Making Waves Milwaukee

Milwaukee Adult Learning to Swim

A new adult learn to swim program made its first splash in November at the Pulaski County pool. This program caters to people managing medical issues such as cancer rehabilitation, along with proactively seeking out people from minority communities to learn to swim. That said, the program will take all adults who want to learn to swim.

In the pilot session, several participants went from not being able to swim to completing one length, or nearly one length of the pool. We call that 0 to 25 in 6 weeks. Much enthusiasm was found with both new swimmers and instructors. The new swimmers gained real skills, including some who did flip turns for the first time. The instructors shared their love for the water and really thought about the fundamentals of swimming, helping their own swimming.

Led by famed triathlete Lauren Jensen McGinnis and freshly churned cheesehead Bill Cleveland, the program attracted 15 new swimmers for the pilot session of 7 swim lessons of 45 minutes each. Joining to help are 12 dedicated volunteer instructors who split the responsibility of teaching lessons. Lessons are split into groups at three ability levels: brand new to swimming, a little experience, and those who can swim a 25 but not much else.

Thanks to our generous sponsors, including the USMS Swimming Saves Lives Foundation, Making Waves Milwaukee is able to offer sessions for $50 for 7 lessons at the Pulaski County pool. In January, open swim with instruction will be offered at the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care on Sundays from 5-6 pm. These open swim opportunities will help new swimmers before returning to the next 7-week session at Pulaski County pool starting on February 2 from 5-6 pm.

Caps and goggles are offered to each participant. Support from Wisconsin Masters Swimming provided the goggles along with front mounted snorkels, nose clips, and ear plugs.

Making Waves Milwaukee hopes to expand opportunities in the future as pool space becomes available. If you know someone eager to learn to swim, pass along the information. We also seek additional instructors to help. If you are interested, please contact

Making Waves Milwaukee is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and its website is