American Red Cross Swim Lesson Levels

The American Red Cross Swim Lesson Program offers something for all ages and levels. If you need assistance selecting the appropriate level please contact our office at 949-420-0804.


Learn to Swim Levels

The ages listed with each level is to provide guidance however each swimmer is different and we encourage all swimmers to develop their skills at their own pace and comfort. Some swimmers will require more training in basic skills while other swimmers are ready to learn more advance skills.

Level 1 - Introduction to Water Skills - Age: 3+

  • For the beginner who is comfortable in the water.
  • Swimmers learn basics of swimming: bobbing, going under water, supported front and back floating, supported rolling over from front to back and back to front, supported gliding , supported flutter kick, supported front crawl arms and jumping in.

Level 2 - Fundamental Aquatic Skills - Age: 4+

  • Swimmers should already be able to float on front and back and put their head under water.
  • Swimmers will work on: independent front and back floating , independent rolling over from front to back and back to front, independent front and back glides, front crawl arms and kicks, back crawl arms and kicks, retrieving underwater objects, and jumping into water over their head.

Level 3 - Stroke Development - Age: 5-6+

  • Swimmers should already be comfortable swimming front stroke and swimming on their back.
  • Swimmers will work on: gliding, freestyle with side breathing, backstroke, breast stroke and dolphin kicks, retrieving objects in deeper water, treading water, jumping into deep water and compact dives.

Level 4 - Stroke Improvement - Ages: 7-8+

  • Swimmers should already be able to: swim front and back crawl 25 yards.
  • Swimmers will work on: rotary breathing, freestyle, backstroke, elementary backstroke, scissors kick and sidestroke, whip kick and breaststroke, intro to turning at wall, treading water with modified scissors, and diving in kneeling position.

Level 5 - Stroke Refinement - Ages: 9-10+

  • Swimmers should already be able to: swim freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke 25 yards, scissors kick, whip kick, treading water, and dive.
  • Swimmers will work on: alternate breathing, stride jump, refinement of: freestyle, backstroke, elementary backstroke, sidestroke, breaststroke, dolphin kick and butterfly, open turn on front and back, feet-first surface dive, and treading water.

Level 6 - Swimming & Skill Proficiency - Age: 11+

  • Swimmers should already be able to: swim front and back crawl 50 yds, elementary backstroke 25 yards, breaststroke 25 yards, butterfly 25 yards, sidestroke 10 yards, tread water for 3 minutes, and dive.
  • Swimmers will work on: All six strokes, front and back crawl flip turn, breaststroke turn, breaststroke speed turn and pullout, butterfly turn, sidestroke turn, pike and tuck surface dive, pike and tuck dive from board, tread water for five minutes, and basic water rescue.Please note: Not all pools are deep enough to teach all of the diving segments of all levels – program modifications may be required to meet safety guidelines.

Adult Swim Levels

American Red Cross Adult Swim is intended for those who wish to improve their swimming strokes and water safety skills.

Adult Swim Level 1—Learning the Basics

  • This level is designed to introduce the inexperienced or fearful adult to the water so that they become more comfortable in the water and learn to enjoy the water safely.
  • Adults will learn how to enter and exit the pool safely and control their breathing. As they build their confidence, students will learn proper body position on both their front and back with proper flutter kick. Basic paddle stroke, Front Crawl, Back Crawl, Elementary Backstroke, and basic water safety skills are covered.

Adult Swim Level 2—Improving Skills and Swimming Strokes

  • This level is designed to introduce swimming strokes to adults so that they develop confidence and endurance as novice swimmers.
  • Adults master the swimming strokes in the Learning the Basics level, Freestyle and Backstroke.  Breaststroke, Sidestroke, Butterfly and basic flip turns and turning at the wall are introduced. Treading water and recovery to a swimming position is mastered.

Adult Swim Level 3—Swimming for Fitness

  • This level is designed for adults who have mastered the strokes in level 1 & level 2 and want to work on proper timing, technique, and stroke refinement in order to achieve more ease, efficiency, power and endurance.
  • Further coordination of the basic strokes is emphasized so that the student can swim smoothly over longer distances. More advanced turns at the wall, and safety skills are mastered.