Learn to Swim Levels

Learn to Swim Level Descriptions

Lessons are designed in progressive levels. At each level, new skills are introduced and previously learned skills are reviewed. The prerequisite for each level is successful completion of the preceding level or instructor approval.  Each level is described in detail below. The instructor will evaluate your child at the first lesson and place them in the appropriate group. The coaching staff will always have the final decision on level placement. This process is both in the best interest and for the safety of your child. Parents should keep in mind that children develop swimming skills at different rates. Avoid putting pressure on achievement; encourage your child to enjoy swim lessons and take pride in personal success!

Level Requirements Description Learning Objectives
Level 1 No swimming skills required. Introduction to Water Skills, children are introduced to basic skills as the foundation for future skills. It is common for children to participate in several sessions of Level 1 before they successfully demonstrate each skill. That is okay! It is not important how quickly they move through a level, but that they acquire each skill.
  • Enter and exit water using ladder, steps or side
  • Blow bubbles through mouth and nose
  • Bobbing
  • Open eyes under water and retrieve submerged objects
  • Front and back glides and floats
  • Recover to vertical position
  • Roll from front to back and back to front
  • Tread water using arm and hand actions
  • Alternating and simultaneous leg actions on front and back
  • Combined arm and leg actions on front and back
  • Learn how to stay safe, including recognizing an emergency and knowing how to call for help
  • Learn how to stay safe in, on and around the water, including the use of a life jacket, recognizing lifeguards and sun safety
Level 2 Passed Level 1 or instructor approval Fundamental Aquatic Skills builds on skills learned in Level 1. Instructors follow a plan to introduce new swimming and water safety skills and build on previously learned skills.
  • Enter water independently by jumping or stepping from the side.
  • Exit water independently using a ladder or side, Submerge entire head (5 seconds)
  • Blow bubbles, submerging head in a rhythmic pattern (bobbing) (5 times)
  • Open eyes underwater, pick up a submerged object in shallow water (3 times)
  • Show comfort maintaining a front float position with face in the water (5 seconds)
  • Recover from a front float to a standing position
  • Demonstrate a front glide (2 body lengths)
  • Float in a face-down position (jellyfish float) (5 seconds)
  • Show comfort maintaining a back float position (5 seconds)
  • Recover from a back float to a standing position while unsupported
  • Demonstrate a back glide (2 body lengths)
  • Change direction of travel while paddling on front or back
  • Roll over from front to back and from back to front
  • Tread water, using arm and leg motions, in chest-deep water
  • Swim on front using any combination of arm and leg actions while unsupported (15 feet)
  • Swim on back using any combination of arm and leg actions (15 feet)
  • Swim on side using an alternating or simultaneous leg action (5 feet)
  • Discuss water safety rules, how to use a life jacket and move in the water while wearing a life jacket
  • Discuss how to recognize a swimmer in distress and Demonstrate how to get help
Level 3 Passed Level 2 or instructor approval Students will continue to build on previous arm and leg movement to begin swimming front and back crawl. Side breathing will be addressed as well as treading water.
  • Enter water by jumping from the side
  • Headfirst entries from the side in sitting and kneeling positions
  • Bobbing while moving toward safety
  • Rotary breathing
  • Survival float
  • Back float
  • Change from vertical to horizontal position on front and back
  • Tread water
  • Flutter, scissor, dolphin and breaststroke kicks on front
  • Front crawl and elementary backstroke
  • Learn to look carefully before entering the water
  • Learn to perform simple non-swimming assists
  • Learn to recognize, prevent and respond to cold water emergencies
Level 4 Passed Level 3 or instructor approval Stroke development and endurance will be focused on in this level. Children will swim longer distances of front and back crawl and elementary backstroke, breaststroke, sidestroke and butterfly will be introduced.
  • Headfirst entries from the side in compact and stride positions
  • Swim under water
  • Feet first surface dive
  • Survival swimming
  • Front crawl and backstroke open turns
  • Tread water using 2 different kicks
  • Front and back crawl, elementary backstroke, breaststroke, sidestroke and butterfly
  • Flutter and dolphin kicks on back
  • Learn to look carefully before entering the water
  • Learn what to think about and do when exhausted or caught in a dangerous situation
  • Learn to perform simple non-swimming assists
  • Learn about recreational water illnesses and how to prevent them

Level 5

The Novice Program


Passed Level 4 or instructor approval Level 5 is also referred to as our Novice Swim Class. Novice swim classes are typically offered in the fall and winter of each season. Please click here for more information.
  • Demonstrate a shallow dive, glide two body lengths and begin any front stroke
  • Swim underwater (15 yards)
  • Demonstrate a tuck and pike surface dive, submerging completely
  • Demonstrate a survival float (2 minutes)
  • Demonstrate a back float (2 minutes)
  • Demonstrate a flip turn while swimming on front
  • Demonstrate a flip turn while swimming on back
  • Tread water using two different kicks (scissors, modified breast, or rotary kick) (2 minutes)
  • Demonstrate the following strokes:
    • Front crawl 50 yards
    • Back Crawl 50 yards
    • Butterfly 25 yards
    • Breaststroke 25 yards
    • Elementary backstroke 25 yards
    • Sidestroke 25 yards
    • Demonstrate survival swimming (2 minutes)
    • Demonstrate rescue breathing

Certification Requirements (aka "Club Ready")
Successfully complete the following exit skills assessment:
  1. Perform a shallow dive into deep water, swim front crawl 50 yards, maintain a back float position for 2 minutes in deep water (float or scull) and swim elementary backstroke for 25 yards.
  2. Swim breaststroke for 25 yards, tread water for 2 minutes and swim back crawl for 50 yards.