LEVEL THREE – BEGINNER: SWIM
The child entering this stage is comfortable submerging underwater and can do front and back floats with some assistance. By the time he is ready to move on to the next stage, he will have progressed from floating to gliding to kicking, stroking and rotary breathing. There are a lot of skills developed at this stage and the primary goal is to build confidence in the swimmer. This stage can last a long time before moving to the training stage where the child will be swimming laps.
PLAY TO LEARN!
Dive & Glide: The Dive Rings can be used to practice diving from the deck, gliding, then swimming to retrieve the ring from the other end of the pool.
Bobbing and Bubbles: Hold hands with your child and jump easily at a steady pace. Once you’ve established the rhythm, take a quick breath on a jump up and then submerge and blow bubbles and repeat. Try to work up to 10 times in a row. Do this gently and patiently, looking for a smooth breathing rhythm. Keep an eye out for “puffy” cheeks. While they are cute to look at it, they are a sign that the child is just holding air in his cheeks and not actually inhaling into his lungs.
Diving for Treasure: As children become more comfortable going under water and controlling their breath, diving games can be a great way to refine this skill. Start by putting diving rings in the shallow end and progressively go deeper and deeper. In the shallow end, have the child start in the water and push off the side. As you go deeper, she can continue to push off the side with your help to swim down to the rings and eventually dive from sitting position, keeping in mind the depth of the pool for safety.
Tread & Sing: Kids love contests. Use that to encourage him to tread water for longer and longer periods of times. You can sing a song together and try to tread for the entire time, moving to longer and longer songs to build stamina. Being able to tread for a sustained amount of time is a critical water safety skill.