"A SKILLED SWIMMER IS A SAFE SWIMMER"


Choosing The Correct Skill Level

This is a guide highlighting the skills of each level. Please use the entire skills checklist under each level to determine the appropriate level for your child. NOVA lessons are skill based. Please consult the lessons director if you have any questions about proper placement for your swimmer.

 

Swimmers must be 3 years and older and absolutely potty trained (no swim diapers). Some swimmers may benefit from beginning group lessons at 3.5.

Level 1/Preschool: Swimmers who have never had lessons or are not comfortable doing the skills listed below. No goggles are allowed.

Skills needed to progress to level 2:

  • Gets face / eyes wet unassisted – teach to blink afterwards
  • Blows bubbles (does not hold nose)   
  • Submerges head completely underwater willingly* and blows bubbles without instructor (holding the wall) 
  • Willingly* and comfortably floats on back with or without instructor’s help (ears in)
  • Pushes from wall to instructor and instructor to wall on stomach
  • Kicks on kickboard willingly*, but with help – teach proper hand position (straight arms, hands holding top)   
  • Kicks on back willingly*, but with help and support (arms at side)
  • Jumps from the side (gutter) of pool to instructor  

Level 2/Advanced preschool:  Swimmers who are able to perform Level 1 skills.

Skills needed to progress to level 3:

  • Repetitive bubble blowing 5 consecutive times with head entirely submerged (first with instructor, then holding wall)
  • 25 yards proper freestyle kicking on a kickboard without an instructor- no scissor/bicycle kicks
  • 25 yards proper backstroke kick with arms at side without an instructor- again, no scissor/bicycle kicks
  • Streamlines to and from the wall, unassisted- face in with bubbles, kicking and proper arms
  • Retrieves object 3 feet underwater with bubbles
  • Jumps from side, surfaces and kicks on back to instructor the width of 2 lanes  

Level 3: Swimmers who are able to perform Level 2 skills.

Skills needed to progress to level 4:

  • 25 yards rifle drill backstroke unassisted
  • 25 yards each: kicking on left and right side with an extended arm (freestyle breathing position) unassisted   
  • 25 yards L and R side extended arm kicking with rotational breathing (rolling from side to stomach 6 kicks each with stationary arms and bubbles and then back to the breathing position)
  • Retrieves object from pool bottom 
  • Proper breathing; inhaling through mouth, exhaling through nose
  • Jumps from starting block unassisted and kicks on back to the instructor
  • Jumps from starting block unassisted and streamlines to instructor then back to the wall

Level 4: Swimmers who are able to perform Levels 2 and 3 skills.

Skills needed to progress to level 5:

  • Single arm catch up freestyle with rotary breathing, unassisted
  • 2 arm catch up freestyle with rotary breathing, unassisted (after single arm)
  • 3 count catch up freestyle with bi-rotary breathing, unassisted (after 2 arm)
  • Repetitive bubble blowing, inhaling through mouth, exhaling through nose
  • Flips in water    
  • Dives from side    
  • Retrieves objects from pool bottom    
  • 25 yards butterfly tipping (3 tips/1 breath-arms at side) – no freestyle/scissor kicking    
  • 25 yards streamline kicking on back    
  • Continued proficiency in rifle drill backstroke

Level 5: Swimmers who are able to pass Level 3 and 4 skills.

Skills needed to progress to Strokes School or Novice Prep:

  • Transition to backstroke swim from rifle drill backstroke
  • Backstroke count using flags  
  • Transition to freestyle swim from catch up freestyle   
  • Flip Turns (freestyle)   
  • 25 yards legal breaststroke kick with kickboard   
  • 25 yards legal breaststroke (2 kick/1 pull with arms with glide)  
  • 25 yards legal breaststroke (1 kick/1 pull with arms with glide)   
  • 25 yards 2 tip butterfly with arms  
  • Streamline diving from block  

 

Levels After Level 5 Lessons / Evaluations

The following levels after Level 5 lessons are under the NOVA lessons program. There are different options for swimmers whether the desire is to join the team or to continue to work on stroke and skill improvement and endurance in a twice weekly practice.

Registration is through the lessons office. There is not the commitment of the swim team (contracts, volunteer hours, meets, etc.).

NOVA Strokes School:

NOVA Strokes School Jr.

  • This is for swimmers 8 years old and younger. Swimmers graduated from Level 5 lessons or were evaluated by a coach. Swimmers will continue to work on their strokes and techniques in a swim practice type setting. 1 hour long.​ 

NOVA Strokes School Sr. 

  • This is for swimmers 9 years and older who were graduated from Level 5 lessons or were evaluated by a coach. Swimmers will continue to work on their strokes and techniques in a swim practice type setting. 1 hour long. 

          Novice Prep

  • This is for the swimmer 7 years and younger who has passed the skills of Level 5 and has been evaluated by a coach and is ready to prepare for the swim team (Novice Silver). Continued and new skills and techniques will be taught for the transition to the team. 1 hour long. 

          Strokes & Conditioning Group:

  • This is for swimmers 11 years old and older that have been evaluated by a coach to join the swim team but need some more stroke, skill, endurance and speed development. 1 hour  15 minutes long.

*Please note that if a swimmer is placed in the incorrect level we will do our best to find a slot in that session for them in the correct level, but we cannot guarantee it. Placing a swimmer in a level that they are not ready for is not appropriate and will not accelerate progression in our program. Swimmers that have not been in the water for several months will lose skills they may have mastered before, so enrolling in a level below is usually appropriate.

Thank you for your interest in SwimNOVA Lessons!

NOVA's Lessons Program is supported by our sponsor