What's My Swimming Level?

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Babies & Toddlers

As parents or adults we often forget how we learnt to swim early on, we assume at times we were all born being able to get back to the pool edge, climb out safely, that we were all happy under water blowing bubbles and were always able to float.

Kirby Swim promotes that you cannot “drown proof” any little ones, nothing is more important than supervision. In our baby and Toddler classes we aim to, through the parents, teach little swimmers how to do the little things we take for granted, these are essential safety skills that may one day save their life.

The skills we teach are progressive and targeted to your child’s individual level of development. We teach four main groups of skills:

– Safety Skills
– Floating skills
– Breath control skills
– Propulsion skills.

You also get a cute little passport, to keep a track of your child’s skill development and progression – a gorgeous keepsake of their time in the pool with you!

By the age of three with continuous swimming from 6 weeks, we aim to have all of ‘our’ toddlers happy and familiar in the water and with the skills to greatly increase their safety in and around the water. Gone are the days of starting swimming lessons at aged five, we have had plenty of 3 and 4 year old swimmers capable of swimming 5 or metres independently, some even with correct freestyle breathing.

Our programs are under constant review by our experienced Infant Aquatic Teaching Team. When we think there is a better way, or something we can improve we slowly introduce these advancements into our programs. Each level has a list of “must sees” and our instructors work with the parents to achieve these milestones and progressions.


6 weeks → 6 months: A gentle introduction to swimming with the first concepts of safety, propulsion, floating and breath control learned

6 months → 1 year & walking: Continuing from our introduction to water, we now teach more advanced safety, propulsion, breath control and floating skills in a fun and playful way to maximise learning and retention.

1 year & walking → 22 months: This is the highest risk age for drowning in children, so we focus heavily on safety and independence skills, within a fun learning environment. We aim to make safety responses more automatic with our patterning and repetition of important skills.

22 months → 3 years: We progress you child’s safety, propulsion, floating and breath control skills and start to aim for periods of independence. We integrate learning into a fun environment to keep little swimmers engaged and progressing.

2.5 years → 3 years: For the very confident and increasingly independent young swimmer, this level aims to enhance the transition from parent-led swimming to teacher-led swimming. We increase independence and progress more rapidly in this level. Parents are still in the water, but assisting children to become comfortable with teacher-led learning, for their next phase of their learn to swim journey from age 3 onwards.

Kids Learn To Swim

Learning to swim is a very important life skill for all children to learn. As each child is different it is important that swimming lessons be flexible in their delivery so that every child has the opportunity to improve and acquire skills at their own pace. In comparison to other swim schools and swimming programs our learn-to-swim lessons at Kirby Swim have smaller class numbers, this helps kids to learn and practice more skills in every class, making the time spent in the pool as productive as possible. We also pride ourselves in trying to provide as many options possible to ensure all swimmers are grouped according to both age and ability.

Supervisors- At our busier programs we use “Deck Supervisors” whose role is make sure every swimmer in every class is getting the most of their lesson, as well as keep the parents informed about our programs and their child’s progress. Parents should feel they can speak to our Deck Supervisors about any concerns or any queries.

Levels – You will notice we use names, instead of numbers for our levels. Kids love the names and we are all about the kids. We have eight levels in the Learn to Swim continuum.

The amount of time spent in each level may change from child to child and we work with all of our swimmers to ensure they master any skill hurdles they face as they journey through the continuum. Our teachers and Deck Supervisors assess swimmers continuously, and children progress when they are ready, not at the ‘end of term’. We also have set weeks within our program that we offer the parent feedback sheets (outlining the skills that have been mastered), and assessment records.

We can recommend a swimming level that is right for you many times with a conversation over the phone, but may require a short in-water assessment to make sure we get the level right the first time.

3 years → 5 years: For beginners who are not comfortable placing their head underwater and or going into a lesson with a new teacher, without mum or dad. Focus is on confidence, safe entry/exits, breath holding and submersion, floating and kicking. Lots of games and fun are used to encourage children to begin to enjoy the swimming experience.

3+ years: For beginners who are comfortable placing their head underwater and getting into a lesson with a new teacher, but still need close instructor support. Focus is on increasing water confidence, safe entry/exits, breath holding and submersion, and further developing floating, straight leg kicking and independent swimming to and from the wall/platform and the instructor. Productive and fun activities are used to ensure children enjoy their swimming experience.

The confident and independent beginner. Squids learn good horizontal body position through greater emphasis on kicking, torpedoes and the introduction of big (freestyle) arms. Kicking on their back is introduced as well as reinforcing submersion, floating, general independence and safety skills.  

Swimmers that have mastered the ability to maintain a strong straight leg kicking action with controlled big (freestyle) arm action now get to introduce the breathing. Practising and the beginning of mastering Aussie Crawl (freestyle) is challenging and exciting. Backstroke is also introduced in this level.

Learn and further develop their freestyle and backstroke with added technique cues over longer distances. Stronger kicking and longer strokes are encouraged and breaststroke kick is introduced.

Swimmers learn to breathe bilaterally (breath every third stroke) in freestyle, further refinement of freestyle and backstroke for smoother easier strokes. We also introduce the breaststroke arm sculling action. 

This is the last level before swimmers permanently progress to squads, for this reason we place a lot of importance in ensuring that the technique endurance is ready for the next step. Maintaining good form under fatigue is important to avoid practising poor technique and developing bad technique habits. Long glides in Breaststroke are taught as well as the introduction of butterfly kick.

This is the number one way to boost a child’s swimming progress (available for Stingrays through to Snappers). Combining one session per week with this mini-squad type session with their regular swimming lesson offers two opportunities a week to improve. One session with a strong emphasis on mastering a skill and great form/technique and the other session (KS Academy) which is 45min long boosting their fitness and stamina. Kids love the group feel of this group and always get into the relays and challenges the coaches throw at them.

For swimmers needing specialised attention for developmental, behavioural or other support, or swimmers who need specialist attention on a specific aspect of their stroke, private lessons can be tailored to suit the swimmers unique needs and circumstances.

Swim Squads

Being a safer swimmer is about being a stronger swimmer. We believe all swimmers should have the fitness and skills to be safe at the pool, in the river and in the surf at the beach. This is especially important in teenage years when children become more independent and may visit the beach with friends, or go on a boat. Strong swimming skills are for life.
Our squad programs provide the training environment to create stronger, more efficient swimmers, whose technique stays strong even when tired.

We have three main levels of squad swimming; where we train swimmers through specific and fun drills, measure swim times and increase distances.

Not all of our swimmers will go on to be National level swimmers, but we aim to give them all the highest level of tuition to ensure they all become the best swimmers they can be.

A mini-squad where swimmers start their journey in becoming fitter and faster swimmers. They learn lane etiquette (keeping left, intervals and reading the clock), butterfly, tumble turns, IM turns and lots of new drills to enhance their technique. Sessions range in distance from 400-600m, with lots of new skills to learn and fun relays to be done with their lane buddies.

Swimmers can cover over 1000-1400m in their hour long session. This is the first level where many swimmers really experience fatigue, and as there is a larger fitness component we strongly encourage swimming at least 2 x week to feel that improvement in stamina and speed that leads to increased enjoyment. Technique is not forgotten and drills in all strokes and feedback on form is a constant from the coaches. Our Intermediate swimmers are often the children winning their school swimming carnivals and enjoying water sports such as water polo, surfing and surf lifesaving.

Swimmers are experienced squad swimmers with a high level of ability and fitness. They enjoy the benefits of keeping fit, strong and fast in the water. Some of the swimmers train to keep fit for other sports like running, football, basketball and water polo or surf club and other squad swimmers just train because they love it!

For those swimmers that develop a love for swimming fast and like to push themselves against the clock to measure their progress. We offer programs under the Swimming WA affiliated banner ‘Westside’ at our MLC (Methodist Ladies College) CCGS (Christ Church Grammar School) location in Claremont. Westside is a WA ‘A Grade Premiership’ club that caters for all ages and abilities from those just starting out to those of an Olympic standard (K. Radford Rio Olympic Swimmer 2016)

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