TAISM Learn to Swim

The purpose of the Learn to Swim program is to teach people how to be safe in, on or around water and to teach individuals of different ages and abilities how to swim.  Programming for people with different skill levels is a key component.  In a logical progression, the program covers the knowledge and skills needed for aquatic skill development.  As participants develop these skills, they will become safer and better swimmers.

The Learn to Swim program teaches aquatic and personal water safety skills in a logical progression.  It consists of six levels.  Participants in Level 1 are oriented to the aquatic environment and gain some basic skills in each category:

  • Water Entry and Exit
  • Breath Control and Submerging
  • Buoyancy
  • Changing Direction and Position
  • Treading
  • Swim on Front, Back and Side
  • Water Safety 

Throughout the levels, participants build on their basic skills to learn various propulsive movements on the front, back and side.  As the levels increase, participants learn to refine the different strokes and build endurance.  Each level includes exit skills assessments that put together many of the skills learned in the level.

Level 1: Safety and Basics

The objectives of Level 1 are to learn basic personal water safety information and skills, to help participants feel comfortable in the water and to enjoy the water safely.  In Level 1, participants learn elementary aquatic skills.  At this level, participants start developing positive attitudes, good swimming habits and safe practices in and around the water.  

Level 2: Fundamental Aquatic Skills

The objective of Level 2 is to give participants success with fundamental skills.  Participants learn to float without support and to recover to a vertical position.  This level marks the beginning of true locomotion skills.  Participants further develop simultaneous and alternating arm and leg actions on the front and back that lay the foundation for future strokes.  As in all levels, participants learn additional safety skills and improve comprehension of previous knowledge.

Level 3: Stroke Development

The objective of Level 3 is to build on previously learned skills by providing additional guided practice.  Participants learn to survival float and swim the front crawl (freestyle) and elementary backstroke.  In addition, participants are introduced to the scissors and dolphin kicks, and build on the fundamentals of treading water.  Participants also learn rules for headfirst entries and begin to learn to enter the water headfirst from a seated or kneeling position at poolside.  Additional safety skills and messages will also be presented.  

Level 4: Stroke Improvement

The objectives of Level 4 are to develop participants’ confidence in the strokes learned thus far and to improve other aquatic skills.  In Level 4 participants improve their skills and increase their endurance by swimming familiar strokes (freestyle and elementary backstroke) for greater distances.  Participants add the arms to the scissors kick for the sidestroke.  Participants also start to learn the back crawl (backstroke), breaststroke, and butterfly, and the basics of turning at a wall.

Level 5: Stroke Refinement

The objectives of Level 5 are the coordination and refinement of strokes.  Participants refine their performance of ALL the strokes (freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke, elementary backstroke, and sidestroke) and increase their distances.  Flip turns on the front and back are also introduced. 

Level 6: Swimming and Skill Proficiency

The objectives of Level 6 are to refine strokes so participants swim them with more ease, efficiency, power and smoothness over greater distances.  Level 6 also introduces other aquatic activities and offers two options – Personal Water Safety and Fitness Swimmer.  These options focus on preparing participants for other aquatic activities such as competitive swimming.  This level can be customized to meet the objectives of the participants and participants can repeat it to focus on different goals each time.

Registration Procedures

Three times a year on Saturday mornings, TAISM conducts a registration process for both new swimmers and continuing swimmers. Only TAISM students are eligible to sign up for the swim classes (siblings not attending TAISM are not eligible).  We follow the American Red Cross Learn to Swim program and classes will be offered from Level 1 to Level 6.   High School students are the instructors for the swim lessons.  They participate in instructor training sessions, and are supported by the program supervisors as they teach.

Please note it may take a student more than one session in a particular level to pass the level and move to the next level. The HS student instructors are following a skills checklist for each level and they will not pass a student unless the student has met the criteria for each skill. Students who have been asked to continue at a specific level should sign up for a “continuing” class.  Students who are new to the program, or have passed a level, should sign up for classes that do not specify “continuing”.

Please see the schools’ weekly bulletins for more information regarding Learn to Swim.

Cori Lee,  TAISM Aquatics Coordinator

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