What is the Proper Sequence of Learning to Swim? Step 2: Stroke Development

Our goal is for every student who attends Tom Dolan Swim School to learn how to swim properly. This process doesn’t happen overnight, but with lots of practice and repetition, muscle memory kicks in and the basics become second nature.

We structure our school’s curriculum in three main programs of class levels:

  1. Water Comfort
  2. Stroke Development
  3. Stroke Enhancement

This particular sequence of steps allows students to build a solid foundation and gradually develop more advanced skills. In our first post in this series, we talked about the importance of Water Comfort. Once students have mastered water acclimation and confidence, they move on to our second level: Stroke Development classes.

What is Stroke Development?

In the Stroke Development program of classes, students begin to learn correct head and body position and a strong, steady kick. They work on a basic front and backstroke, moving their arms and legs simultaneously while staying afloat. And they also develop water safety, breath control and other essential swimming skills. Stroke Development classes are divided in to three class levels and are open to children ages 2 1/2 years old and up.

Why Is Stroke Development Important?

The Stroke Development stage is critical because it’s when children learn (and repeat over and over) correct technique. Our instructors ask students to swim short distances so they can give immediate feedback and gentle correction. We emphasize that it’s not important how far or how fast you can swim; it’s about how many strokes you can swim correctly at once. This structure helps teach kids how to self-correct as they become stronger swimmers.

Stroke development classes are based on skill level, not age, so classes will often have a mix of different ages. Kids learn by watching their classmates and modeling their behavior, and our collaborative – not competitive – environment helps everyone thrive. Once students have become proficient in freestyle and backstroke, they can move on to the more advanced breaststroke and butterfly. Stay tuned for our last post in this series on the final stage of learning: Stroke Enhancement.

Learn more about our class levels and which one is right for your child.