How Do I Become a Swim Buddy?

Our volunteer instructors (called swim buddies) tell us time and time again that involvement in SWAM  has been one of the most rewarding experiences of their time at Queen's University. SWAM instructors come from diverse backgrounds and are involved in all different fields and levels of study at Queen's. The unique personal strengths and experiences which each instructor brings to the program are a big part of what makes us such a vibrant and successful organization.

Please note that our swim buddies are recruited and teach strictly on a volunteer basis and do not receive monetary compensation of any kind. They may not be trained as formal swim instructors or lifeguards.

Instructors are expected to be present at the pool 5-10 minutes before lessons start and then to work with their assigned student in the pool for 30 minutes to an hour each week, for a 10-week session. Since the same child and instructor are paired together for an entire session, it is imperative that instructors do not miss any lessons to allow for continuity of instruction and to help build a bond of trust and reliability between student and teacher!


In addition to strong swimming skills, qualified applicants will have:

  • Teaching experience (preferably, but not necessarily, swimming-related)
  • Experience working with children
  • Experience working with persons with disabilities


Because SWAM is a non-certificate program, possession of valid certifications (such as NLS or WSI) is not a formal requirement to becoming an instructor (although it is a strong asset). A fully certified lifeguard is always on duty during lessons.


All instructors must have a valid Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector. CRCs must be filed no earlier than 6 months prior to the lessons start date to be accepted. 

CRCs must be completed before the beginning of the first lesson ( Your application will not be processed without the submission of a police check.


Swim Buddy applications are currently closed for the Winter 2024 session. Applications will reopen in September 2024. 


Instructor Testimonials

“I love the casual and comfortable environment that S.W.A.M. provides. We are a team who not only supports one another, but also the children and the families we meet. It is a time full of fun and learning for both the swimmers and the instructors.”


“I’m a fairly new instructor with S.W.A.M. and I love it. It’s a great way to help out the community and get to know some amazing kids. The people I work with are all so nice and helpful and between them and the enthusiastic kids every minute of it is a blast. There’s no feeling that compares to when one of the sweet kids gets excited because they learned a new skill or are doing something they love.”