June 28, 2018

4 Important Swim Skills for Kids Ages 5 and Up

Most of the swim skills learned before the age of about five are about readiness. They focus on adjustment to the pool, the pool environment, and body position in the water. These skills are essential, but the real work (and fun) begins now, when your child starts to swim in earnest and with more independence in the pool. This is also when more of the life-saving benefits of swimming begin to show up. Your child becomes more equipped to manage some of the risks inevitably involved with water. Below are four of the most important swim skills for your 5+ year old to master at this stage of swim lessons.

Swim Skills

Skill 1: Swimming Two Body Lengths

Skill Description: The ability to move through the water in a forward progression unassisted, as far as two body lengths or more.

Why is this skill important? Being able to coordinate legs and arms to move the body in a forward progression shows signs of progression and body confidence. Coordination is one of the biggest challenges in swimming. With swimming two full body lengths, students are beginning to successfully master the essential motions.

Swim Skills

Skill 2: Jumping into the Pool and Swimming to the Side, Unassisted

Skill Description: Jumping into deep water (a body of water where you can’t touch the bottom without being submerged), and independently swimming to the side to hold on.

Why is this skill important? This is a lifesaving skill. If a child was ever to be pushed, fall or jump into deep water, with this skill they could get themselves to the side of the pool if necessary.

Swim Skills

Skill 3: Treading Water

Skill Description: This skill is done while in a vertical position. The head is above the surface of the water, but the swimmer is not providing sufficient directional thrust to propel themselves in any specific direction.

Why is this skill important? Treading water is another swimming safety skill. It is all about staying in one position, like hovering. If a swimmer were to fall into water and need to be rescued, this skill would allow them to stay in one place until help arrived.

Swim Skills

Skill 4: Proper Breathing

Skill Description: Keeping the face in the water and rotating from side to side to take a breath.

Why is this skill important? When swimming, the position of the head influences the position of the hips and legs. Keeping the face in the water allows the legs and hips to stay level. Pulling the face up out of the water (to breathe) invariably drops the hips and legs too low. This high-head/low-hip position requires the swimmer to push more surface area through the water, creating drag and making swimming more difficult.


Learning to swim is about more than just safety in the water. Swimming is a low-impact sport that you and your child can enjoy for a lifetime. Swim lessons can also be a great place to meet and make new friends. Is your child ready to splash into lessons and start their journey towards learning these important swim skills?