Promoting Practices that Protect

At the Y, water safety is a key part of our mission to encourage health and active fun in the water. Our policies ensure our pools stay safe for everyone.

YMCA Swim Test

All swimmers under age 14 must pass a swim test before they can be in a YMCA pool area without direct adult supervision. The swim test consists of a 25-yard swim, during which youth are asked to achieve the following:

  • Jump into the pool, submerge fully, return to the surface and immediately begin swimming without pushing off the wall.
  • Swim in a horizontal position on top of the water using a forward crawl and breaststroke. The swimmer's arms must achieve full extension on every stroke, and he or she must maintain one or both of the strokes for the full 25-yard swim. Pausing is only allowed when the swimmer is rotating or turning to breathe.
  • Exit the pool without assistance using either the wall or pool ladder.

Policies for young children

Parents/guardians of swimmers under age 7 who pass the test must remain on-site at the pool. All swimmers age 7 and older who have passed the test may use the pool on their own.

What if my child doesn't pass?

Swimmers who do not pass the swim test must remain within arm's reach of an adult in water that is armpit level or lower. Alternatively, a parent may be in another part of the pool if the child is wearing a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.

Youth who have not passed the swim test may not go down slides or use pool diving boards, regardless of the presence of a parent or the use of a personal flotation device.

If you have any questions about these policies, please contact the Aquatics department of your local Y.

What to Bring

Bring these with you

  • Flip-flops, sandals or other pool/shower shoes
  • Light, nutritious snacks if your local Y pool has a designated picnic area
  • For young children or those who have not passed the YMCA swim test—a Coast Guard—approved personal flotation device (the Y provides a life jacket if you do not have one).
  • For children who are not potty-trained—swim diapers
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses and/or hats
  • Towels
  • Drinking water
  • Shower items
  • Pool toys

Leave these at home

  • Large flotation devices, such as inflatable pool chairs
  • Water guns or Nerf-style guns
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Glass of any kind (such as glass food or drink containers)
  • Weapons, hazardous materials or dangerous objects of any kind
  • Your camera—we ask that pictures are not taken by the pool for your child's safety

More questions?

Contact the Aquatics department at your local Y if you have additional questions about what you can bring during your next visit.

Weather Policies

At the Y, your family's health and well-being is our primary concern. That's why we adhere to the following safety procedures when thunder, lightning and other signs of inclement weather strike near one of our pools (both indoor and outdoor). These procedures are recommended by the National Lightning Safety Institute, Philadelphia Insurance and American Red Cross.

  • We monitor storms that are in the area using the latest technology and visual confirmation.
  • When we are first aware of thunder or lightning in the area, pool activities will be suspended and all aquatic facilities will be evacuated. Aquatic facilities will be reopened when we receive notification that a the storm is at a safe distance from the facility. The distance from a facility to a thunderstorm can be five to eight miles away, but lightning can strike from a much farther distance.
  • The entire pool area, including any saunas, steam rooms or whirlpools, will be closed. Current policies are based on best practices identified by American Red Cross and Philadelphia Insurance and require that the entire aquatics facility be closed. This includes saunas and steam rooms that are in close proximity to YMCA of Middle Tennessee pools. Swimming pools are connected to a much larger surface area via underground water pipes, gas lines, electric wiring and telephone wiring. Lightning strikes on the ground anywhere on this metallic network may include shocks elsewhere.
  • All programs will be cancelled, including swim team, swim lessons and water aerobics classes. Paid programs will be rescheduled for a later date. Please check with a staff member for more information on programs that are rescheduled.


We are proud to partner with The American Red Cross as our Lifeguard Training provider. They have been the gold standard in lifesaving, water safety and swimming instruction since 1914.

The trusted brand for certification and training, the Red Cross provides a full suite of aquatic training that helps people enjoy the water safely and skillfully, and results in professionally-trained lifeguards who are able to prevent and respond to aquatic emergencies.

During your visit to one of our pools, you may observe ongoing training exercises, including live water safety and rescue drills. Such training allows the Y's lifeguards to stay prepared as the guardians of your family's safety and well-being.

Help us keep you safe

There is nothing more important to us than the safety of your family as you enjoy our pools. You can help us by following all posted pool rules and the instructions of our lifeguards.

Want to become a lifeguard?

Apply Today