Swim Levels Explained
Level 1: Beginner (Average ages 2.5 years to 5 years)
Prerequisite: Child needs to be a minimum of 2.5 years old. If the child isn’t fully potty trained yet, an approved swim diaper should be used.
Primary Focus and Goals: This level is appropriate for kids who are uncomfortable in a pool environment and with water. Kids in this level are nervous about submerging their head underwater. It’s never easy to learn when you are scared, so we start out nice and slow with fun activities like little bucket showers, blowing bubbles, playing splash ball, etc. The goal of this class is to have the kids comfortably submerging themselves.
Skills Taught: Windshield Wipers (wiping water off face with hands), Blowing Bubbles, Splashy Kicks, Submerging
Level 2: Beginning + (Average ages 2.5 years to 6 years)
Prerequisite: Child should be able to fully submerge their face in the water, eyes and everything.
Primary Focus and Goals: In Beginning +, our kids are comfortable going underwater but don’t have any swimming skills beyond that. In this level we start teaching them the basics of movement thru the water. We go over the fundamentals of being “streamlined” and why it is important to keep your head in the water when swimming. By the end of the class the kids should be doing their “Big Arms/Splashy Kicks” (aka Freestyle) a few feet out to the teacher.
Skills Taught: Gliding, Splashy Kicks, Floating on Back, Jump in from side of pool, Big Arms
Level 3: Beginning Breather (Average ages 2.5 years to 6 years)
Prerequisite: Child should be able to do Freestyle (“Big Arms & Splashy Kicks”) with face in the water at least 2 feet thru water they cannot touch the bottom in.
Primary Focus and Goals: Beginning Breather is for our swimmers who keep getting farther and farther away from the wall, but don’t know what to do when they need air. We find that Side Breathing (how you normally take a breath when doing Freestyle) is harder for our smaller swimmers. We want the kids to feel confidant and relaxed about getting air before we start teaching them the fast way to do it. So we first teach our kids how to do a “Sea Otter Roll”, where they roll all the way onto their back, float, get air and then turn around to go again. By the end of this class, kids should know how to swim big arms/kicks, roll over when they need air then turn around and go again.
Skills Taught: “Sea Otter Roll”, Monkey/Airplane/Solider (elementary backstroke)
Level 4: Little Strokes (Average ages 3 years to 6 years)
Prerequisite: Child should be able to do Freestyle a few feet with face in the water and be able to roll over onto their back and float when they need air.
Primary Focus and Goals: In Little Strokes our little swimmers are finally crossing the distance of our pool using their big arms and Sea Otter rolls. We will introduce some backstroke to help the kids get more comfortable on their back. We also introduce flippers to help teach the kids the “tummy-butt” (dolphin kick) as another method to move thru the water, all the while practicing their rolls to get air. The goal of this class is to get them comfortably swimming the length of the pool unassisted using the rolls to get air.
Skills Taught: Butterfly, Backstroke
Level 5: Beginning Strokes (Average ages 5 years to 8 years)
Prerequisite: Child should be very comfortable in water they cannot touch the bottom in. Child should have also been introduced to Freestyle with the arms and the kicks.
Primary Focus and Goals: In Beginning Strokes our swimmers are zooming thru the water using their Freestyle. But for air, they are either rolling over onto their backs or picking their head up. In this level we teach the kids how to turn their head to the side and get a breath, Side Breathing. We will also work on Backstroke and Butterfly some more. The goal of this class is to get the kids to swim at least 2 laps using Freestyle with Side breathing with no help from the teacher.
Skills Taught: Freestyle with Side Breathing, Butterfly, Backstroke
Level 6: Strokes (Average ages 5 years to 10 years)
Prerequisite: Child should be able to swim Freestyle with side breathing for two laps of the pool unassisted. Child should have also been introduced to the backstroke and butterfly.
Primary Focus and Goals: In Strokes our swimmers are swimming further and further. In this level we perfect the three strokes they already know, and work their endurance. No longer swimming just one lap at a time, the kids start working on multiple lap sets. We also work out any kinks or bad habits the kids have in their strokes.
Skills Taught: Racing Dives, Open Turns
Level 7: Strokes + (Average ages 5 years to 10 years)
Prerequisite: Child should be able to swim at least 4 laps in a row of Freestyle with a decent amount of speed. Child should also be able to do multiple laps of Backstroke and Butterfly.
Primary Focus and Goals: In Strokes + we continue to build up the kids endurance, allowing them to swim greater distances. We also start teaching the kids Breaststroke (a very complicated stroke to do correctly). By the end of this class the kids should be adequate at all four competitive strokes: Freestyle, Backstroke, Butterfly and Breaststroke.
Skills Taught: Breaststroke
Level 8: Competition (Average ages 6 years to 10 years)
Prerequisite: Child should have adequate knowledge of all four competitive strokes: Freestyle, Backstroke, Butterfly and Breaststroke.
Primary Focus and Goals: For kids who eventually want to join Little/Junior Guards or a swim team. In this level we work on fine tuning all four of the strokes they know, as well as introducing racing aspects such as flip turns. By the end of this class the child should be ready to join a swim team or go out and swim 200 yards for Junior Guards!
Skills Taught: Fine mechanics of strokes, Racing Turns and Push Offs, Flip Turns