Deciding On A Level

If you don’t yet know which level to put your child in, a general rule of thumb when deciding on a level is to choose the one where the child will be most successful, yet still challenged to improve their skills.  A very quick and basic way to decide is the following:

  • Can your child swim 15 meters or more on their front and back with no life jacket or floaties?  If they aren’t yet, see the next bullet.  If they are, SwimAbilities may not be able to meet your child’s needs.  See Alternative Swimming Options for ideas on what to do.
  • Can your child swim 3 meters on their front and their back with no life jacket or floaties? If they aren’t yet, see the next bullet.  If they are, SwimAbilities Level 4 could meet their swimming needs.  See SwimAbilities Level 4 for more information.
  • Can your child float on their front and on their back, and swim one meter with no life jacket or floaties? If they aren’t yet, see the next bullet.  If they are, SwimAbilities Level 3 could meet their swimming needs.  See SwimAbilities Level 3 for more information.
  • Is your child comfortable in the water and able to go under water either with minimal help, or all by themselves? If they aren’t yet, see the next bullet.  If they are, SwimAbilities Level 2 could meet their swimming needs.  See SwimAbilities Level 2 for more information.

If you still are not sure, please contact Laura Gilligan, the Lifesaving Society Expert Advisor on SwimAbilities.


SwimAbilities Level 1

Introduces children to movement in the water, proper breathing techniques, and increases confidence and comfort in the water. Assisted and unassisted floating and swims on the front and back, as well as water safety will be explored through games and activities.

This level is ideal for children with who are just starting out in swimming lessons, or are not able to put their faces in the water comfortably.

Prerequisite skills

None.

Please contact Laura Gilligan, the Lifesaving Society Expert Advisor on SwimAbilities if you have any questions about which level to register in.


SwimAbilities Level 2

Allows children to further explore movement in the water, improve breathing techniques, and work towards unassisted floating and swims on the front and back. Water safety will also be explored.

This level is ideal for children who need a little extra support to achieve their swimming goals.

Prerequisite skills

Children should be able to comfortably put their faces or be assisted in putting their faces in the water greater than 5 times in a period of 45 minutes, and be comfortable putting their ears in the water.

Please contact Laura Gilligan, the Lifesaving Society Expert Advisor on SwimAbilities if you have any questions about which level to register in.


SwimAbilities Level 3 and 4

Introduction to front crawl occurs, back glides are further developed, and water safety continues to be explored.  Deep water safety and improving distance and proper technique adapted to each child’s abilities are the main swimming goals for these levels.

Prerequisite skills

Children should be able to independently (without a buoyant object or PFD) swim greater than 1 meter on both their front and back before registering in SwimAbilities level 3.

Children should be able to swim independently on their front and back for greater than 3 meters before registering in SwimAbilities level 4.

Please contact Laura Gilligan, the Lifesaving Society Expert Advisor on SwimAbilities if you have any questions about which level to register in.

 


Alternative Swimming Lesson Options to SwimAbilities

Several options are available as alternatives for SwimAbilities.

– Children with special needs are welcome in regular swimming program at their community pools.  Contact your community pool’s aquatic programmer or talk to your child’s instructor if you wish to further discuss any accommodations that your child might need, and whether parents or an aide may be in the water with to support the child.

– Many community pools offer private swimming lessons 1-on-1 with a certified Instructor.  Contact your community pool for cost and schedule.

– Many competitive swimming clubs welcome children with special needs in their programs.  Typically, children need to be able to swim a set distance before joining the club.  Families can connect with the club to find out more information.   Swim Alberta may also be available to provide additional information regarding competitive swimming for children with special needs.

Completed SwimAbilities?

Once your child has completed SwimAbilities level 4, your child has the swimming skills and safety knowledge to participate in their community-based swimming programs.