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Level 1:
Introduction To Water Skills

     Ages: 3-4 Years | Parents Participation: No

This class is a beginning introduction to water for any child who is comfortable in a small group class, independent of their parent/guardian. The curriculum focuses on water safety skills, body comfort and general movement in the water with instructor support. Participants will be asked to put their face in and blow bubbles, float on their back and front (supported) and try new things!

LEVEL 1 OBJECTIVES

  1. Blow steady bubbles through mouth and nose

  2. Float on the front supported

  3. Float on the back supported

  4. Glide on front supported

  5. Kick on the back supported

  6. Kick on the front supported

 Level 1:  Children in level 1 range from being nervous or uncomfortable (not willing to put their face in the water/ new to group activities) all the way to willing to go underwater, blow bubbles and kick independently on a barbell.

 

The purpose of Level 1 is to get a child to be comfortable in the water. The skills that need to be covered are important because they will prove the child’s comfort-level. The current level placements are very vast and cover a lot of skills- often reaching far outside the comfort of most younger or nervous children. Level 1 should deal with motor skills, physical development, and mental development. Skills should be simpler and match the physical and mental capabilities of 3 and 4 year-olds or weak swimmers.

 

How do we know when a child is comfortable in the pool? The only things that should be covered in both Level 1A and Level 1B should follow:

  • Entering the pool

  • Bubbles

  • Submersion

  • Leaving the bench

  • Motor Skills: Arm movement and leg movement

  • Floating

 

There is a huge leap between 1A and 1B, which is why Levirey still has 7 and 8 year-olds in Level 1B, when in most programs they would be in a high second or low third level class. The current levels seem to jump here and there and do not focus on proper skill-levels of the ages they are targeting.

 

1A                                                                     

Entering/Exiting the pool by stairs or side             

Bubbles with mouth

Head fully submerge 2x (bobs)

Push off bench to instructor

Front float (face in) supported 3 sec.

Front crawl arm action supported

Front kicking supported

Back crawl arm action supported

Back kicking supported

Back float supported 


 

1B

Entering/Exiting the pool by one’s self

Bubbles with nose and mouth

Fully submerge self 3 seconds

Front float—5 seconds, unsupported

Front glide—2 body lengths, unsupported

Front crawl arms and kicking, supported

Retrieve object from bench, face in

Back float—5 seconds, unsupported

Back crawl arms and kicking, supported

Jump into pool assisted with submersion

TIPS:

  • HEAD UP at all times so that they can breathe comfortably. We want to be sure they can reach the wall or the lane line with their face out of the water if, for some reason, they get scared.  

  • ALWAYS KICK.  Most of the time they forget to kick while moving their hands. Coordinating the two movements is the hardest part of this drill. However, if they do not kick or scoop, it will be much harder for them to move forward.

  • ALWAYS KEEP HANDS IN THE WATER. This is not freestyle! It is not supposed to be! Even for an adult it is very hard to swim with arms out of the water; imagine how difficult it is for a little child! ALWAYS KEEP HANDS IN THE WATER!!!


 

COMMON MISTAKES

UNSTEADY BUBBLES: This is a sign of not being very with comfortable breathing. Again, this is the foundation of swimming. If they have problems now, they will struggle even more in the future. Reinforce the concept of blowing steady bubbles everyday until they can do it easily and remain relaxed.

 

CYCLING: Physically position the legs straight to make them aware of that position. For a strong and correct kick, legs should be straight but not stiff (they can bend their knees slightly but do not tell them, they will do it themselves).

 

TOES NOT POINTED: Physically position the toes and make them aware of that position. If their feet are flexed and their toes are pointing at the ceiling, they will not apply pressure on the water and they will not move. Remember, we move in the water because we press the water and in response out body moves forward, away from the pressure. 

CHEST/BELLY/CHIN/FEET ARE LOW IN THE WATER: Proper body position in the water is ESSENTIAL! If they drop their chin, their chest will drop, their belly will follow and their feet will sink. This is not how we want to teach students to use their bodies. Again, a proper body alignment will reduce friction (drag) in the water, and they will move through the water more easily.

 

CHIN TOO CLOSE TO CHEST: This can happen when floating/swimming on the back. See explanation above.

 

NECK IS NOT EXTENDED: This can occur when floating on their front. As I mentioned before, a proper body position will make their swimming much easier. When floating on their front, just remind them that they should be looking straight down at the bottom of the pool.

 

EXERCISES TO BOOST THEIR CONFIDENCE

 

  • Push off (on both the back and front with the floating device they are using at the point)

    • have the children place their feet on the wall and push off with their legs on their front and/or back.

  • “War of splashes”

    • see who can make the biggest splashes

    • soak the instructor

  • Dive in (in soldier position)

    • feet first, have them jump into the water with hands at their sides

  • “It’s raining”

    • splash the children with the water

  • Retrieve objects 

    • use sinking toys with the children and practice going underwater (with bubbles!)

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