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New Swim Lesson Curriculum Provides Tools Everyone Needs to Be Safe and Confident Around the Water

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
December 2, 2016
Swim Lesson Upgrade

The YMCA has a long history of teaching swim lessons. In fact, the Y is credited for being first to develop a group swim instruction program in 1906.

We have come a long way since that first group lesson, and we’re excited to present the latest upgrades to you. This curriculum was created by the YMCA of the USA to meet the needs of all Ys in communities nationwide and focuses on a core group of water skills every person needs to be safe around water. These core skills naturally progress to competitive swim strokes. Students begin with and build upon skills they are ready to learn, helping them to celebrate their successes, build self-confidence, and enjoy learning to swim and water safety. Our new swim curriculum is based on extensive research, and we look forward to seeing swimmers advance more quickly through the stages. 

The fun fish names we previously used to identify the different levels have been replaced with names that more closely relate to the skills we will be working on in each stage. Swim lessons are now organized into three phases, and each phase includes several stages focused on a specific skill set:

Swim Starters

For swimmers ages 6 months-3 years, must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver.

Swim Basics

Recommended skills for all to have around the water. All phases are offered for ages 3-12.  

  • Stage 1 - Water Acclimation: students are introduced to the pool,  develop safe water habits, become comfortable with underwater exploration and learn to safely exit a body of water. Learn more and register for lessons.
  • Stage 2 - Water Movement: students focus on body position and control, forward movement, directional change and basic self-rescue skills. Learn more and register for lessons.
  • Stage 3 - Water Stamina: students learn basic stroke techniques, rotary breathing and integrated arm and leg action. Learn more and register for lessons.
Swim Strokes 

Skills to support a healthy lifestyle. Stage 4 is offered for ages 3-12, Stages 5-6 are for ages 5-12.

  • Stage 4 - Stroke Introduction: Students build endurance, practice safety techniques, develop the basic frontcrawl and backcrawl strokes and are introduced to components of the breaststroke and butterfly strokes. Learn more and register for lessons.
  • Stage 5 - Swimmers develop stamina in the basic frontcrawl and backcrawl strokes, learn the breast and butterfly strokes. Deep water safety and endurance are also reinforced. Learn more and register for lessons.
  • Stage 6 - Stroke Mechanics/Swim Club: Swimmers develop endurance in the competitive strokes, learn skills related to competitive swimming, enhance techniques and build endurance in deep water. Learn more and register for lessons.

Swim lessons featuring this updated curriculum begin in January 2017 at all YMCA of Greater Kansas City locations that offer swim lessons. Classes are now open for registration.

Free swim assessments are available to determine the appropriate swim lesson stage for each student. Students who took lessons under the previous Y swim lesson structure can easily transition to the new curriculum. Discuss what level is appropriate with the Aquatics Director at your Y location, or register for the phase that is most appropriate for the swimmer’s abilities and our trained staff will place students in the correct phase during the first lesson.

For more information or to register for swim lessons, visit the Welcome Center of your Y location or contact the Y online.