Swim Level Explanations

Level 1: Introduction to Water Skills

Purpose: Helps students feel comfortable in the water.
Level 1 participants learn to:

  • Enter and exit water safely
  • Open eyes underwater, pick up submerged object
  • Swim on front and back using arm and leg actions
  • Submerge mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Float on front and back
  • Follow basic water safety rules
  • Exhale underwater through mouth and nose
  • Explore arm and hand movements
  • Use a life jacket

Level 2: Fundamental Aquatic Skills

Purpose: Gives students success with fundamental skills.
Level 2 participants learn to:

  • Enter water by stepping or jumping from the side
  • Open eyes underwater, pick up a submerged object
  • Roll over from front to back, back to front
  • Swim on side
  • Exit water safely using ladder or side
  • Float on front and back
  • Tread water using arm and leg motions
  • Move in the water while wearing a life jacket
  • Submerge entire head
  • Perform front and back glide
  • Swim on front and back using combined strokes

Level 3: Stroke Development

Purpose: Builds on the skills in Level 2 through additional guided practice.
Level 3 participants learn to:

  • Jump into deep water from the side
  • Bob with the head fully submerged
  • Perform survival float
  • Butterfly—kick and body motion
  • Use Check-Call-Care in an emergency
  • Dive from kneeling or standing position
  • Use rotary breathing in horizontal position
  • Change from horizontal to vertical position on front and back
  • Perform the HELP and Huddle position
  • Submerge and retrieve an object
  • Perform front and back glide
  • Perform front and back crawl
  • Perform a reaching assist

Level 4: Stroke Improvement

Purpose: Develops confidence in the skills learned and improves other aquatic skills.
Level 4 participants learn to:

  • Perform shallow dive or dive from stride position
  • Perform open turns on front and back using any stroke
  • Perform the following: front and back crawl, breaststroke, butterfly, elementary

Backstroke, swim on side using scissors-like kick

  • Swim underwater
  • Tread water using sculling arm motions and kick
  • Perform feet-first surface dive
  • Use safe diving rules
  • Perform a throwing assist

Level 5: Stroke Refinement

Purpose: Provides further coordination and refinement of strokes.
Level 5 participants learn to:

  • Tread water with two different kicks
  • Learn survival swimming
  • Perform rescue breathing

Perform the following: standing dive; shallow dive, glide two body lengths and begin any front stroke; tuck surface dive; pike surface dive; front flip turn; backstroke flip turn; front and back crawl; butterfly; breaststroke; elementary backstroke; sidestroke

Level 6: Swimming and Skill Proficiency

Purpose: Refines the strokes so students swim them with ease, efficiency, power and smoothness over greater distances. Level 6 is designed with “menu” options that focus on preparing students to participate in more advanced courses, including the Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard Training courses. These options include:

  • Personal Water Safety
  • Fitness Swimming
  • Lifeguard Readiness
  • Fundamentals of Diving