Lesson FAQs and Policies


 Prospective Swimmers | Current Swimmers | TWAC Policies

For Prospective Swimmers:

How does registration work?
You must register online when you receive a link from TideWater. When you register, you will see a list of all available Lesson day/time slots. (If you do not see one of the offered day/time slots in the listing, then that particular spot or class is already full.) You do not pay until you have chosen the time slot that best fits your schedule.

**Note you DO NOT have to sign up for Active Membership in order to complete your registration**
**Please use a valid email when creating your Active profile, making sure Active welcome emails are received and not going into your spam folder.  We will send important messages to current students through Active (closures, upcoming breaks, next session sign-ups, etc)**

How do I get on the mailing list to receive Registration Links?
Simply add your email address at the top of our website.  You will need to confirm your email address with MailChimp.  This will ensure you receive all Registration links as they are sent.

How soon after I receive the link should I sign up?
We recommend signing up as soon as you receive the link for registration as time slots do fill quickly, especially for Private and Infant/Toddler classes.

Do you offer flexible scheduling so that I can come on a different day/at a different time each week?
Sorry, we are unable to accommodate flexible scheduling. You must sign up for one of the specific day/time slots being offered (much like registering for an academic class or setting a doctor’s appointment).

Can my child do a “trial Lesson” first to see if s/he likes it?
No. For liability reasons, prospective Swim School students cannot get in the water until they have registered and signed a waiver. 

Do I need to be a RiverWinds member?
No, you do not need to be a member of RiverWinds to participate in TideWater Swim School.

Do RiverWinds members receive a discount on TWAC Lessons?
No, our Lesson prices are the same for both RiverWinds members and non-members.

How young do you take swimmers?
Baby class (Squirts) participants can be as young as 6 months. Children must be at least 2 years old to start Private Lessons. Leveled Group Lessons start at age 3, provided that the child is water-safe.

Can my child wear a flotation device?
Swimmers Flotation devices (floaties, swimmies, water wings, puddle jumpers, life vests, etc.) are NOT allowed. They are counterproductive to the learning process as they inhibit proper technique/mechanics.  Your child’s instructor will ensure that your child stays afloat until s/he can do it independently.

What if my child is upset?
If you have a beginner—of any age, but especially under 6 years old—then expect reluctance. We have been effectively dealing with all levels of resistance for many years. The younger the child is, the more he or she depends on fussing to get a point across. We’ll work with that. Your child may fuss about being away from you, being with a stranger, or just not wanting to do what he or she is being told—even before the natural fear level kicks in. For most children, this is when they’ll learn that you sometimes do things even if you don’t want to. And they’ll come out of it stronger, more self-confident, and—most importantly—safer than when they began.

What if my child doesn’t want to come back?
We encourage your child to stick it out. Drowning is the second leading cause of childhood accidental death for children under the age of 14. Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%. Whether or not you plan to head to the pool, water is all around us—in rivers, lakes, drainage ditches, and even large puddles. Equip your child with this life skill, and you’ll also be giving him/her access to all the fun and fitness the water can provide! It is absolutely normal for this to be harder on a parent than the children that we’re empowering. But know that it won’t be easier next year; every year older without becoming water-safe increases the resistance and fear level. So stick with it! You’ll be glad you did—and possibly prevent an unspeakable loss.

For Current Swimmers:

What time do we arrive?
Upon entering Riverwinds, tell the front desk you’re there for lessons and they will let you through.  Arrive on the pool deck, dressed and ready to swim 3-5 minutes prior to lessons. Please don’t forget to check in at the desk on deck prior to lessons.  PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE MORE THAN 30 MINUTES BEFORE YOUR LESSON, UNLESS YOU ARE A RIVERWINDS MEMBER.

Is there a Locker Room to use?
Yes, there is a family locker room for changing and showering.

Do we wear swimmies?
No, we do not wear swimmies during lessons.

What does my child need to bring?
Bathing suit, towel and goggles.  We highly recommend goggles for private lessons.  Goggles are required for Leveled Group Lessons.  We sell goggles just in case you need a pair.  Ask the person working the desk on deck.  We require fins for Terrapins.

Does a parent have to get in the pool?
If your child is in Squirts (infant) or Softshells (toddler) a parent is MUST to get in the water with the child.  Otherwise, the parents are not required to get in the water.  There are bleachers on the deck for observation during lessons.

Want to know if Lessons are cancelled due to inclement weather?
Please visit https://www.facebook.com/tidewaterswimschool to view all Lesson cancellations/updates in the event of inclement weather. You will also receive an email communication with details for weather cancellations through the Active website where you registered.  PLEASE make sure you have an up to date email address linked to that website.

Can you get a refund/credit or make up a Lesson if there’s an emergency or weather-related pool closing?
Unfortunately, TWAC is unable to provide Makeups, refunds, or credits for Lessons missed due to these kinds of emergency pool closings. We apologize for any inconvenience. For full information, please see our Pool Closing/Cancelled Lessons Policy in the TWAC Policies section below.

Forget what day/time slot you signed up for or need to check on a payment?
You can check the status of your Active orders—including verifying Lesson day/time, instructor name, payments, etc.—via Active’s Swim Portal: https://swimportal.active.com?a=284065624. To log in, you will need the email address you used when you registered and your Active password.

Does your spot carry over from one Set/Session to the next?
No. You must register anew for each 6 week class.

What happens if you miss a Lesson due to illness, emergency, etc.?
We cannot provide a refund or credit for missed Lessons. However, Makeup Lessons are available in some situations. For complete details, please see our Pool Closing/Cancelled Lessons Policy in the TWAC Policies section below.

My child can’t make his/her Lesson due to illness, vacation, etc. Can I make up the missed Lesson?
It depends on the type of Lesson your child is taking. Please see our Missed Lessons and Makeup Policy for details.

If we can’t make it on our regular Lesson day one week, can we come on a different day that week?
No. We do not allow swimmers to come on a different day because then they would be taking other swimmers’ spots. But we do allow scheduled Makeup Lessons in some situations. (Please see our Missed Lessons and Makeup Policy for more information.)

Will my Lesson time be extended if I arrive late?
No. All Lessons start and end on time. Otherwise, you would be cutting into another swimmer’s Lesson time.

What if you want to cancel or will not be returning?
Our swimmers are required to register for each new Set, no cancellation notice is required if you will not be returning for an upcoming Set, example: If you swam in the Fall Set but will not be coming back for the Winter Set, then you do not need to submit a cancellation notice. All other cancellations—after the start of a Session (e.g., you came to the first week of Fall One but do not want to return) and between Sessions (e.g., you are finishing Winter Two but not returning for Winter Three)—require a cancellation notice in writing. For full details, please see our Cancellation Policy in the TWAC Policies section below.

TWAC Policies:

Call – Out Policy

While we understand that most callouts are last minute due to illness, please do your best to provide us with as much notice as possible.

Please direct all callout notices to twaclessoncallout@gmail.com

Make-Up lesson will only be given when a written notice is received by twaclessoncallout@gmail.com prior to the start of the missed Private lesson. Please include your swimmer’s name, lesson slot (time and day), instructor and date of absence.

Once you call-out you have forfeited your spot for that day/time and it will be offered through SignUp Genius. 




Make-Up Policy 

We offer ONE Make-Up Lesson per session.

Only lessons with callouts will be given make-up. No show lessons will not be considered for a make-up.

Make-Up lessons do not roll over into the next session.  i.e., a Fall Make-Up spot will not roll over into Winter Session.

Make-Up lesson sign ups are filled on a first come first serve basis through Sign Up Genius. **It is your responsibility to use Sign Up Genius when selecting a time slot for your Make-Up lesson. You will receive a reminder from a third party (Sign-Up Genius) 2 days prior to your make up lesson. Please make sure that emails from Sign Up Genius are not marked as spam.**

In the event an instructor is absent and we cannot secure a substitute, we will make up that instructor’s missed Lessons at a later date or a credit/refund will be issued. Make-Ups for instructor absences DO NOT count toward the one Make-Up per Session rule. (i.e., If your swimmer misses one Lesson because you have an emergency and misses another Lesson because of instructor absence, then your swimmer will receive 2 Make-Ups.)

Makeup Lessons will NOT be given if:

    • Lessons are cancelled/missed due to inclement weather or other emergency closings. (We will be sending information about our Pool Closing/Cancelled Lessons Policy in a separate email.)
    • The swimmer is present but does not get in the water due to fear, tantrums, or any other behavioral cause.
    • The swimmer quits at ANY point prior to the end of the set
    • The swimmer is present at the pool but does not check in and misses their Lesson because TWAC employees are unaware that the swimmer is there.
    • The swimmer is a no show

We do not guarantee you will have a make-up with your regularly scheduled instructor.

You cannot sign up for a private lesson make up for a missed day due to inclement weather or emergency closing. (Please see our Pool Closing Policy)

Group Lesson Make-Ups are only offered DURING a session if there is a spot available in another class.  This is why callouts are so important as it opens up a potential spot for someone to have a make-up lesson.  You can email asking for a link to available Make-Ups for Group Lessons.  Group Lessons receive ONE Make-Up per Session, if they called out properly beforehand.  (See Call-out Policy above)

Private Lesson Make-Ups are offered DURING a session if there is a spot available in another class. Again, this is why callouts are so important as it opens up a potential spot for someone to have a make-up lesson during the session.  We also offer Make-Up days at the end of a session for Private Lessons only.  That schedule is determined a few weeks prior and an email will be send to everyone.  Check the schedule HERE for each session.  You can email asking for links.


Cancelled Lessons Policy

If you choose to cancel during a Set, you must give written notice by emailing twaclessons@gmail.com.

If you need to cancel before a Set begins, please email twaclessons@gmail.com.

No refunds or credits of any kind will be given if you chose to quit in the middle of a Set (e.g., in week 2 of Winter One), and your spot will be released.

No refunds will be given if less than 2 weeks notification is given prior to the Session start.

We cannot refund the processing fee applied by Active, the third party online system.


Pool Closing Policy

TWAC makes every effort to give all Lessons as scheduled. However, unforeseen circumstances do arise; if RiverWinds unexpectedly closes their facility Examples of this include (but are not limited to) inclement weather (snow, thunderstorms*, etc.); power failure; health/safety risk; emergency repair; etc.

TWAC is unable to provide Make-Ups, refunds, or credits for Lessons missed due to these kinds of emergency pool closings.

In case of inclement weather:
Lesson cancellation will be posted to the TideWater Swim School Facebook Page.
Lesson cancellation will be emailed as soon as it’s determined through our new system (MailChimp)
PLEASE make sure you subscribe to our Mailing List through our website (at the top) to stay up to date.


RiverWinds is required by law to close their aquatic facility during thunder/lightning storms because the pool is not grounded. (In the event that the facility was struck by lightning, anyone in the pool would be a conduit to the ground and could be seriously, or even fatally, injured.)

For electrical storms, lessons are cancelled on a slot by slot basis, as we are allowed back in the water 30 minutes after the last seen lightning strike. If your child’s spot occurs during the time we are not allowed in the water, their lesson for the day will be cancelled.

If electrical storms are in the forecast, we recommend you still come to the pool as we cannot predict when or where it will thunderstorm, but we apologize for any inconvenience if your lesson is cancelled and; if possible, we will make every effort to work with you to get your child in the water.

We cannot guarantee a timely response to questions regarding lesson cancellation for electrical storms.

Please do not call RiverWinds Front Desk, we are a rental group and therefore operate independently from the facility staff.