Department of Physical Education & Human Performance

American Red Cross Learn to Swim Program

Parent and Child A For children who are 6 months to 2 years old and have either no water experience or one previous session of water adjustment lessons.
Parent and Child B Are 18 months to 6 years old and have had two or more previous sessions of water adjustments lessons, submerge only reluctantly (or not at all) or require flotation support at all times.
Level 1 Intro to Water Skills:  Helps students feel comfortable in the water and enjoy the water safely.  Must be at least 4 years old.
Level 2 Fundamental Aquatic Skills:  Gives students success with fundamental skills.
Level 3 Stroke Development:  Builds on the skills in Level 2 by providing guided practice
Level 4 Stroke Improvement:  Develops confidence in strokes learned and to improve in other aquatic skills.
Level 5 Stroke Refinement:  Provide further coordination and refinement of strokes.
Level 6

Swimming and Skill Proficiency:  Refines the strokes so students swim them with ease.  Level 6 is designed with “menu” options.  Each of these options focus on preparing students to participate in more advanced courses, such as Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard Training.  These options include:

  • Personal Water Safety
  • Fundamentals of Diving
  • Lifeguard Readiness
  • Fitness Swimmer

American Red Cross Swim Levels

Skill Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Water Entry and Exit Enter and exit water safely using ladder, steps or side

Enter water by stepping or jumping from the side

Exit water safely using ladder or side – chest deep water

Jump into deep water from the side

Head-first entry from the side in a sitting or kneeling position-9 ft. deep

Dive from side in a compact or stride position in 9 ft. deep water

Shallow dive from the side - 9 feet deep

Shallow dive, glide two body lengths and begin any front stroke – at least 9 feet deep

Breath Control & Underwater  Swimming

Submerge mouth, nose and eyes

Exhale underwater (blow bubbles) through mouth and nose – 3 seconds

Open eyes underwater, pick up a submerged object held at arms length – 2 times

Submerge entire head – 5 sec

Blow bubbles, submerging head in a rhythmic pattern (bobs) – 5 times

Open eyes underwater, pick up a submerged object – 3 times in shallow water

Submerge and retrieve an object-3 sec. chest deep water

Bobs with the head fully submerged-5 times chest deep water

Rotary breathing with the body in a horizontal position-5 times

Swim underwater (no hyperventilation) – 3 body lengths

Feet-first surface dive – submerge completely

Swim underwater  - (no hyperventilation) 15 yards

Tuck and pike surface dives – submerge completely

Buoyancy on Front

Show comfort maintaining a front float position; face may be in or out of the water.

 – 5 seconds

Recover from a front float to a standing position.

Show comfort maintaining a front float position with face in water – 5 sec.

Recover from a front float to a standing position

Front glide – 2 body lengths

Float in a face-down position (jellyfish float) – 5 seconds

Front glide using two different kicks-2 body lengths

Survival float-30 sec in deep water

Survival float – 1 minute in deep water

Survival float – 2 min.

Buoyancy on Back

Show comfort maintaining a back float position – 5 sec.

Recover from a back float to a standing position

Show comfort maintaining a back float position – 5 sec

Recover from a back float to a standing position

Back glide – 2 body lengths

Back glide using two different kicks-2 body lengths

Back float-30 sec. deep water

Back float – 1 minute in deep water

Back float – 2 min.

Changing Direction and Position

Change direction of travel while walking or paddling

Roll over front to back

Roll over back to front

Change direction of travel paddling on front or back

Roll over front to back

Roll over back to front

Change from vertical to horizontal position on front-deep water

Change from vertical to horizontal position on back-deep water

Open turn using any stroke on front and push off in streamlined position-2 body lengths before stroking

Open turn using any stroke on back and push off in streamlined position

-2 body lengths before stroking

Flip turn while swimming on front

Flip turn while swimming on back

Treading

Explore arm and hand movements

Using arm and leg motions – chest deep water

Tread water 30 sec in deep water

Tread water using modified scissors, breaststroke or rotary kick and sculling arm motions – At least 1 minute

Tread water using two different kicks (scissors, breaststroke or rotary) –

2 minutes

Swim on Front

Alternating arm action

Simultaneous arm action

Alternating leg action

Simultaneous leg action

Combined stroke on front, using any type of arm and leg action – 5 feet

Combined arm and leg actions on front, using any combination of alternating and simultaneous arm and leg actions – 15 feet

Front crawl – 15 yards

Butterfly – kick and body motion – 15 yards

Front crawl – 25 yards

Breaststroke – 15 yards

Butterfly – 15 yards

Front Crawl – 50 yards

Butterfly – 25 yards

Breaststroke – 25 yards

Swim on Back

Alternating arm action

Simultaneous arm action

Alternating leg action

Simultaneous leg action

Combined stroke on back, using any type of arm and leg action – 5 feet

Finning arm action-10 ft.

Sculling arm action-10 ft.

Combined arm and leg actions on back, using any combination of alternating and simultaneous arm and leg actions-15 ft.

Back crawl – 15 yards

Back crawl – 25 yards

Elementary backstroke –

 15 yards

Back Crawl – 50 yards

Elementary backstroke –

 25 yards

Swim on Side  

Alternating leg action-5 ft

Simultaneous leg action-5 ft.

Swim on side with scissors kick – at least 15 yards

Sidestroke – 25 yards

General & Personal Water Safety Water Safety Rules Water Safety Rules Water Safety Rules Water Safety Rules Survival  Swimming
Helping Others Helping Others Helping Others Helping Others Helping Others Rescue Breathing

Level 6 Skills

Endurance Skills and Turns requirements are the same for all Level 6 Courses:

  • Personal Water Safety
  • Fundamentals of Diving
  • Lifeguard Readiness
  • Fitness Swimmer
Endurance Skills Requirement
Front Crawl At least 100 yards
Back Crawl At least 100 yards
Breaststroke At least 50 yards
Elementary backstroke At least 50 yards
Sidestroke At least 50 yards
Butterfly At least 50 yards
Turns Requirement

Front crawl open turn

Sidestroke open turn

Backstroke open turn

Front flip turn

Breaststroke turn

Butterfly turn

Backstroke flip turn

Demonstrate all while swimming

Additional Skills for Level 6 - Personal Water Safety

Review Skills and Information Requirement
HELP position 2 minutes – deep water
Huddle position 2 minutes – deep water
Feet-first surface dive Water at least 7 ft. deep
Pike surface dive Water at least 7 ft. deep
Tuck surface dive Water at least 7 ft. deep
New Skills and Information Requirement
Tread water 5 minutes – deep water
Tread water, kicking only 2 minutes – deep water
Surface dive and retrieve an object from the bottom Water 7-10 ft deep
Survival float 5 minutes – deep water
Back float 5 minutes -- deep water
Self-rescue techniques while clothed 10 minutes
Swimming while clothed Demonstrate
Basic safety rules for open water 50 yards/any stroke
Discuss
Basic safety rules for boating Discuss

Additional Skills for Level 6 - Fundamentals of Diving

Skills and Information Requirement

Basic stretching exercises for diving

Dive from side from kneeling and compact positions

Dive from side from stride and standing positions

Forward dive fall in from diving board

Approach and hurdle

Forward jump, tuck position

Forward dive, tuck position

Forward dive, pike position

Demonstrate each skill

Additional Skills for Level 6 - Lifeguard Readiness

Review Skills and Information Requirement
Feet first surface dive Demonstrate in 7 ft. water
Pike surface dive Demonstrate in 7 ft. water
Tuck surface dive Demonstrate in 7 ft. water
Check-Call-Care
Call for emergency help
Care for conscious choking victim
Reaching assist
Throwing assist
Rescue breathing
Demonstrate all
New Skills and Information  Requirement
Tread water 5 minutes, deep water
Tread water, kicking only 2 minutes, deep water
Compact jump into the water from a height with rescue tube 5 feet deep water
Front crawl with rescue tube trailing  
Breaststroke with rescue tube trailing 25 yards
Swim on back holding object and keeping face out of water  
Surface dive and retrieve object and keeping face out of water 7-10 foot water
Wading assist with equipment  
Walking assist 25 yards
Beach Drag  
Hip & shoulder support
Head splint
Using a backboard
Two-personal removal from water
Demonstrate all

Additional Skills for Level 6 - Fitness Swimmer

New Skills and Information Requirement

Demonstrate etiquette in fitness swimming

Use a pace clock

Use a pull buoy while swimming

Use fins while swimming

Use paddles while swimming

Describe the principles of setting up a fitness program

Demonstrate various training techniques

Calculate target heart rate

Apply principles of water exercise

Demonstrate All

Exit Skills Assessment: Levels 1-6

Level 1 - Into to Water Skills
  1. Enter unassisted, move 5 yards, bob 5 times to chin level and safely exit the water.  (Participants can walk, travel along the gutter or “swim”.)
  2. Float on front with support for 3 seconds, roll to back (with assistance) and float on back with support for 3 seconds.
Level 2 - Fundamental Aquatic Skills
  1. Step from side into chest-deep water, move into a front float for 5 seconds, roll over to a back float, return to standing position, then move back to a back float for 5 seconds and return to a standing position.
  2. Push off and swim using a combination of arm and leg actions for 15 feet on the front, push off and swim using a combination of arm and leg actions for 15 feet on the back.
Level 3 - Stroke Development
  1. Jump into chest-deep water from the side, swim front crawl for 15 yards with face in the water and rhythmic breathing pattern (to front or side), maintain position by treading or floating for 30 seconds and swim back crawl for 15 yards.
Level 4 - Stroke Improvement
  1. Perform a feet-first entry into chest-deep water, swim front crawl for 25 yards, maintain position on back 1 minute in deep water (float or sculling) and swim elementary backstroke for 15 yards.
  2. Swim breaststroke for 15 yards, tread water for 1 minute and swim back crawl for 25 yards.
Level 5 - Stroke Refinement
  1. Perform a shallow dive into deep water, swim front crawl for 50 yards, maintain position on back for 2 minutes in deep water (float or scull) and swim elementary backstroke for 25 yards.
  2. Swim breaststroke for 25 yards, tread water for 2 minutes and swim back crawl for 50 yards.
Level 6 - Personal Water Safety
  1. Swim 500 yards continuously using the strokes in the following order: front crawl, 100 yards; back crawl, 100 yards; breaststroke, 50 yards; elementary backstroke, 50 yards; sidestroke, 50 yards; butterfly, 50 yards; and choice of stroke, 100 yards.
  2. Jump into deep water, perform a survival float for 5 minutes, roll onto back and perform a back float for 5 minutes.
  3. Perform a feet-first surface dive, retrieve an object from the bottom of the pool at a minimum depth of 7 feet, return to surface and return to starting point.
Level 6 - Fundamentals of Diving
  1. Swim 500 yards continuously using the strokes in the following order: front crawl, 100 yards; back crawl, 100 yards; breaststroke, 50 yards; elementary backstroke, 50 yards; sidestroke, 50 yards; butterfly, 50 yards; and choice of stroke, 100 yards
  2. Perform a front approach and hurdle with a feet-first entry from a 1-meter springboard.
  3. Perform a front approach and hurdle with a head-first entry from a 1-meter springboard.
Level 6 - Lifeguard Readiness
  1. Swim 500 yards continuously using the strokes in the following order: front crawl, 100 yards; back crawl, 100 yards; breaststroke, 50 yards; elementary backstroke, 50 yards; sidestroke, 50 yards; butterfly, 50 yards; and choice of stroke, 100 yards
  2. Swim 20 yards using front crawl or breaststroke to a depth of 7 to 10 feet, retrieve a 10-pound object, return to the surface and swim 20 yards back on the back or side to the starting point with the object (student must hold object with both hands and keep his or her face out of the water).
Level 6 - Fitness Swimmer
  1. Swim 500 yards continuously using the strokes in the following order: front crawl, 100 yards; back crawl, 100 yards; breaststroke, 50 yards; elementary backstroke, 50 yards; sidestroke, 50 yards; butterfly, 50 yards; and choice of stroke, 100 yards
  2. Perform the  Cooper 12-minute swim test, and compare results with the pre-assessment results.