At Farnsworth Swim School, our program consists of 9 levels, ranging from absolute beginner to advanced. Our beginning level is the tadpole level and refers to swimmers who are not water safe and are often taking lessons for the very first time. The tadpole level is very important because it provides foundational skills that are built upon as the levels progress and the tadpole level creates the foundational skills for water safety.
The main focus within the tadpole level, which is our absolute beginner is for a student to become more comfortable in the water. While these students may not fully master water safety, the goal is for them to be able to remain calm, stay afloat, and get themselves to a safe location if they were to fall into a pool or body of water.
One of the very first skills these swimmers learn is how to blow bubbles under water. This technique teaches students to exhale when their face is under water, preventing choking. They should never hold their breath. Blowing bubbles is the exhale under water and the inhale is the breath above the water. Next, a student begins to practice fully submerging their face under water for a few seconds at a time. These skills might sound very basic to an accomplished swimmer, but they can often take time for beginners to master.
Students within the tadpole level also focus on skills such as entering and exiting the pool safely, freestyle arms and kicking, and jumping into the water independently and reaching for the wall. Back floats are also an essential part of tadpole mastery and basic water safety. If a swimmer is able to float on their own, they will be able to save energy and stay calm if they are ever in a crisis.
In order to master the tadpole level, a student must be able to glide on their stomach, kick, and make arm strokes unsupported for 5 feet. They also must be able to float on their back independently for 5 seconds. Once a swimmer has accomplished these skills, they graduate to the goldfish level, which is our strong beginner- more on this in next week’s post!