in the water so that if any complication arises, they will be able to help themselves,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Deputy Director Shanti Narra. “Learning how to swim provides great physical fitness, builds confidence, and most important, makes our communities safer, so I want to thank everyone in the Middlesex County Department of Public Safety and Health, and in the County’s Office of Health Services, for bringing this program to life.”

“By investing in water safety education, we are fostering a culture of safety and investing in the future of our community. This is in keeping with our overall commitment to improving safety and quality of life for our residents,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Charles Kenny. “I want to thank everyone in the Middlesex County Office of Health Services who helped put this pilot program together, and I want to thank all of the swim instructors, coaches, and lifeguards for helping cultivate this community of caution in the water. Without you, this program would not be possible.”

As part of this program, the Middlesex County Office of Health Services will work with Municipal partners to reimburse municipal pools and nonprofits the cost to provide these free lessons. Each Municipality can apply for grant funds to cover fees charged to the individual or family for swimming lessons.

County residents can reach out directly by calling or emailing participating pools for FREE lessons. They include:

  • RWJ Fitness and Wellness (60 Cooke Avenue, Carteret, NJ, 07008 | 732-541-2333)
  • Crystal Springs Family Water Park (380 Dunhams Corner Road, East Brunswick, NJ, 08816 |   
  • Milltown Boro Pool (John F Kennedy Drive, 61 Violet Terrace, Milltown, NJ, 08850 | 732-828-8231)         
  • RWJ Fitness & Wellness Center New Brunswick (100 Kirkpatrick Street #201, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901 | 732-873-1222)
  • North Brunswick High School (98 Raider Road, North Brunswick Township, NJ, 08902 | 732-247-0922 Ext. 475)
  • Old Bridge YMCA (1 Mannino Park Drive, Old Bridge, NJ, 08857 | 732-727-0704)
  • Raritan Bay YMCA (357 New Brunswick Avenue, Perth Amboy, NJ, 08861)         
  • YMCA at The Piscataway Community Center (520 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ, 07008 | 732-442-3632)
  • South Amboy Branch YMCA (200 John T O'Leary Boulevard, South Amboy, NJ, 08879 | 732-553-9622)
  • Woodbridge Community Center (600 Main Street, Woodbridge, NJ, 07095 | 732-596-4000 )

In the United States, on average 3,500 to 4,000 people drown each year, a rate of 10 per day; because of this, drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children. Cultural myths, personal fears, and financial barriers contribute to a lack of comprehensive swimming education. This program aims to reverse these statistics by empowering second graders to overcome their fears, learn how to swim, and utilize this knowledge throughout their lives.

For more information, please visit

 Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios

Middlesex County Commissioner Deputy Director Shanti Narra

Piscataway Mayor Brian C. Wahler

Piscataway Mayor Brian C. Wahler; Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios

Piscataway Mayor Brian C. Wahler, Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios


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