Tips and Tricks for Level’s 2 and 3

Continuous Movement and Positioning

  • Always two Swimmers at a time
  • Beginner set up has 2 docks or 1 dock and stairs and uses a wall to monkey walk, intermediate/advanced uses 2 docks no wall for monkey walk.
  • Always position yourself outside the box, moving side to side
  • If there is a “weak” swimmer always position yourself nearest them. This may mean moving from either side of the docks. If you have the benefit of the wall or the stairs have the advanced swimmers swim both ways and less advanced monkey walk. Arrange the order of students so continuous movement can be maintained (i.e. if you have 2 weak swimmers do not send them at the same time)
  • For level 2 the docks should be at least 2 body lengths to begin with and the goal of ½ the width by week 10 (mid-session). For level 3 the docks should be ½ the width of the pool to begin with and the goal of the whole width by week 6.

Rollovers and Pop-ups

  • Target on bottom, tapping head. Make sure you are letting them swim far enough before requesting a rollover/pop-up. I see many instructors tapping student’s heads immediately after they push off the dock.
  • The goal is to eventually have the students rollover/pop-up by themselves, with no signal from instructor. We want the children to learn to rollover/pop-up when they need to rest or get a breath.
  • For our curriculum the roll over is taught first. I prefer to teach the rollover first since it is also part of the safety skill for Level 2. A lot of swim schools do not even teach pop-ups and focus exclusively on the rollovers. We are not as strict, but I understand the reasoning behind it.
  • Starting summer session level 3 changes. No strokes till students can swim the width with pop-ups and rollovers. Level 2’s and beginner 3’s will look the same, only difference is distance they are swimming.
  • Roll overs can help transition to rotary breathing for freestyle. Instead of rolling all the way over they only need to roll half way.

Swimming on the Back

  • This is a vital skill that a lot of instructors put off or are not fond of teaching. Being on there back is an important safety skill.
  • By level 2 students should be able to float on their backs independently. The first skill that should be focused on is getting into a back float independently. A method that I find works is having the student stand on the dock with extended arms, put their ears back in the water/look to the sky and push their belly ups.
  • Swimming on their backs can begin with any arm or leg motion. The only requirement I would make is that their arms and legs remain under the water. Lifting their arms and legs out of the water change their center of gravity and possibly causes them to submerge. Once they can comfortably swim half the width on their back introduce chicken, airplane and soldier. When adding the frog kick use equipment if they are having difficulty staying on their back.

Safety Skills

  • Fishies in the ocean: no goggles and independence. There should be no hand holding and/or catching at these levels. The pre-requisite for Level 2 is that the child can jump, turn and climb out all independently.
  • Level 2: Jump in, float for 5 seconds (on back) and climb out.
  • I find a lot of students can roll over while swimming but have a difficult time with the safety skill. I have been putting the mat on the bottom…have them jump in, look down at the mat and THEN roll over. I have found a lot of success with this method.
  • Level 3: Jump in, swim the width and climb out. To make this skill more difficult, remove all docks!