Swim Instruction Level Descriptions

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American Red Cross Learn to Swim Program

Our core swim instruction program is designed to teach boys and girls ages 3 – 12, the basic skills of swimming and expand and refine them through a six level program. Our instructors teach the basic American Red Cross Swimming Certification Program. Instruction ranges from adjustment to the water through perfection of strokes and rescue skills. Each level has certain requirements the child must complete in order to be passed to the next level. After completing each level, the child receives a certification card and is able to begin the next level. Enrollment is limited in each class, based on the age of the child and the level of instructions. 


Inclement weather could cause all instruction to be cancelled. Lessons will not be made up. Below is a summary of skills needed to complete each level of instruction. More detailed information on completing each level is available at the time of registration.

Level Descriptions

13 - 18 months (Toddler) Parent/Child: Objective is to help participants feel comfortable in the water and to enjoy it safely. Basic swimming skills are taught.

19 - 36 months (Toddler) Parent/Child: Objective is to help participants feel comfortable in the water and enjoy it safely. Basic swimming skills are taught.

Level 1: Introduction to Water Skills:This is orientation to the aquatic environment. Children will learn how to get in and out of water, be introduced to water safety, learn how to submerge their face, front and back glides and floats. and begin learning how to alternate arm and leg actions on front and back.

Level 2: Fundamental Aquatic Skills: Children will learn how to fully submerge and hold breath under water, retrieve objects, float and bob up and down in water. They will begin to use a combined arm and leg actions on front and back and change direction of travel while swimming on front and back. Turning over front and back and back crawl action will also be introduced.

SUPER 2: Fundamental Aquatic Skills (5 yrs. & up): Children will continue to use the combined arm and leg action on front and back. Students will be introduced to pushing off and swimming with crawl action. Treading water and front/back glides and floats will be covered. Coordinating arm stroke with rotary breathing and kicking will also be introduced.

Level 3: Stroke Readiness: Children will learn how to jump into deep water and learn how to push off from wall. Coordinating arm stroke with rotary breathing and kicking will be reviewed and different types of kicks will be introduced. The elementary backstroke, turns, treading water, rescue breathing and safe diving rules will also be covered.

Level 4: Stroke Improvement: Front and back crawl for 25 yards will be worked on and elementary backstroke will be refined. Breast stroke and side stroke will be improved as well as introducing the butterfly. Diving from side of pool and water safety rules will be reviewed as well as treading water, sculling and turns from the wall.

Level 5: Stroke Refinement: All strokes including the butterfly and breaststroke will be reviewed and demonstrated for 25 – 50 yards. Flip turns on front and back will be introduced. Shallow dives and surface dives will also be reviewed. Treading water, the survival float, swimming under water and personal safety and rescue will continue to be reviewed and implemented.

Level 6: Personal Water Safety: All strokes will be reviewed and demonstrated for 500 yards. Turns for the sidestroke and breast stroke will be reviewed as well as the front and back flip turn for the crawl. Surface dives will be taught and participants must retrieve an object from the bottom. Survival swimming, survival floating, and basic safety for open water and boating will be covered. Participants must tread water for 3 minutes, kicking only.

Level 6: Fitness Swimming: All strokes will be reviewed and refined with endurance and stamina as a major focus. Flip turns and open turns will also be reviewed and the use of pull buoys and paddles will be introduced. Participants will learn how to calculate their target heart rate, how to use a pace clock and set up a fitness program for themselves. The use of fins, masks and snorkels will also be introduced.

Level 6: Intro to Competitive Swimming: This program will also focus on refining participant's competitive strokes and increasing speed techniques while having fun in the water!  Students must be proficient in freestyle and backstroke.  Each lesson will incorporate a technical component of swimming followed by a fitness element.