SwimNE stages

Find out more about our unique learn to swim programme

little  girl swimming in blue  pool

Our learn to swim programme

Our learn to swim programme sees children move through stages 1 to 10, all of which are aligned with Swim England's 'Learn to Swim Pathway'. We start by teaching the basics of swimming, and end with advanced aquatic skills.

After they have worked through stages 1-8, children will move into our pre-competitive (or pre-comp, as we often call them) sessions. These are a 'step up' from our normal group lessons, and allow children to swim for longer periods of time (60 minutes) in a squad environment. These stages aren't competitive; instead, they focus on further developing swimmers' technique, skills and stamina - perfect preparation for those that do want to move onto competitive swimming.

The stages

stage 1

Stage 1

By the end of stage 1 your child will be confident moving around the pool using floatation aids with a flat body position - essential for when they start learning all the different swimming strokes. They will be confident putting their face in the water and blowing bubbles (an important step in mastering the skill of aquatic breathing). Your child will enjoy being in the pool, and be comfortable to try independent travel.
stage 2

Stage 2

Once they complete stage 2, swimmers will be able to travel through the water unaided on their front and back using recognised leg kicks. They will be confident jumping into the pool, performing push and glides from the wall and rotating from their front to their back (and vice versa). Swimmers will also be able to float in various positions without support or aids.
stage 3

Stage 3

Stage 3 will see your child safely jumping in and confidently submerging themselves, swimming 10m on their front and back with overarm recovery and demonstrating a simple breathing pattern. Swimmers will be able to maintain a streamline body position through the water and fully submerge to pick up objects from the pool floor. They will progress their water safety knowledge by answering simple questions about the Water Safety Code.
stage 4

Stage 4

Stage 4 is all about the legs! By the time they complete this stage, your child will be able to demonstrate correct technique for all 4 leg kicks’ frontcrawl, backstroke, butterfly, and breaststoke. Swimmers will also be able to swim 15m and be able to perform a sculling action.
stage 5

Stage 5

A strong focus is on water skills at this stage to ensure swimmers have all the building blocks in place to further develop their swimming. They will be able to do handstands, forward rolls, sculling, treading water and be able to signal for help by the time they are awarded their stage 5 badge. Swimmers will be able to coordinate their arm and leg actions to complete all 4 strokes to the required standard for the stage.
stage 6

Stage 6

At this point in the learn to swim journey, your child will understand how to prepare themselves for exercise. They will be able to demonstrate rhythmical breaths and have coordinated arm and leg actions across all strokes. Your child will know how to perform a "shout and signal" rescue and have experience of swimming while fully clothed.
stage 7

Stage 7

Your child will be a very confident and competent swimmer by now. Stage 7 sees us continue to focus on technique, and once achieved swimmers, will be swimming 200m consistently and have effective technique across all strokes.
stage 8

Stage 8

By the time your child moves on from stage 8, they will be able to swim 400m without stopping - absolutely amazing! Swimmers will be able to perform 400m sets with a specified rest period, demonstrate front crawl and - using the flags - backstroke tumble turns, as well as butterfly and breaststroke touch turns.
stage 9

Stage 9 (pre-comp)

Stage 9 is the first of our pre-competitive stages. The focus here is very much on technique and consistency over increasing distances, and your child will leave stage 9 a confident and efficient swimmer. They will be able to swim 800m using one stroke and will be swimming using the correct technique, turns and transitions relevant to the stroke.
stage 10

Stage 10 (pre-comp)

This is the last of our learn to swim stages. At this stage your swimmer will be able to swim an impressive 1600m using one stroke consistently, while demonstrating perfect technique. Swimmers will swim a 200 IM with legal turns and have experience of swimming in a team relay. Swimmers will have a developed a range of aquatic skills throughout the 10 stages allowing them to continue swimming in anyone of the aquatic disciplines.

Where to next?

For those swimmers who have completed their learn to swim journey, we also offer Junior SwimFit classes. These are designed for children who want to continue swimming for fitness.

Which stage?

If you swim with us already, you can see which stage your child is working towards via your Doddle account. If you have very recently joined us, you may notice that there isn't yet a stage assigned to them. This isn't anything to worry about; it just means we need to see them swim, and make sure we help them work towards the most appropriate stage.

Celebrating success

Your swimmer will get an award at the end of each stage - and these are typically given out at the end of each major term. They also have the chance to collect various other badges and certificates during their time with us. You can find out more about these below.