top of page

Swim Lesson Level Progression and Goals

Fun Logo

Infant & Toddler Lessons: Water Introduction
Tiny Tots, Tadpoles and Turtles

Description: These classes are an introduction to swimming! The goal is for students to feel comfortable with the sights, sounds and sensations of the pool. We use songs, games and play to teach your child beginning swim skills- be prepared to sing, dance and smile along while teaching your child to be safe and comfortable in the pool! By the end of these levels, students should be comfortable enough to submerge vertically & horizontally, blow bubbles, listen & follow instructions, and swim with adults other than their parents.

Tiny Tots & Tadpoles require an adult in the water with each child. In order to graduate to Turtles, students must be able to swim independently with a backpack and follow instructions in a group. Turtles must also be at least two years old.


The Turtle level uses the same explorative, experiential teaching style as the Tots and Tadpoles, but with a greater emphasis on independent movement. The Turtle class also has a smaller class ratio- only 4-5 students per class.

Ages & Class Ratios:

Tiny Tots: 6 months - 18 months 8-12 Students per Instructor

Tadpoles: 18 months - 2 years 8-12 Students per Instructor
Turtles: 2 - 4 years 4-5 Students per Instructor

Distances Swum:
This class is focused on free play and experiences! Submersion, comfort, trust and understanding of the water are the key things we focus on. The success of swims will be based more upon body language than any specific physical benchmark. If students show an aptitude for breath control & motor skills, the teachers may recommend removing backpack float segments to create a more natural feel for the water.

Comfort with adults other than their parents (TT/Tadpoles Only)
Can Jump & Submerge

Comfort with Vertical Submersion (Jumping, Bobbing)

Comfort with Horizontal Submersion (Crawl, Forward Progress with Bubbles, Floating)

Listening and Following Instructions
Blowing Bubbles
Safely wall-wallking/monkeying
Swimming 15’ with a backpack (Turtles)

Beginner Lessons: Superfish

Description: The goal of Superfish is for our students to feel comfortable without backpack flotation! Students will learn breath control, how to float, and how to move themselves through the water. Students will also learn how to perform surface dives towards the bottom of the pool, how to jump into deep water, and how to return to the wall. Barbells and Noodles will be used as teaching tools to help students learn good techniques & optimal body position.



Typically 4-10 Years. Students younger than 4 must have either graduated from Turtles or must have prior approval to join the class from an AquaSafe staff member. Students will be placed with similarly aged classmates whenever possible.


Class Ratios:

3-5 Students per Instructor

Distances Swum:
The goal of a Superfish is to be able to swim 10-15 feet without a barbell and 15-20 feet with a barbell. This helps prepare our beginner students to be safe and prepared for most backyard & hotel pools.

The Jumping Checkpoint for Superfish is to be able to jump into deep water without hesitation & return to a ladder or wall after being given a push by their instructor.


Breath control: able to blow bubbles for 3+ seconds & calmly take a breath

Being able to Back Float without assistance

Being able to comfortably drift/body surf out to an instructor, about 5’

Showing Comfort in a Prone position, with the face submerged

Being able to Kick with Straight legs and Pointed Toes

Being able to Doggy-Paddle Crawl, take a breath, and continue swimming

Being able to Doggy paddle crawl, with a barbell, to the deep water Jump Checkpoint

Intermediate Lessons: Dolphin

Description: The goal of the Dolphin level is to learn how to cross a pool safely, confidently & consistently using a mixture of front & back styles. In order to enroll in a Dolphin class, students must be able to swim 15 feet unassisted, and must also be able to jump into deep water & return to their starting point without assistance. In this level, students learn the basics of Front Crawl, Back Crawl, and elementary backstroke. There will be a strong emphasis on making good swimming decisions, and the various safe ways to cross a pool!



Typically 5-8 Years


Class Ratios:

4-6 Students per Instructor


Distances Swum:
The goal of a Superfish is to be able to swim 30-40 feet with comfort, unassisted. This would ensure that swimmers can generally traverse the distance of most hotel & backyard pools, and will help our students be prepared and safer to swim in 25 yard competition pools.

The Jumping Checkpoints for Dolphins are: 

To be able to jump into deep water without hesitation, swim 5-7 meters, and return to the wall unassisted (cumulative 10-15 meters)
To be able to perform a basic kneeling dive


Front & back floating

Basic Front Crawl- catchup freestyle, with an over-the-water recovery.

  • Note: you may teach advanced swimmers, on an individual basis, how to do side breathing as soon as you feel appropriate.

Basic Back Crawl-  students may kick with arms by side, taking strokes as needed

Elementary backstroke arms & legs

Decision making- student is comfortable/confident enough to roll to their back to recover for air in longer swims if they need rest; student can swim 15 meters without grabbing onto the lane line.

Advanced Lessons: Shark (Formerly Silver and Gold Squad)

Description: The Sharks Level is the final Aquasafe curriculum level before our competitive team! In order to enroll in a Shark class, students must be able to swim 45 feet unassisted, must understand how to do basic front crawl, back crawl, & elementary backstroke, and must be able to jump into deep water, swim 15 feet, and return to their starting point.


In the Sharks level, endurance & efficiency are the primary objectives!  Students will learn swimming concepts that will help them cross 25+ yard competition pools with ease. Competitive Freestyle and Backstroke will be taught, as well as the basics of Breaststroke, Butterfly kick, and Dives.


Ages: Class Ratios:

Typically 6-14 years 4-6 Students


Distances Swum:
The goal of a Shark is to be able to swim 25 Yards with comfort, unassisted. This would ensure that swimmers can cross standard competition pools, and will help the students understand what can be expected on most recreational swim teams.

Sharks will often swim half-pool out-and-backs so that techniques can be more easily established while building endurance.

The Jumping Checkpoints for Sharks are: 

To be able to jump into deep water without hesitation, swim ½ the pool, and return to the wall unassisted
To be able to jump in and swim 1 full pool length
To be able to perform a basic standing dive 


Freestyle and Backstroke with opposing arms (swimming with good body rotation)

Side air recovery- student knows how to rest on their side for a breath
Seamless bilateral, rotary breathing

Butterfly kick

Understanding how to circle swim

Pre-Competitive Team: Firefish Light (Formerly Swim Team Light)

1 Hour sessions



Typically 6-14 Years Old


Class Ratios:

8-12 Students per allotted lane

Curriculum & Distances Swum:
The goal of Swim Team Light is to introduce basic drills for the Freestyle & Backstroke, to improve upon the Breaststroke techniques built in the Sharks level, and to introduce the Butterfly Arms. Swim Team Light should be able to comfortably swim repeats of 12.5, 25 and 50 yards. Students will also learn how to perform racing skills such as touch turns, flip turns, backstroke counts and streamline underwater kick.

When introducing new drills, and skills such as turns, 12.5-25 yard swims are recommended so as to not develop poor muscle memory and habits. Backstroke, Freestyle & Kicks can generally be done for 25 yards. 


To be able to complete a 50 Yard Freestyle & Backstroke

To be able to complete a 25 Yard Breaststroke and/or Butterfly

To be able to understand basic Competitive Terminology, such as drill names

To be able to perform the Freestyle Flip Turn & Fly/Breast Open Turns

To be able to perform a Backstroke Stroke Count

bottom of page