Learn-to-Swim Level 3—Stroke Development

Welcome to American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim Level 3!

The American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim is made up of six levels of swimming and water safety instruction. By now your child is starting to gain some substantial

swimming and water safety skills. But there is still a long way to go. As participants progress through the levels and develop these skills, they become safer and better swimmers and develop water competency.

We’re proud to offer you:

Professional instructors who are well trained by the American Red Cross.

Learning made fun in a safe environment.

A balanced program that teaches swimming skills and how to be safe in the water, including a focus on lowering the risk of drowning and increasing the chances of drowning survival.

A comprehensive swimming and water safety program for everyone in the family—from infancy to adulthood including:

A free Red Cross Swim mobile application available for download from iTunes, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace app stores.

Swim Lessons Achievement Booklets to track skill achievement and progression through the levels.

Badge system to recognize and reward achievement outside of the levels, motivating participants to strive toward developing specific skills and for recognizing participants for something that they are doing well, especially when they are struggling with a specific skill or set of skills needed to successfully complete the level.

W AT E R C O M P E T E N C Y :

D I D YO U K N O W ?

Water competency means having the basic, minimum skills needed to be safe and survive in the water. It means more than just knowing how to swim. It also includes the ability to:

Enter the water and submerge completely.

Recover to the surface and stay there for at least 1 minute by treading water or floating.

Turn completely (360 degrees) and orient to the exit.

Level off and propel oneself on the front or back through the water for at least 25 yards.

Exit the water.

Remember, you may be water competent in one type of aquatic environment, for example, a pool. However, this does not mean that you are water competent in another environment, such as a lake or ocean. Each environment is different and more skill is required.

What do participants learn in Learn-to- Swim Level 3?

In Learn-to-Swim Level 3, our instructors follow a plan to introduce new swimming and water safety skills and to build on previously learned skills. Your child learns to swim the front crawl and elementary backstroke at rudimentary levels, is introduced to the scissors and dolphin kicks, learns the survival float and increases the time duration for treading water. Your child also learns the rules for headfirst entries and begins to learn to enter the water headfirst from a seated position at poolside (if the water is 9 feet deep or deeper). Each class is loaded with fun, engaging and challenging activities that motivate children to want to perform and learn to swim and help your child develop water competency.

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Some of the milestones in Level 3—Stroke Development include:

Flutter, scissors, breaststroke and dolphin kicks.

Jumping into deep water from the side, recovering to the surface, maintaining position by treading or floating for 1 minute, rotating a full turn and then turning as necessary to orient to the exit point.

Swimming the front crawl and/or elementary backstroke for 25 yards and then exiting the water.

Pushing off in a streamlined position, swimming the front crawl for 15 yards, changing position and direction, swim- ming the elementary backstroke for 15 yards and then exiting the water.

How are Level 3 Learn-to-Swim participants evaluated?

Your child’s progress and skill achievement are continuously monitored and evaluated. Once all Level 3 skills are achieved and the exit skills assessment is completed, your child re- ceives a completion card and they are ready to move on to Level 4!

Take some time throughout the session to talk with your child’s instructor to find out how your child is doing. At the end of the session, your instructor will date, sign and provide comments on your child’s Swim Lessons Achievement Booklet. Once your child has successfully completed all of the requirements for a level, there is another space for the instructor to indicate that your child is ready to enroll in the next level.


How can you help?

Support your child by praising his or her effort in the pool.

Bring a light snack for your child. Kids are often hungry and tired after a lesson.

Remember that each child is different and that participants learn swimming skills at different rates.

How can you build on your child’s swimming experience?

Give your child plenty of opportunity to develop strength, practice skills, gain confidence and increase his or her comfort level in the water by taking him or her to the local aquatic facility.

Stay interested in your child’s progress. Ask your child to show you a skill learned in swim lessons and incorporate the skill into a game to play in the pool.

Download the Red Cross Swim mobile application and use it to help encourage your child’s progress and knowledge about water safety. Also use the application to share your child’s progress and successes.

Maintain a safety first attitude and follow the American Red Cross Circle of Drowning Prevention.


Reach or throw, don’t go. If a person is in trouble and needs help, do not go into the water. Look around for any object that might be available, such as a foam noodle, kickboard, shirt, belt, stick or towel and use it to extend your reach.

Swim as a pair near a life- guard’s chair. No matter how old you are or how strong of a swimmer you are, always swim in a supervised area with a partner near a lifeguard’s chair.

Think twice before going near cold water or ice. There is no such

thing as 100-percent safe ice. Anyone who falls into cold water should remain calm and try to swim to safety if it is possible to do so with only a few strokes.

Where do swimmers go after Level 3?

Swimmers move through the six levels of the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim program as they master the skills required at each level. After successfully completing Level 3, be sure to register your child for Learn-to-Swim Level 4, where your child will learn:

To increase their endurance by swimming familiar strokes (front crawl, elementary backstroke) for greater distances and with more advanced proficiency.

To build on the scissors kick and dolphin kick by adding arms for sidestroke and breaststroke.

The back crawl and butterfly.

The basics for a simple open turn at a wall.

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