Fundamentals of Swimming
Ages: 4-5 Years | Parents Off Pool Deck
This class directly progresses from level 1 and builds independence in water safety and basic skills. The swimmer will navigate underwater discovery, unsupported front/back float and breath awareness. The swimmer will comprehend their own ability around the water.
LEVEL 2 OBJECTIVES
Blow steady bubbles through nose
Float on the back unsupported
Float on the front unsupported
Kick on the back unsupported
Doggie paddle for 5 yards unsupported
Level 2: Children in level 2 range from high level of comfort and assisted independence with the instructor and teaching tools (capable of using our teaching platform and barbell independently) to basic freestyle swimming up to five yards with breathing.
Level 2 is being water-safe and strong enough to support one’s self in the water. While the above paragraph is correct, there are exceptions based on childs experience in the water. By the time children are done with Level 2B, they are usually strong enough to swim across the pool with minimal support
Again, the Level 2 ranges are huge and the leap from 2A to 2B is vast. 2A is a strange mix of skills one should already know how to do from passing Level 1B (example: streamline kicking supported regresses a child back to the current 1B where a child should already know to kick 5 yards alone), yet also brings in the very difficult motor skill of side-breathing and combined arms and legs for the elementary backstroke. 2B is often confused with 3A, where there should be a definite line of gaining water safe skills (2B) and Stroke Development (3A and 3B). With our current levels, both the Level 2 categories are already jumping into the Level 3 skills, when they should both focus on becoming independent.
Float facedown 10 seconds
Front glide with kick, 3 body lengths
Front crawl 5 yards
Retrieve object from pool bottom, supported
Tread water 5 seconds
Roll front to back/back to front w/ support
Back float 10 seconds
Back kicking, 3 body lengths
Back crawl 5 yards
Elementary backstroke arms supported
Front glide streamline w/ kick 5 yards
Front crawl with a breath, 10 yards
Move from horizontal to vertical/vertical to horizontal in water
Tread water 15 seconds
Change direction while swimming
Retrieve object from pool bottom unassisted
Back glide streamline w/kick 5 yards
Backstroke 10 yards
Elementary Backstroke arms, unassisted, 5 yards
Front crawl 5 yards, Roll onto back, backstroke 5 yards
OVERREACHING: when their hand enters past the line of the respective shoulder (directly over the swimmer’s head).
How to correct: A good way to solve it, is by having them swim the “double-arm backstroke.” Ask them to keep their hands close to one another when bringing them up and hold the streamline for a count of 3 seconds. By holding the streamline they will correct the faulty entry position.
STOP KICKING WHILE ARMS ARE IN MOTION: This is very common, especially with younger students. Remind them to make splashes the entire time.
ARMS ARE NOT EXTENDED: Sometimes they relax their arms when recovering. Remind them that they need to keep their arms straight.
THE HAND THAT IS ALONG THEIR SIDE IS SCULLING OR PADDLING. This is the sign of a imperfect body position. It also means that they are not supporting their body on the surface (their kick is a little weak). Tell them they cannot move their hand; it should be attached to their thigh. Remind them to kick harder and keep their belly up.
PULLING TOO DEEP: Most of the time, kids perform a complete circle with the arm. Therefore, the hand goes too deep and does not pull any water.
How to correct: Ask them to pull along their side with their fingers pointed out away from their side. ALWAYS GIVE PRECISE DIRECTIONS! “Here” -“there”-“this”-“that” do not make any sense to them. It is better to say: “fingers pointed toward the wall” or “down to the bottom”.
B. Lateral breathing on the front (supported):
This is one the most complex drills to master. A flawless kick and comfortable breathing are the two elements to build the stroke around.
Always remind your students to blow bubbles the entire time their head is in the water. This is VITAL! If they do not breathe out the same amount of air they breathe in, they will feel out of breath and will want to stop or take multiple inhalations (when their face is out of water). Instead, they just need to blow bubbles.
Grab the front of the kickboard with both hands, fingers curled over the end, kick with straight legs (arms are extended) and head up. They should have learned how to kick on the front in the previous level; DO NOT ASSUME anything; check their skill level before moving on! If necessary, reinforce the proper kick – better now than later.
Grab the kickboard at the bottom with fingers above and thumbs underneath the board, the arms are straight. Kick looking straight ahead (head above water) and blow bubbles looking down at the bottom of the pool. At first, they will want to lift their shoulders when performing this drill. It is extremely important that they learn that while the head moves, the shoulders should stay still.
REMEMBER: The head (chin) is the only part of their body that they should be moving (besides their feet).
Holding the kickboard with one hand (at the bottom, in the middle) and the other hand down at their side (attached to the thigh), keep both arms extended. Ask them to breathe in looking to one side and blow bubbles looking down with their face in the water. Make them practice on both sides (alternating looking left & down and looking right & down – one length per side). If they have done a good job in the previous drill, they should know that the head is the only part of the body that they should move.
CUES: “Keep one cheek (or ear) in the water when you take a breath” (if they breathe looking on the right, they should keep the left cheek (or ear) in the water) or “Look at your shoulder when you breathe.”
Sometimes, they try to help themselves by paddling with the hand that is down. Remind them that they need to keep their hands still.
TIP: ask them to kick all the way across the pool keeping one cheek in the water – they should be able to breathe, looking to one side. By practicing this drill they will memorize the proper head position. In this drill they will not blow bubbles, because their face is always out of the water. This is just a drill that can help them achieve the proper head position when breathing.
Same as #3 but with pull-buoy. This floating device can support less weight, therefore, it is harder to keep proper body alignment. At first they will want to push the pull-buoy down (underneath the surface). Remind them that the pull-buoy should stay on top of water (if they push the buoy down it will cause problems once they try to swim freestyle without it).
REMEMBER: Only the head should move when breathing on the side. Their feet and shoulders should always be in their original position (facing down).
HOW TO SEE IT: If, during the lateral breathing, they do not make splashes with their feet, even though they are kicking, that means they have rotated their hips (they are kicking sideways instead of up and down.) Remind them to make splashes at all times.
KICK WITH KNEES BENT. The kick should start from the hips and, although we ask them to kick with straight legs, it does not mean that they should be stiff. Instead, each kick should flow naturally.
FEET AWAY FROM EACH OTHER. Ask them to keep their feet close together. For a proper kick, feet should pass one another. Be careful, this frequently does not happen.
If they are not comfortable with blowing bubbles, they will continue to exale when they should inhale (“blow out the candle”). Most of the time, it is just a matter of coordination and lack of focus. However, it could be possible that they need more practice in blowing bubbles. DO NOT ASSUME that because they are in Level 2 they know how to do it.
TIPS: The “cannon ball” is a good drill to solve this issue. Ask them to grab their knees, tuck in their chin (they will be curled into a ball), and hold their breath. Once they are floating with their back on the surface (parallel to the ceiling & looking down at the bottom of the pool), ask them to blow bubbles. Remember, only after the back reaches the surface, should they start breathing out. If they exhale all their air, they will sink like a rock; otherwise, they will float.
Have them practice the cannon ball drill, while changing rhythm (one long and one short).
DRAG FLOATING DEVICE. Most of the time, they rely too much on their “helpers” and push them underwater. Ask them to keep the “helpers” on the surface at all times. This will help them in the future when they will be asked to swim without any assistance.
LIFT/ROTATE SHOULDERS WHEN BREATHING. Remember, they should only move their chin when breathing. If they arch or lift their head, their body alignment will change and they will stop moving and sink.