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Our comprehensively planned teaching programme follows the ASA’s Learn To Swim Pathway. Children are assessed on their ability at the end of each term for progression on to the next level and written reports are provided to parents. Achievement is rewarded through the ASA awards scheme.

ASA Stages 1 -8.

These stage awards follow the national syllabus produced by the ASA.  They are designed to work on building confidence in the water, improving skills and ability until children can swim effortlessly with good technique. Each stage has a set of concrete goals which are summarised here. Link to the following:

  • Stage 1 Open or Close
    • Water confidence.
    • Face in water blowing bubbles.
    • 5m front crawl and backstroke kick with long, straight legs and pointed toes, holding a float.
    • 5m rocket.
  • Stage 2 Open or Close
    • Submerge with confidence.
    • Push and glide on front and back.
    • Breathing to the side on front crawl.
    • 5m basic kick on all four strokes.
    • 5m basic front crawl and backstroke swims.
  • Stage 3 Open or Close
    • 10m kick on all four strokes (breaststroke kick with a float, fc kick must be with breathing to the side).
    • Swim 10m backstroke using arms and legs without feet touching the bottom of the pool.
    • Swim 10m front crawl, arms recovering over the surface of the water and without the feet touching the bottom of the pool.
  • Stage 4 Open or Close
    • 10m butterfly kick on front and back.  Kick must originate from the hips not the knees.
    • Introduction to butterfly under water pull and snow angels.
    • Kick 10m breaststroke on both front and back, good symmetry, feet turned out, knees not tucking under stomach.
    • 10m front crawl swim, starting from a push and glide, breathing to the side.
    • 10m backstroke swim, starting with a push and glide, with thumb exiting and little finger entering on the arm pull.
    • Developing buoyancy through a range of skills.
  • Stage 5a Open or Close
    • 10m front crawl and 10m breaststroke swim to ASA standard.
    • Developing ‘watermanship’ skills through treading water, sculling and rotation.
  • Stage 5b Open or Close
    • 10m swims on all strokes to ASA standard.
  • Stage 6 Open or Close
    • Swim front crawl with various breathing patterns (both unilateral and bilateral).
    • 4 widths front, back and breast, 2 widths of fly. All with correct starts and finishes. Rest interval to be determined by the teacher.
    • Swim 25m, choice of stroke is optional.
    • Developing effective swimming skills.
  • Stage 7 Open or Close
    • Swim 25m of all four strokes.
    • Swim 50m continuously using one stroke.
    • Swim 100m continuously using a minimum of 3 strokes. Minimum of 25m per stroke.
    • Tread water with ease, using an egg beater kick for 30 seconds.
  • Stage 8 Open or Close
    • Effective kick 25m of all four strokes.
    • Improved stroke technique.
    • Turns for all strokes.
    • Swim 400m on one stroke.
    • Complete a 400m set on a specific turnaround time.

More detailed information on the testing criteria for any of the stages is available on request from Kerrie Lacey.


Testing is carried out for all students towards the end of each term. However students don’t have to wait until the end of term to move up. Instructors will recommend to the lessons supervisor if at any point they feel a student is ready to progress to the next level.


A child entering the programme in stage 1 at 3 years of age can be expected to progress between stages on average once every 2-3 terms. Children that have swum continuously throughout the year will generally reach stage 8 by about age 9 or 10. 


Once swimmers have completed stage 8 they are offered the opportunity to enrol in one of the 1 hour advanced classes. Those displaying the potential and enthusiasm are encouraged to consider entering a competitive squad which involves training several times a week and taking part in galas.


Other Awards Available:

Rainbow Distance Awards.

This comprehensive collection of distance awards ranges from five metres with a buoyancy aid (Puffin) through to 5,000 metres. They are designed to develop their swimming ability and stamina.

The Challenge Awards

With this range of awards, pupils are challenged to achieve specified targets using a wide range of skills and stamina proficiently.

The Alpha Step Awards.

These provide small stepping stones for those individuals who may need additional support (shy/timid or some disabled individuals).

Personal Survival Awards.  

These awards teach pupils how to react should they find themselves in difficulty in water and provide a deeper insight into some of the dangers they could face. By having to wear everyday clothing during the assessment, these awards test pupils in a realistic way as they replicate the conditions they are most likely to experience if they find themselves in a dangerous situation.

Water Rescue Award

The Water Rescue Award is a natural follow on from the Personal Survival Awards. It gives participants a basic insight into lifesaving techniques as well as hands-on experience in a variety of rescues.

The Preliminary Competitive Start award.


This award was introduced to ensure the safety of swimmers who perform racing dives. Teaching begins in deep water before progressing to diving from the side of the pool and starting blocks into shallow water.

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