Swimming Progression, how it works

At Aquatots we start our babies at 6 weeks of age because we understand the benefits of an early reintroduction to a watery environment. The benefits being, physical, mental and of course safety around and aquatic environment.

Monitoring the children that started in the 6 week program we are finding that children are up to learning the technical side of all four strokes by the age of 5.

Throughout your child’s learn to swim journey you will see a lot of progression, some plateaus in the progression and sometimes even a small regression from time to time. In this article I am hoping to help parents to understand how swimming progression works for children and babies.

The progression of your child’s swimming will have a lot to do with the consistency and frequency that they attend lessons and or practice their swimming outside of lesson time. Learning to swim is like learning to walk, if you only allow your child to practice walking for 30 minutes per week this skill would take a long time to master. The same goes for swimming. The more your child is allowed to practice and explore the water the quicker they will progress with their skills.

We recommend attending your regular weekly class but also using the free public hours and attending the pool to practice and or have a play. If you are unsure as to what you should be practicing when you attend these sessions ask your supervisor on deck or your child’s instructor for handy hints.

Bumping your child’s classes up to twice a week is also a great way to see a quicker progression. The cost of a 2nd lesson is at 30% less than the full price of a term.

Another great way to see a quicker progression or help your child get past a skill they may be stuck on is intense swimming. Either bump up swimming time during free periods or book the intensive holiday programs. The holiday programs are free of charge for children that have a roll over booking with Aquatots.

Homework can also be done at home without water. Gaining the muscle memory for the movements required for the strokes can be done out of the water. For some suggestions on what you can do for home work please read our homework article.

The main times you will see a plateau or even a slight regression in your child’s swimming will be


If they have had time away or a break from swimming. Unfortunately the skills do not retain when children are in the learn to swim phase so taking a break can cause a regression of skills already mastered. A child’s brain is culling connections that are not used to make room for new ones all of the time. If your child is not practicing the movement or their swimming unfortunately the connections are broken. The best way to help your child regain skills is to bump up water time during the week. More repetitive movement will recreate the connections faster.


A plateau in swimming progression is usually present when your child has a growth spurt. When your child grows their centre of buoyancy will change. They will become unbalanced in the water and will need a chance to rebalance before you can see a progression again. If your child does not swim through a growth spurt regaining balance in the water will become a longer process.


Progression will usually slow when your child begins to learn strokes or the technical side of strokes. The reason for this is mastering the strokes takes co-ordination and your child’s brain is still developing and working on motor skills and co-ordination.


In addition to the swimming progression you will also come up against brain development and physical development stages. An important brain development leap will happen around the age of two. To find out what will happen around this age and gain tips on how to guide your child through this stage please read our article on 2 year olds http://www.aquatots.com.au/news/article/?id=swimming-with-a-almost-2-year-old


Allow your child to learn at their own pace but understand you can help them speed up the process by using our tips and tricks above. Always stay positive throughout all stages of your child’s learn to swim and understand if they are in a flat spot of progression that they will come out the other side as long as you keep practicing.