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Flying Fish Aquatics

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We’re committed to you.

It used to be that women and girls weren’t encouraged to swim. And African-Americans were often denied access to public swimming pools.

Access to swimming is an important part of our YWCA history.

We actively reach out to children in our community who don’t know how to swim, don’t have access to lessons or can’t afford the cost. And as a lead partner in Evanston Swims!, we provide free swim instruction to every 2nd grader in Evanston Public Schools.

We’re committed to honoring our inclusive history by ensuring our aquatics program is welcoming to everyone. Because everyone should learn to swim. For life!

Aquatics Programs

Young swimmers at the side of the poolThe YWCA Flying Fish Learn-to-Swim program offers quality swim classes for every level of swimmer from toddler to advanced. Parent/Tot Swim Lessons are available for children ages 6 months through 2 years and are designed to help parents teach their children basic skills while discovering the joys of water together. Beginning levels are taught in our warm water pool and classes are small, providing lots of time for individualized instruction.

View class options and register

Download PDF of Fall 2019 – Spring 2020 schedule here.

Smiling group of 10-12 year old girls on the swim team at the side of poolThe Flying Fish Swim Team was founded in 1994 and has grown to include more than 400 members. It includes all types of swimmers, from those who are not yet ready for swim meets to those who compete at a national level. Our head coach, Pete Caragher, has been with the program since its founding, and the majority of our coaches have been part of the program for 10 years or more. They love what they do.

Why try out?

The primary goal of tryouts is to determine if a swimmer is ready for the team or if he/she might benefit from a session of swim lessons before joining the team.

The secondary goal of tryouts is to determine which swim team group is most appropriate for the swimmer. There is a place for every swimmer at the Flying Fish.

Who should try out?

Any child who is not currently part of the Flying Fish Swim School or Flying Fish Swim Team but is interested in joining the team should try out.

What happens at tryouts?

Swimmers will be asked to swim freestyle and backstroke across a 25-yard pool. They also may be asked to demonstrate breaststroke, butterfly, turns, and diving to the best of their ability.

Where do tryouts take place?

Tryouts are held at YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s pool.

How do I schedule a tryout for my child?

Contact Aquatics Director and Head Coach Pete Caragher at pcaragher@ywca-ens.org or call 847-864-8445.

Go to FF Swim Team Page

A group of masters swimmers smiling in the shallow end of the pool after practiceThe Flying Fish Masters swimming program is designed to help adults improve their swimming skills. Flying Fish Masters put their skills to use in triathlons or swim meets, but the majority swim simply for the health of it – whatever your goal, we’d love to help you reach it. Come fine tune your fundamentals and get a work-out too!

Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

October 7,2019 – March 1, 2020

Early mornings
Monday, Friday
6:00-7:15 am

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
1:00-2:15 pm

3:00-4:00 pm

8:30-9:30 am

$360 to YWCA and $55 to Flying Fish
$15 Drop-in Fee
$135 10-Dip

Discounts: 50% discount off YWCA fee for each additional adult family participant (spouse, sibling, etc.).

Any questions? Please contact us at 847-864-8445 or email flyingfish@ywca-ens.org.

Are you new to Masters? Not sure you want to commit?

For those of you who might be new to the program, please come try out a couple practices and see if we’re a good fit. For anyone totally new to a practice setting, we recommend attending an evening or midday practice if possible while you’re getting used to things. Most swimmers on the team attend 2 or 3 practices a week with the goal of improving their swimming and fitness, while working out with a fun group of people. Whatever your ability or goals are, there will be others in the same category and we are happy to work with you to feel at ease and comfortable during practices.

To learn more, email Flying Fish Aquatics  or contact us at 847-864-8445.

Women in the pool in aqua aerobics classJoin us for Aqua Aerobics, which is designed to improve cardio-vascular fitness, muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility. All exercises are performed to music in our pool, minimizing stress and impact on muscles, joints, and ligaments. Classes are ongoing.

Class times:

8:30-9:30 am Monday through Friday (ongoing)


Daily     $8.00
10 dip   $70.00
20 dip   $130.00
30 dip   $165.00

Register in person at the front desk. Contact Flying Fish Aquatics (847-864-8445) for more information.

Download PDF of Fall 2018 – Spring 2019 Aquatics Schedule here.

Our pool is open for family swim from September – May during the following hours:

  • Saturday, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Sunday, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Fee (payable at the front desk):

$5 per person, $10 per family per visit. Families with children in Flying Fish Swim School may buy a $60 pass for the family for each 8 week session.

Parents must accompany children in the water, regardless of age and ability level.


Contact Pete Caragher, Director of Flying Fish Aquatics, at pcaragher@ywca-ens.org or call 847-864-8445.

Guarded lap swimming for adults (15+) is available year-round in our 25-yard, 5-lane pool. Seasonal schedules are as follows:


Monday through Friday, 7:30 – 8:30 am
Monday through Friday, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Summer (ends mid-August):

Wednesday mornings, 7:30 – 8:30 am
Monday through Friday, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm


Daily Adult: $8.00
Daily Senior (60+): $7.00

10-dip Adult: $65.00
10-dip Senior: $55.00

3-month Adult: $115.00
3-month Senior: $105.00

Download PDF of Fall 2019– Spring 2020 Aquatics Schedule here.

Our pools are available for rental:

  • Saturday, 4-5 pm
  • Sunday, 12:30-1:30 pm


  • $140 for one hour pool rental
  • $80 for one hour room rental

To reserve, please contact us at 847-864-8445 or flyingfish@ywca-ens.org.

We know that there are a large number of children in our communities who do not know how to swim.  A survey of Evanston families revealed that just 17 percent of first graders were proficient swimmers. Almost a quarter had no swimming experience — a basic and vital life skill for any child, especially living in a lakefront community.

Three second grade girls stand with their arms around each other after their Evanston Swims lesson.Evanston Swims!, a partnership between YWCA Evanston/North Shore, McGaw YMCA, and District 65, seeks to remedy that need by providing all second grade children in Evanston with free water safety instruction and swim lessons. On District 65’s early dismissal days once a month, second graders whose families choose to participate in the program are bussed to YWCA Evanston/North Shore (or to Three Crowns Park, which provides additional pool space to YWCA) and to McGaw YMCA.

Seven lessons during the school year isn’t enough time to teach most kids how to swim well, but it is enough to provide essential water safety skills. It also gives us an opportunity to evaluate the kids who need extra support so we can continue with them when the year is over. While Evanston Swims! is limited to Evanston second graders, full and partial scholarships are available through the Oswald Roper Memorial Fund for families who want to continue, but cannot afford the cost of swim lessons.

Donations to Evanston Swims! may be sent to YWCA Evanston/North Shore (be sure to include “Evanston Swims! Fund” in the memo line) at 1215 Church Street, Evanston, IL 60201.

Are you interested in volunteering for Evanston Swims!? Learn more here.

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What makes our swim program special?

  • Consistency: our swim lesson instructors and swim coaches are professionals, almost all of whom have been with us for many years
  • Character: our coaching methods and objectives reinforce life lessons that apply in and out of the pool
  • Community: we are a part of a mission-based not-for-profit organization. We believe that every child should learn to swim, and we reach out to members of our community whose children might not otherwise have that opportunity.

Our swimmers and their families are likewise compassionate and committed – each year the swim team raises close to $100,000 to support the programs and services of YWCA Evanston/North Shore, funds that flow right back into making our communities better places to live for all our members.

This is an organization that truly meets people where they are in their lives, whether it’s our swim program or our domestic violence program. When you walk in the door, we say “How can we accompany you? What can we do to help you move forward?”