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Gerrish Swim School

When should my child learn to swim?

Gerrish Swim School offers lessons to children that are three years old and older. Once your child is in the water and capable of independent movement he or she is in danger of drowning. Initially, our program focuses on water safety techniques: floating, rolling over, and calling for help. Our goal is to teach children how to become safe and confident in the water. We accomplish this by teaching your child how to recover after being submerged in the water, float to the surface of the water, and signal for help. Becoming water safe is the foundational element of swimming. These skills help “buy time” for you, a caregiver, or a lifeguard to notice when your child is in danger. Studies have proven that water safety is instrumental in saving lives.

How do I know when my child knows how to swim?

Gerrish Swim School strives to teach your child how to be water safe and have stroke technique. The primary goal of our swim school is to teach a child how to sustain himself or herself in the water long enough to call for help or reach the edge of a pool. There are two forms of swimming: water safety and technical swimming. Water safety is when a child has learned the foundational elements of swimming like oxygen exchange (exhale used air and inhale fresh air), submersion, and floatation. To be considered water safe, your child needs to be able to comfortably recover after falling or being submerged in the water, and then be able to float and call for help. Technical swimming is considered competition ready where an individual can sustain themselves indefinitely in the water. To be considered competition ready the swimmer must be able to perform the four key stroke, freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly and swim unassisted for at least 200 yards using basic technique. To attain either of these skills is time consuming, but it can save your child’s life.

Below is a list of our Class Stages:

Stage 1: Blowing Bubbles – Ages 3 and over.  Swimmers learn how to blow bubbles, open their eyes, submerge their face, retrieve objects and basic air exchange. Moving in the water with comfort and full submersion of face must be completed to move to Stage 2.

Stage 2: Floats & Glides – Ages 3 and over must pass demonstration for Stage 1.  Swimmers learn to float on their back and front, streamline and progress from recovery to a float. The ability to float while holding a streamline must be completed to move to Stage 3.

Stage 3: Ready... Set... Kick! – Ages 3 and over must pass demonstration for Stage 2.  Stage 3 is where the swimmer learns the foundational skills in becoming a proficient swimmer. The swimmer will learn how to kick on their back and front in streamline, kick with a kick board, and rollover and float to facilitate oxygen exchange. Kicking unassisted for 15 feet must be completed to move to Stage 4.

Stage 4: Freestyle – Must pass demonstration for Stage 3. The swimmer will begin to learn how to tread water, scull, and side-glide kick (side crawl Freestyle). The primary goals during this stage are gaining comfort with the "deep end," and Freestyle with no breathing. 

Stage 5: Side-Breathing– Must pass demonstration for Stage 4.  Breathing for Freestyle is taught, and swimmers will learn to swim using side breathing for a minimum of 5 breaths. Swimming with 5 breaths and beginning Backstroke must be completed to move to Stage 6.   

Stage 6: Backstroke – Must pass demonstration for Stage 5.  Along with continued practice of Freestyle swimming skills, swimmers will learn to swim Freestyle for 25 yards, Backstroke for 15 feet, and Treading water for 1 minute. Diving will begin to be taught in the Sitting position. The primary goal of Stage 6 is swimming Freestyle for 25 yards.

Stage 7: Breaststroke– Must pass demonstration for Stage 6.  Swimmers will now be swimming Freestyle for at least 25 yards and Backstroke for 25 yards. Breaststroke kick and pull will be introduced. The primary goal in Stage 7 is swimming backstroke for 25 yards.

Stage 8: Butterfly– Must pass demonstration for Stage 7. Swimmers will now be swimming Freestyle for at least 25 yards, Backstroke for 25 yards and Breaststroke for 25 yards. Butterfly kick and arms will be taught along. 

Stage 9: Turns – Must pass demonstration for Stage 8.  The swimmer will now be able to swim a 100IM (swimming 25 yards in each of the four strokes), tread water for 1-2 minutes and kick for 50 yards. The primary goal in Stage 9 is learning the flip turn for Freestyle and Backstroke and the open turn for Breaststroke and butterfly.

Stage 10: Starts – Must pass demonstration for Stage 9.  In this final Stage swimmers will be able to swim a "mini practice," complete with a warm-up, main set, and cool-down that utilizes treading water, kicking, all four strokes and turns. The swimmer refines their turns and Kneeling, Standing and Diving block dives are taught.