Understanding Swimming Levels

Swimming Levels

If you’re a new, or soon-to-be, swim parent you may be curious about what exactly swimming levels are and how they work.

In short, swimming levels are specific skill sets grouped together which swimmers practice & master over time.

You may be asking yourself if all swim levels are the same no matter the swim program and you’d be right to ask.

The truth is while many swim programs have different names for their levels they often require a similar set of skills.

So, what do swimming levels include? Let’s take a look:

Water Safety

The first 2 swimming levels are centered around water safety skills. Water safety skills include safe water entry, submersions, blowing bubbles underwater and back floating.

Swimmers begin learning stroke skills and techniques when they have first mastered these essential water safety skills. They are also the first set of skills used to evaluate new swimmers.

Stroke Technique

Once swimmers successfully demonstrate they are water safe they move through levels 4-6 and learn the four swimming strokes- Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Butterfly.

Swimming strokes are taught in this order and in a set of buildable skills.

What does that mean exactly? Well, let’s look at how we teach freestyle.

When teaching freestyle, we begin by focusing on rolling over for a breath, then side breathing to one side, then alternate side breathing. Big arms are added when the child can breathe independently, and freestyle kicks are worked on throughout the process with the aid of noodles, kickboards, barbells, and more.  

What happens if my child is the most advanced or the weakest swimmer in his/her class?

There is no limit to how long a swimmer can stay in a swimming level because the aim is for all swimmers to be happy and water safe.

If your swimmer is a champion in the water, their swim instructor will let you know how well your child is doing and that they’re ready to move to the next level.

If a child is on the weaker side of his or her class we always want the swimmers to stay at their current level and continue to build their skills until they are ready to move.  There is no rush when it comes to water safety!

But I just want my child to be water safe. I don’t care if they learn different strokes.

We think that is perfectly fine. Swimming levels evolve from teaching simple water safety skills to learning an extracurricular sport at Level 4.

At that point, many parents & swimmers re-evaluate whether they want to stay in a swim program and continue learning swimming as a sport.

ALL levels are active, healthy, confident building fun!

What happens when a swimmer has learned all of the strokes?

If a swimmer has a passion for swimming and has mastered all of the skills in a learn-to-swim program, their swim instructor will talk to you about joining a recreational swim team.

There are fantastic recreational swim teams across the country and the Piedmont Triad is no exception. We are always excited to see swimmers continue their passion on the next level!

Salem also offers preseason swimming for summer league athletes, which is perfect for getting your child ready for competition.

I hope this post provided a better understanding of what swimming levels are, how they work and what you should look for when deciding on your child’s swim program.

If you’re located in the Piedmont Triad and are thinking about signing your child up for a non-competitive learn-to-swim program, stop by or give us a call at (336) 765-4668.


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