8 Crucial Skills to Being a Competent Beginning Swimmer

8 Crucial Skills to Being a Competent Beginning Swimmer

Have you just decided to learn to swim?

Maybe your taking lessons or watching Youtube videos?

Perhaps you’re teaching your kids to swim and aren’t sure what to teach them.

This article will cover the 8 skills that a competent swimmer will be able to do. No, swimming butterfly for 100 yards is not one of them.

These skills carry through not only for the beginning swimmer but for the expert as well. As you progress through your swimming career, you will be revisiting each area.

The 8 crucial beginning swimming skills are:

  1. Being able to relax in the water.
  2. Knowing how to breathe in the water.
  3. Float on your back and stomach.
  4. Swim
  5. Go underwater.
  6. Be able to enter the water.
  7. Be comfortable in deep water.
  8. Know water safety.

These skills all tie in to each other for beginners to experts. And as your abilities improve, you’ll find each of them becoming more difficult.

For instance, take entering into the water.  I’m an OK diver from the side of a pool or a diving board about 3 feet off the pool.

Put me on a high dive and I’ll jump…but no way will I dive.

And put me on a cliff in Acapulco and ask me to jump…not a chance.

For beginning swimmers and those just starting out, when you can accomplish these 8 skills you can be considered a fairly competent swimmer.

Notice I didn’t say “water safe”. There’s no such thing as being water safe. There is always an element of risk being around water, whether it’s your local pool, lake or ocean.

Here are the skills you should be able to do to be considered a competent

Beginning Swimmer Skill #1. Be relaxed and confident around the water.

Beginning Swimmer Skill #2. Be able to take at least twenty consecutive breaths while swimming and while treading water

Beginnning Swimmer Skill #3. Be able to float on your stomach and back for 30 seconds.

(Some people are not able to float in a pool. They are allowed to use their feet and hands to achieve the float position.)

Beginning Swimmer Skill #4. Be able to swim 20 yards.

Beginning Swimmer Skill #5. Be able to go underwater and retrieve an object at a depth of 4 to 6 feet.

Beginning Swimmer Skill #6. Be able to jump into a pool from a height of one to two feet.

Beginning Swimmer Skill #7. Be comfortable being in water over your head.

Beginning Swimmer Skill #8. Know the dangers of the water, how to avoid them and what to do if something happens.

When you, your child or your client can perform these 8 areas they will be pretty good swimmers.

I think they will still be beginners but they will have the skills to enjoy and improve in the water.

What are the skills they (or you!) should be able to do to be considered an intermediate swimmer?

That’s a great question and you’ll have to read the next post to find out!


Ron Usher

I help swimmer have fun, improve, get fast and learn about the great sport of swimming. I've always loved coaching the swimmers who weren't as talented or world class fast but they loved the sport and they wanted to learn and improve. I want you to benefit from my coaching and training.

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