D128 Swim School Level Descriptions

Level 1 - Going Underwater & Support

Everyone needs to start somewhere. In swimming, the first essential skill upon which all others are formed is going underwater. If you do not put your face in the water, you cannot do any of the other strokes, or swim efficiently.  The skills taught and tested for in this level include:

  • Going underwater unassisted
  • Supported front float with face in the water
  • Supported front glide with face in the water
  • Supported back float with ears in the water
  • Supported back glide with ears in the water
  • Go underwater, then stand up on own

A significant portion of this level will be spent playing games, singing songs, and doing activities that expose swimmers to the pool environment; use the wall, stand on the bench, use the ladder or stairs, entering and exiting the water, etc.

Register online for level 1


Level 2 - Basic Streamlines, Freestyle & Backstroke

Swimmers should be comfortable standing in water on a bench, understand language, and have control of their limbs, and ability to follow directions. Swimmers must be able to go underwater repeatedly on their own, and be comfortable doing things with the instructor.  The skills taught and tested for in this level include:

  • Streamline 1 body length on both front and back
  • Streamline and then freestyle arms for 3 - 5 strokes
  • Streamline and then backstroke for 3 - 5 strokes
  • Introduction to butterfly kick
  • Introduction to breaststroke kick

 After the swimmer goes underwater in level 1, we introduce a huge amount of opportunities to flatten the body horizontally to move through the water well.  Gliding and horizontal forward progress is the first step in learning to swim efficiently.  Level 2 focuses on teaching swimmers to move through the water efficiently and well in order to establish habits and techniques that swimmers can draw on naturally without thought.

Register online for level 2


Level 2A - Advanced Streamlines, Freestyle & Backstroke

Once a swimmer is comfrotable performing a basic streamline and taking 3 - 5 strokes unassisted, it's time to master these skills and begin to increase the lengths of the streamlines and stroke count.  The skills taught and test for in this level include:

  • Streamline 3 body lengths on both front and back
  • Streamline and then freestyle arms for 3 or more body lengths
  • Streamline and then backstroke for 3 or more body lengths
  • Breathing to the side and/or bilateral breating
  • Introduction to flip turns

Register online for level 2A 


Level 3 - Breathing, Breaststroke & Butterfly

Swimmers in level 3 should be comfortable going underwater on their own, gliding through the water on their front and back without support, and understand the concept of using their arms and feet to provide propulsion, or forward movement through the water.  The skills taught and tested for in this level include:

  • Freestyle for 10 yds with breathing
  • Backstroke for 10 yds with body at the surface
  • Basic breaststroke arms ("11, Y, Eat, Reach")
  • Breaststroke kick on edge of pool
  • Butterfly arms

To swim freestyle well, it requires the swimmer to maintain a straight narrow body line while kicking and moving their arms in a specific path. The head should be looking down at the bottom of the pool, and only turning to the side to breathe.  The swimmer should not be lifting the head to breathe as it interrupts the body line, sinks the legs, and ruins the balance of the body.  For breaststroke, we introduce “11, Y, Eat, and Reach” as the precursor to swimming breaststroke. This is more of a simple choreography versus a swimming stroke. Propulsion, movement, and “swimming breaststroke” come later after effective use of the breaststroke kick.  Finally, we introduce butterfly arms like we do breaststroke arms. We want to see a motion done on deck, or in the water with little regard to “swimming” and more focus on the arms traveling through the specific path. In this level, breaststroke arms and butterfly arms are done as motions, as traveling movements and not actual swimming to make oneself move through the water. Instead they should be like dance moves, or a choreography where the arms move without providing forward movement.

Register online for level 3


Level 4 - Distance, Competitive, Individual Medley (IM)

At this point, in level 4, swimmers need to be comfortable moving in the water independently. They should be able to swim freestyle with breathing to the side for at least five to ten body lengths without stopping. Generally, it does not have to be a perfect swim, where the face is only aimed down and breath rotating to the side, but it does need to be done well for short distances. Here, in level 4, we begin instruction on longer swims, introduce drills, and begin swimming breaststroke and butterfly.  The skills taught and tested for in this level include:

  • Freestyle for 25 yds. with bilateral breathing
  • Backstroke for 25 yds. with body at the surface
  • Beginning breaststroke including a streamline, pull, and kick
  • Beginning buterfly including a streamline, pull, and kick
  • Complete a 50 yard continuous swim of freestyle or backstroke

In this level we learn to swim freestyle and backstroke well for prolonged periods. Attention is placed on swimming with efficiency, strength, and breathing with ease. At this point we will begin layering in swimming drills usually reserved for swim teams.  Secondary to freestyle, backstroke and increasing distance, we maintain short distance skill work with breaststroke and butterfly and work on the beginning stages of incorporating propulsion in the water.

Register online for level 4