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Swim America Lessons

Our lesson program follows the ASCA Swim America lesson curriculum. The outline below describes each level and the qualifications within that level that are necessary for graduation to the next level. Final lesson placements are subject to either a manager or instructor's discretion, as we want to ensure each child within our program is going to be successful each step of the way in our learn to swim program. If you have any questions about our curriculum, advancement criteria, or level placement determinations, please contact us at [email protected].


Level 1: Bubbles

This station is for nervous or beginner students. It includes an introduction to the basic skills necessary for swimming. We work on gradual water adaptation, movement in the water, breath-holding and release, submersions of the face, opening eyes underwater, blowing bubbles, bobbing with bubbles, and air exchange. Swimmers will gain confidence and master submerging their faces in the water. Swimmers advance when they can do 10 relaxed bobs with air exchange.

  • Gradual water adaptation
  • Movement in the water
  • Breath-holding and release
  • Submersion of the face
  • Opening eyes underwater
  • Blowing bubbles with mouth and nose
  • Bobbing with bubbles and air exchange
  • 10 relaxed bobs with air exchange


Level 2: Floats

This station is for swimmers who are comfortable holding their breath under the water and doing 10 relaxed bobs with air exchange. Swimmers will be taught to front float and recover, front glide and recover, back float and recover, and back glide and recover. Additionally, students will learn how to safely enter the water. Swimmers advance when they can front and back glide for 5 seconds and recover. 

  • Front float with recovery
  • Front glide with recovery
  • Back float with recovery
  • Back glide with recovery
  • Learn how to safely enter the water
  • Front glide (5s) and recovery
  • Back glide (5s) and recovery


Level 3: Kickers

This level is for swimmers that know how to comfortably hold their breath, blow bubbles, and float on their stomach and back independently. Swimmers will be taught kicking skills with front and back glides. Swimmers advance when they can kick 15 feet on their front using a streamline and 15 feet on their back using both the flutter and dolphin kicks. 

  • Streamlines
  • Porpoising/Dolphin Kick
  • Front glide with kicking
  • Back glide with kicking
  • Flutter kick on front (in streamline; 15 feet)
  • Dolphin kick on front (in streamline; 15 feet)
  • Flutter kick on back (15 feet)
  • Dolphin kick on back (15 feet)


Level 4: Big Arms

This station is appropriate for swimmers who have mastered breath control, body position, and kicking on their front and back on top of the water. Swimmers will be taught to roll over front to back and back to front, breathing position for freestyle (side-glide), and the crawl arm stroke with catch up. Swimmers will master short front crawl swim and advance by performing side-glide kick for 20 feet and crawl stroke for 20 feet. 

  • Finning and sculling
  • Roll over from front to back and back to front
  • Side-glide kicking
  • Crawl arm stroke with catch up
  • Side glide kicking (20 feet)
  • Crawl stroke (no breathing; 20 feet)


Level 5: Freestyle

This class is for swimmers who can swim on top of the water, but who stop when they need to take a breath. Swimmers will be taught back crawl stroke (backstroke) and will master front crawl stroke (freestyle) with bilateral side breathing. Swimmers will advance by swimming freestyle with a minimum of 5 side breaths and kick 3 yards in a streamline on both their front and back. 

  • Freestyle with bilateral breathing
  • Backstroke introduction
  • Front crawl stroke with bilateral breathing (30 feet; 5 breaths)
  • Kick 3 yards in a streamline on front
  • Kick 3 yards in a streamline on back


Level 6: Backstroke

This level is appropriate for swimmers who have mastered freestyle swimming with continuous side breathing for a short distance and can swim on their backs. Swimmers will learn how to tread water, dive from the sitting, kneeling, and standing positions, and work on their endurance in freestyle. Swimmers will advance when they swim backstroke with correct body position, strong kicks, and quick arm rotation.

  • Extended freestyle swimming
  • Advanced backstroke
  • Treading water
  • Sitting Dive
  • Kneeling Dive
  • Standing Dive
  • Completed 3-dive progression
  • Swim freestyle 25 yards with side breathing
  • Swim backstroke 10 yards
  • Tread water for 1 minute


Level 7: Breaststroke

This station is for students who have passed stations 1-6 and have mastered freestyle and backstroke. Swimmers will learn the breaststroke kick (up-out-around) and correct timing (pull-breathe-kick-glide) for breaststroke. Swimmers will advance when they demonstrate the legal form of breaststroke.

  • Breaststroke arms
  • Breaststroke kick (up-out-around-together)
  • Correct timing (pull-breathe-kick-glide)
  • Swims legal form of breaststroke for at least 20 feet
  • Swim freestyle for 50 yards
  • Swim backstroke for 25 yards


Level 8: Butterfly

This station is for swimmers who have successfully mastered freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke. In this class, swimmers will learn how to dolphin kick and the timing of the butterfly stroke. The butterfly stroke should have 2 visible kicks with one arm pull. Breathing should occur every other stroke.

  • Dolphin kick
  • Butterfly arms
  • Butterfly timing
  • Underwater dolphin kicks for 5 yards
  • Swim butterfly breathing every other stroke at least 10 yards
  • Swim freestyle 100 yards; min 50 yards with side breathing
  • Swim breaststroke for 25 yards


Level 9: Lifetime

Swimmers at this level should have mastered the four competitive strokes taught in Levels 5-8. This level introduces the "lifetime" strokes of sidestroke and elementary backstroke to swimmers. Instruction at this level will have an endurance focus to prepare for Level 10.

  • Sidestroke kick
  • Sidestroke swim
  • Elementary backstroke
  • Can demonstrate turns for all 4 strokes and Individual medley 
  • Swim freestyle for 200 Yards; min 75 yards with side breathing
  • Swim butterfly for 25 yards
  • Swim breaststroke for 50 yards
  • Swim elementary backstroke for 50 yards
  • Swim side stroke for 50 yards


Level 10: 300 Yards

This level is for swimmers who have passed stations 1-9 and can legally swim all 4 strokes. In this station, swimmers will gain endurance and fine-tune their strokes. Turns for all four strokes and individual medleys are learned at this level.

To graduate from level 10 and move on to Stingrays (10 & under), the swimmer must be able to complete a 100 IM, a 100 Freestyle, and a 50 of Butterfly, Backstroke, and Breaststroke with correct turns and without stopping.

To graduate from level 10 to Lionfish (11 & up), the swimmer must be able to complete a 200 IM, 300 Freestyle, and 100 Backstroke with correct turns and without stopping.

  • Extended swimming and technique refinement in all competitive strokes and turns.
  • 100/200 IM
  • 100/300 Freestyle
  • 50 Butterfly
  • 50/100 Backstroke
  • 50 Breaststroke
  • Must have correct turns and cannot stop


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