Goldfish/strong beginner is the level before level one. Once a student has graduated from the tadpole and goldfish levels, they begin to work through the American Red Cross levels. Level 1/ advanced beginner focuses on an introduction to water skills, continuing to emphasize water safety. Students within this level are considered advanced beginners, and they will concentrate on mastering basic freestyle and backstroke techniques.
Level 1 swimmers take their back and front floats to the next level by learning how to move into a standing position. This takes confidence, balance, and strength, and is an important safety skill. These students should also be able to tread water on their own for longer periods of time.
One of the more difficult skills that students will begin to learn in Level 1 is freestyle side-breathing. It will take them a while to truly master this ability, but they are expected to be able to breathe on their side in order to pass Level 1.
In order to master Level 1, students must be able to swim both freestyle and backstroke for at least 15 yards. (1 lap of the pool). This is not something that they only have to do one time in order to pass. They must demonstrate full proficiency and skill in their strokes, without showing any signs of struggle. Because of this, it tends to take students longer to pass level 1 than tadpole or goldfish. It can take them 2-3 years to pass level one, especially if they start taking lessons when they are 2 years old as an example.
Lastly, Level 1 swimmers will learn more advanced diving techniques. While they might have focused on jumps and knee dives in previous levels, they will be introduced to a standing dive. This is a very tough skill to learn, and it often takes many failed attempts in order to master. They are not expected to master this within Level 1, but they will continue to work on it as the levels progress.