Learn to Swim Program

The American Red Cross offers six comprehensive course levels that teach you, your child or other family members how to swim skillfully and safely. The prerequisite for each level is the successful demonstration of the skills from the preceding level, except for Level 1, which has no prerequisite. Each level of Learn-to-Swim includes training in basic water safety and helping a swimmer in distress, in addition to the skills outlined below:

Parent/Child, Pre-School I, II, and III
Builds swimming readiness by emphasizing fun in the water. Parents and children participate in several guided practice sessions that help children learn elementary skills, including water entry, bubble blowing, front kicking, back floating, underwater exploration and more. Once children can perform basic skills without parental assistance, they may begin Learn-to-Swim courses. Children ages 3 – 5 should register for the preschool class.

Level 1 – Introduction to Water Skills
  • 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 movement
  • Use life jacket
Level II – Fundamental Aquatic Skills
  • 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 III – Stroke Development
  • Jump into deep water from side
  • Bob with the head fully submerged
  • Perform survival float
  • Butterfly – kick and body motion
  • 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 and object
  • Perform front and back glide
  • Perform front and back crawl
  • Perform a reaching assist

Level IV – Stroke Improvement
  • Perform shallow dive or dive from stride position
  • Perform open turns on front and back using any stroke
  • Swim underwater
  • Tread water using sculling arm motions and kicks
  • Perform feet-first surface dive
  • Use safe diving rules
  • Perform a throwing assist
  • Perform compact jump into water from a height while wearing a life jacket
  • Care for conscious choking victim
  • Perform front and back crawl, breaststroke, butterfly, elementary backstroke, swim on side using scissor-like kick

Level V – Stroke Refinement
  • Tread water with two different kicks
  • Learn survival swimming
  • Perform rescue breathing
  • Perform the following:
Standing dive Tuck surface dive
Pike surface dive Butterfly
Front flip turn Backstroke flip turn
Elementary backstroke Tuck surface dive
Front and back crawl Sidestroke
Shallow dive, glide two body lengths and begin any front stroke

Level VI – Swimming and Skill Proficiency
Level 6 is designed with “menu” options that focus on preparing students to participate in more advanced courses such as:
  • Personal Water Safety
  • Fitness Swimming