At Horizons Greater Washington, swim lessons are an essential part of our curriculum. We work to ensure that every child leaves our program knowing how to swim--and how to apply the lessons learned in the pool to challenges in and outside school.


According to the American Red Cross, only 56 percent of Americans can perform five skills considered to be essential for swimming survival. These include treading water for one minute, exiting the pool without the use of a ladder, re-orienting and swimming to a wall, resurfacing in deep water, and swimming 25 yards. 

For low-income youth, the odds of becoming a strong swimmer are even lower. Nearly 80% of children in families with less than $50,000 in household income have low or no swimming ability, putting them at a higher risk of drowning. 

Swimming at Horizons


Horizons helps students overcome these odds. During the summer, students swim four days each week at our Maret School location and three days each week at our Norwood School and St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School locations. Each student swims for about an hour, with 30 minutes of swim lessons and 30 minutes of free swimming. Our program progression is based on the American Red Cross lesson program. We also monitor each student using our own metrics to track success.

Swimming is a cornerstone of the Horizons program because it is far more than a life-saving skill. Learning to swim:

  • Encourages attention to detail and commitment to a goal
  • Teaches resilience and strategies to overcome fears and obstacles
  • Inspires children to adopt a healthy lifestyle
  • Introduces a competitive sport
  • Teaches skills for summer employment
  • Is  FUN and promotes a love for and engagement in Horizons

Swim Program SPONSORS

We are thankful to Norwood School, Maret School's Girls on the Run, the Swiss Embassy, and the Kara Kennedy Fund for helping to make our swim program a success.


"Horizons gave me an opportunity that others can’t get and instead of staying home and doing nothing, Horizons lets me have fun every summer. They taught me how to read better and swim...also the teachers and HATs have always been there for me.”

— Horizons sixth grade student