Lucile Cowle Swim School, Burbank CA

We are a summertime only seasonal business. 
Now closed until May 2020

(818) 848-8008

Do you come out to homes to teach? No. There are many factors that contribute to successful swim instruction, including water temperature, pool depth, water level, surface texture, and coping shape, We have incorporated these features into the design of our facility to facilitate the instruction process.

Why are your lessons only 15 or 30 minutes long? Children have limited attending skills (especially when it comes to direct uninterrupted instruction) and limited physical stamina. We have found that it is best for students to receive a lesson that seemed too short, where they want to continue, rather than a lesson that was too long and became a bad experience.

Do you offer group classes? No. Every student has unique needs, prior skill sets, and varied existing technique, learning styles, and learning rate. In a group class, instruction tends to focus on the average student, such that some students are left behind and others are held back. We have taught both ways and found that 1:1 instruction is superior in most cases.

Do you have a parking lot? No, sorry. The swim school was built at a time when the city had no on-site parking requirements. Purchasing adjacent commercial property would make the cost of swimming lessons prohibitive. There is ample street parking within a block of the swim school, but please plan to arrive a little early to get situated. 

Are customers allowed to park in the one space next to the office? Yes, although we may reserve this for physically disabled students periodically.

Are customers allowed to park in the lots next to and adjacent to the swim school? No. They are owned by other businesses and reserved for their customers only.

Do you still teach swimming when it is raining? Yes. Since they are in the water, our students are wet anyway, and the water is warm. Rain during the summer is uncommon, but when it does occur, swimming in the rain is kind of an adventure. We will accommodate children under two years old. They will have the option of rescheduling their lesson subject to availability. Our pools are closed when lightning is present in Burbank. We have equipment that detects this.

Are you closed when it is too hot? No. We have plenty of shade for watchers and you are welcomed to bring cold drinks into our facility as long as there is no glass.

Are your instructors Red Cross certified? No. Although the swim school owners received extensive training and certification through the American Red Cross National Aquatic School, our methods of 1:1 instruction and instruction for young children (our specialties) differ from traditional Red Cross methods. Additionally we’ve experienced inconsistencies within the various Red Cross Water Safety Instructor certification programs. Red Cross Certification instructional requirements differ from our program, so we have not maintained this certification. 

How are your instructors trained? Our classroom and pool instruction is based upon Lucile’s book, “Teaching Your Tot to Swim” and a manual similar to the Red Cross’ WSI manual for stroke fundamentals, water safety, and other swimming related skills. This is integrated with our own teaching  sequences, terminology, and techniques.

Our pet will get too hot in the car, can we bring our pet to swimming lessons? No. The LA County Health Department forbids this and we have unscheduled inspections every summer.

May we bring food and/or drinks into your facility? Food and drink in containers, other than glass, may be brought in, as long as you clean up after your child and yourself. (I hate having to say this, but sometimes families come in and leave a mess. We are not a restaurant and don't have staff waiting to clean up after people. We would like to keep the facility clean for all who attend.)

I am a mom and need to help my son change his clothes. May I escort him into the Men’s restroom? No, the swim school has mature males teaching at, and using our facility whose privacy we need to respect. There is a family changing area in front of the gender specific restrooms where moms can help their sons and dads can help their daughters. We also do not allow older boys or dads in the Women's restroom.

Do you teach adults? Yes, we teach many adults each summer, but be advised that while adults are taking their lessons with their instructors, children are also in the pools with their instructors with their parents looking on.

Do you teach people who are afraid of the water? It is much easier to teach a child to overcome their fear of the water than an adult. For children, the process is usually a matter of learning the fundamentals and realizing that they can swim and gradually building their confidence. For adults, their issue is usually an inability to relax which prevents adequate breathing which exacerbates their inability to relax. It’s a negative cycle. Spending a lot of time in the water even in the shallow end with some basic skills can help this, and we can help, but we are not an adult aqua phobia program.

Do you teach persons with disabilities? Yes, but we no longer accept payment from the Regional Centers. We have worked with persons with learning disabilities, Downs Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, physical disabilities, and deafness. If your child has a disability, then please advise us at when you first schedule your lessons so that we pair them with the right teacher.

Do we have to pay a membership fee to attend your school? No.

Do you teach the back float method? No. Typically, children are very uncomfortable on their back. Water can enter the sinuses easily, and the sublime position tends to be a vulnerable and insecure position. Helping a child feel comfortable and secure in the water is one of our goals, so we teach children to swim on their front first, taking breaths, and then transition to floating and swimming on their back, which is much easier once a child is relaxed in the water.

What do you do for water safety? We teach a child to make a u-turn in the water, swim back to the wall, and pull themselves out.

I’m not sure where we should take lessons. What should I do? Come observe anytime during our open hours so that you can make as informed a decision as possible.

I’m not sure how my child will respond to lessons, what should I do? You can bring your child to practice time for a minimal fee to see how they like the facility. And you can schedule and pay for only one lesson to see how it goes, but understand that sometimes it takes a child several lessons to become comfortable with a new person instructing them.

What happens if my child is sick or we have an emergency to attend to during the lesson time? You may have a another student come in for their lesson with the same teacher at the same time or schedule and pay a fee for a make-up lesson if any are available during the time and with the teacher you desire. 

What happens if my child cannot come to lessons for the remainder of the set because of illnss or an emergency? You may have another student come in to complete the set, or you may have a credit to use for any student for the remainder of the year or the following year.

Can we make up a lesson because we forgot our appointment or decided to go to Disneyland? No, make-up lessons are in high demand and so may only be used for absences due to illness or emergency situations.

Will my child always have the same instructor?
Your child will be assigned to the same person for their entire set of lessons. However, sometimes illness and other circumstances necessitate the use of a substitute. In the event of a substitute, be assured that your instructor has the same training in our methods, sequence, and procedures. If you intend to take additional sets of lessons, please arrange for this as soon as you decide so that you may have a better chance of receiving the same instructor. We do not hold your teacher or time for you beyond what you have arranged and paid a deposit for.

Are you open on the weekends? No. We used to be open on Saturdays, but found that scheduling staff consistently on summer weekends was difficult. Believing that consistent staffing was important for lesson progress, we discontinued our Saturday lessons.

Do you have on-site security? We were asked about this by a celebrity. We do not have on-site security and have never experienced any problems other that clients who may want autographs.

What do you do when children cry? We employ a variety of strategies for helping students calm down depending on their reason for crying. Typically children cry because it takes a while for some to become accustomed to a teacher who they do not know. It usually helps for parents to participate in our supervised swim time from about 1pm-2pm (included in the price of lessons). Our initial strategies are to distract the child with toys, talking etc. If this does not work, we may ask parents to hide from view of the child. If this does not work we may ultimately have the parent work with the child with us in the water if they are willing. This process may take several lessons.

May I watch my child’s lesson? Yes, there is ample shaded seating around and close to the pools. We encourage you to watch and listen to the lesson and practice what you see with your child between lessons for short periods. Remember to keep it fun.

Are students allowed in the pools before or after their lessons? No. Sorry. This would interfere with ongoing instruction and we have no supervision for this. We do have a practice time from about 1-2pm weekdays which is included in the cost of your lessons. You may schedule to have your lessons near this time if available.

Are you open during the late summer and fall? No, since we are an outdoor facility designed for children learning to swim. The weather and availability of children limit our instruction window to the summertime. When young children do learn to swim, it is important that they practice at least twice a month during the off season to maintain their skills.

Do you accept credit cards? No, the cost of a business our size processing credit cards would add about 5% to the cost of lessons.

Do you give discounts for siblings or multiple sets discount? We used to do this, but we discontinued this in 2010. Given our current economy, we either needed to discontinue the discount or raise our base prices to cover increased utilities, business taxes, and new federal, state, and local facility requirements. We opted for the former.

Do you rent out your facility? Not during the summer, and not for parties. We would be available during the off season for film projects.

Are flotation devices allowed at your facility? No. We believe that flotation devices give a false sense of security to children, and parents, and they cause a habitual vertical body position for children that is difficult, but necessary to correct, for water safety and good swimming technique.

What should I do when I have a concern about my child's instruction? Please talk to your instructor or the people at the front desk in a timely manner so that we can address it promptly.

What are the lollipops on the front counter for?
They are for all students. Sometimes young students need extrinsic motivation to facilitate their achievement and cooperation. We also have stickers available instead of lollipops at the front desk if you prefer.

How long has the swim school been here? There has been a swim school at this location since the mid-1950’s. Lucile had a swim school in the San Fernando Valley initially and then purchased our current location and modified it for teaching swimming to young children in 1963. Some families have attended the swim school for four generations.

Why does it take so long to get a call back for scheduling lessons some times?
Our schedulers are knowledgeable, experienced swim teachers who know our methods, procedures, and teachers. Sometimes it takes a while to match up different family schedules with the right teachers schedules. On our first day of booking each season we will receive 300-500 calls and these take a while to return. Be assured that all calls to schedule lessons are returned in the order that they are received.