Level One Exit Requirements

Hi All.

  In previous posts, we have looked at the performance and training set standards for levels advancement through to the highest level. Today, we are posting the exit requirements for our first level, Level One. Level One houses our Novice training group swimmers. It is arguably the most important level in the entire system. It is here where a child becomes more comfortable and confident in the water. It is also where they can form a lifelong love of the sport.

We want the children in an environment where they can explore, learn and grow as swimmers. We introduce skills based on the Blue Wave Stroke Scorecard. The Scorecard is a simple way to help swimmers in the more advanced levels gauge their progress. While we do not use the Scorecard to grade swimmers at this level, we do introduce the card’s important concepts and terminology. In addition to helping the new swimmers acquire important skills, the Scorecard is also a great way to ensure that we have continuity in instruction program-wide. I have included a pdf copy of the Scorecard in this post for your review.

Looking at the exit requirements for this level, it may seem easy. Please keep in mind, if we do not get the swimmers to fully internalize these skills and mindsets at this level, they will not be properly prepared to handle the challenges of the next one. Pushing a child into a situation they are not ready for can hamper their long term development.

Also keep in mind that no one element is more important than another. If a swimmer can perform all of the physical requirements, but can not work well with the other swimmers in their lane, they are not ready to advance. Every requirement needs to be met in order to move the the next level.

Rest assured. We do not want to stifle the progress of any of our swimmers. We want to see them progress and flourish. Our passion is helping people get better and better. If you have a question regarding your child’s Level assignment, ask your training group coach. If, after speaking with them, you still have a question, bring it to me personally.

Thank you in advance for taking the time familiarizing yourself with this material. When the swimmer, parent and coach are all on the same page, great things happen. All of this effort designing, tweaking and rolling out this system here at Blue Wave is to make sure your family has the best experience possible.

By the way, I have also included a pdf copy of the exit requirements for this level in this post as well. I suggest printing out a copy on posting it somewhere conspicuous for your child to see everyday.  I would post important phrases and goals on the inside of my closet door. It reminded me each day of what was important while I was getting ready for the day. We will place all of the exit requirements in prominent places at our pools as well.

Below are the exit requirements for Level One:


LEVEL ONE (exit requirements)


Swimmers come to Level One in a variety of ways. They may have completed a swim lesson program that is consistent with the exit requirements of the Red Cross’s Level Four class. Maybe they swam on a local summer league team. Others may have learned to swim on their own and want to see if swimming is a good fit for hem. Either way, the minimum standards to enter a level one training group is outlined below. We accept swimmers as young as five, as long as they have the an ability to listen and the basic interpersonal skills needed to work in an environment where the coach is mainly teaching from the deck, not in the water.

Basic Requirements For Entry To Level 1

  • Deep water bobbing (10x) (proper air exchange)

  • Floating (front & back)

  • Freestyle with rotary breathing, non stop 25 yards

  • Backstroke, non stop 25 yards

Our main objective at this stage is to get the swimmer comfortable with the long axis strokes The long axis strokes are freestyle and backstroke. We also introduce the basic concepts of the short axis strokes, breastroke and butterfly, at this stage as well. While we work on these skills, we also strive to increase each participant's comfort level and strength in water. Once they have met the criteria below, they may proceed to Level Two.


  • Swims 25yd of back & free (correct rhythm and breathing)

  • Understands and attempts basics of the butterfly & breast

  • Completes the full practice session without issue

  • Swims freestyle continuously for five (5) minutes without breaking form


  • Begins to use pace clock

  • Swimmer is ready when practice begins

  • The swimmer listens attentively while the coach is speaking


  • Knows "T" to an "I"

  • "5,5,5"

  • Bilateral Breathing (free)

  • Breathing Pattern (back)

  • Opposites as they apply to swimming, "pop the shoulder", "boil", etc (free & back)

  • Knows & d emonstrates the "4 Ps" (Arms)

  • Knows & demonstrates the difference between positive, neutral and negative head postion

  • Knows & d emonstrates proper rhythm in both long axis strokes (clap test)


  • Understands that there are different swimming speeds for different circumstances

  • Asks for advice from coach before a race and tries to do what is asked of him or her


PDF Links





The next post will include the exit requirements for Level Two. A quick note, Team Unify does not do a great job of formatting text in these posts. I try my best to fix the issues that arise. That said, sometimes it just does not want to play nicely with others. I apologize for any incorrect formatting that may result. Hopefully, the material will shine through.


See you at the pool - Rich