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Swimming is one of the most effective cardiovascular exercises that allows you to burn a good amount of calories with minimal effort. But more importantly, it is also a great skill to have and like any skill there are various stages to swimming. How many stages are there in swimming? This is a question that has puzzled swimmers and coaches alike for years. But thanks to the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association), we now have a framework for learning swimming and understanding the different stages. In this blog post, we will take a look at the ten main swimming stages according to the ASA framework and performed to Swim England expected standards.

We will also discuss some of the key skills that you need to master in order to progress through each stage. So if you’re interested in swimming or want to know more about the different stages, keep reading! If you’re new to competitive swimming, the ASA framework can be a bit daunting. There are ten swimming  stages in all, and each one builds on the skills learned in the previous stage. These stages can be divided into three broad categories, beginners, fundamental movements and advanced aquatic skills.

how many swimming stages are there

Swimming stage 1

The first stage is all about getting comfortable in the water. This means becoming accustomed to the sensation of being in the water and learning how to move around safely. There are a total of 13 learning outcomes in this stage but they can be grouped into the following key skills;

  • Getting into the pool and exiting it safely.

This is one of the most basic yet important skills to have as a swimmer. It not only ensures that you remain safe but also teaches you swimming ethics.

  •  Floating on your front and back

Floating in the pool would help you understand the physics between your body and the water. It helps you to understand how your body works when it is in water and helps you to balance your body in water. This could be done with and without floating aids or other equipment.

  • Moving around the water

As this is a beginner’s stage, you would just learn to move 5 meters from your starting point. Again, the purpose of this is to familiarize your body with water.

Swimming stage 2

Stage two is called water confidence. It is very similar to stage one but now you would focus on movement as well develop some basic understanding of breathing. There are a total of 10 learning outcomes in this stage that can be summarized into the following skills;

  • Gliding and Floating

While you previously focused on floating in general, now you would learn to glide and regain control of your body after being immersed in water. This means that you would practice regaining an upright position and glide on water.

  • Traveling on your front and back

With the help of a swimming instructor, now you would learn to swim on your front and back but you would only be moving around 5 meters.

  • Blowing bubbles

Blowing bubbles means that you inhale outside the water but you only exhale while your head is immersed in water. This would familiarize you with the concept of breathing that would come later down the road.

Swimming stage 3

After you are confident with the above mentioned skills, it is now time to move onto the next stage. Stage 3 is the last beginner’s stage and is the advanced form of stage 2. At this point of swimming stages you would improve on the skills that you previously learned but without any supporting equipment. For stage three, the traveling distance also increases from 5 meters to 10 meters alongside fully submerging in water to find objects at the floor of the pool. Stage three incorporate the following skills;

  • Jumping into the pool
  • Gliding and floating around
  • Traveling on your front and back

Swimming stage 4

Stage 4 marks the start for learning intermediate skills or fundamental movement. The main purpose of this stage is to familiarize you with a stroke technique that would allow you to travel through water and improve your movement. However, the traveling distance is still 10 meters. There are a total of four swimming techniques in swimming, which are, front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. You will be introduced to all of these strokes, for this stage, you would need to travel for 10meters in each strokes. The main purpose for this stage is to develop continuous movement for 10 meters and all of the 13 learning outcomes are focused around it. At this point, your endurance would also begin to increase as you would prepare your body to swim for longer distances. Therefore, an increase in stamina would also be experienced.

Swimming stage 5

Swim England stages

Since you improve your skills in the intermediate stages, these are also called improver stages. Stage 5 is also referred to as Improver 1. Stage 5 begins with learning sculling and treading water. You will scull for 5 meters and tread water for at least 30 seconds. Apart from this, you would also learn all the aforementioned strokes and swim for 10 meters using each performed to Swim England stages expected standard.

Swimming stage 6

Also known as Improver 2, Stage six would get you up and swimming. You would swim for 25 meters and perfect each of the strokes performed to Swim England stages expected standards. Moreover, you would be performing multiple repetitions of shout and signal rescue and surface dive until you are able to do it with perfection.  Exiting the pool without steps is also one of the 11 learning outcomes that you would be mastering in this stage .

Swimming stage 7

The last improver stage is based on 10 outcomes and would get you ready for club swimming. You would learn to swim for 100 meters performed to Swim England stages expected standard and finish an obstacle course consisting of at least four obstacles. Once through all of this, you are now ready for the aquatic skills framework.

Swimming stage 8

Welcome to the swim club, stage 8 would initiate your journey of becoming a pro at swimming as you would be swimming for 400 meters in a set time, practicing all your strokes and skills that you have learned up until now. The ten learning outcomes of this stage are primarily focused towards learning more advanced skills that would help you in professional swimming.

Swimming stage 9

The ninth stage is focused on building up your endurance so you can swim for long periods of time without tiring. You’ll swim at least 800 meters during this stage without stopping. This is also a good time to start thinking about competing in races if you’re interested in doing so. But make sure that you check all the eight learning outcomes before moving to the next stage.

Swimming stage 10

This stage would mark the end of your learning journey. Well, learning never stops but this would be the end of the ASA framework and now you would learn new things individually. At the final stage, you have the endurance you need! It’s time to work on swimming faster! During this stage, you’ll focus on increasing your speed by practicing starts, turns, and finishes. You should also be able to swim 1500 meters by the end of this stage. 60-100m sprints will become part of your training regimen at this point as well. With no less than seven learning outcomes, your ASA journey would come to an end.

Summary of the swimming stages

The ASA framework (with the help of Swim England stages) is a great way to structure your training so that you can gradually build up your skills and improve your performance over time. By following these ten swimming stages, you’ll be sure to become a better swimmer! We hope that this blog post has helped you to understand the different swimming stages and answer the question “ How many stages are there in swimming?”

If you are interested in learning more about swimming or finding a swimming coach, please contact me today! I would be more than happy to help you on your swimming journey. Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. Until next time, happy swimming!