SWISH! Swimming: Methods of Determining Progression by Level


The average age of children spanning these three classes are from 4 months for the Mini's to 24 months old for the Rockets.

Mini Fini Classes:  Guide Age 4 - 24 Months
These classes are grouped entirely by age and not skill.  The Mini-Fini classes are all about learning to enjoy the water, gain confidence and settle the kids into all the positions necessary prior to their progression to “stroker” level.

Bubble Fini: Guide Age 18 - 24 Months
Children are confident in the water by this stage.  They can move independently between adult carer and coach but we need to work on pop up breathing & blowing bubbles – both difficult, but critical skills to master.  We also introduce streamlining at this stage.

In Bubble Fini, a child can float on their back for the duration of a song which demonstrates they are comfortable in the water on their back.  A vital element of water safety.

Please note, that moving from Rocket Fini to Zuma Paddler, the child has to be aged 3.5 years old and have gone through the “Fini” swim levels. 


If the child is 3.5 years old with limited swim experience and has not been through the “Fini” classes, they will go into “Zuma Beginner”, not “Zuma Paddler”.


As we move to Rocket Fini the focus of teaching shifts from water confidence to skills development.



… that the term “front crawl” and “freestyle” refers to the same stroke and can be used interchangeably.  Front crawl is the stroke name, but given it is the fastest stroke, this is the stroke every competitive swimmer will use to compete with when a “freestyle” race is entered.  Technically, a swimmer can perform any stroke they would like to in a “freestyle” race, hence the name “freestyle”!

Rocket Fini Guide Age: 2.5 - 3.5 Years Old  
Children at this stage have mastered floating and will be taught to push off from the side of the pool with their face down to their adult, arms extended above head.  They will master glides, streamlining on their front and back and retrieval of objects in the water.

This stage sees the beginning of a more refined front crawl / freestyle kick, teaches the children how to do a pencil dive and push back up off the bottom of the pool. They will also attempt a kneeling dive and should be able to float on their backs and fronts independently, as well as swim underwater through hoops.

This stage will also see the children begin what we call "Super Hero Drills" where they learn the initial stages of what will become front crawl / freestyle arms, separating their leg movements (kick) from their arm movements (catch & pull)

Children will also be able to "right" themselves with no panic whatsoever, thereby demonstrating absolute confidence in the water.  At this level the children can swim to their coach independently and follow instructions which requires emotional intelligence, not often consistently seen in children under 3.5 years old. 


Once we get to the Zuma Levels the children are normally reasonably accomplished.  Parents and guardians are no longer needed in the water.  Our Zuma's can range from 3.5 years old to 7+.  Please remember that age and ability and the fact every child is unique is an overwhelming factor in how quickly they will progress to this level and to the subsequent levels within the Zuma category.

Zuma Beginner Guide Age: 3.5 - 4.5 Years Old

If a child has none or little swimming experience, they will begin in this level.
They will be taught key water safety skills (exits / entries / floats) and will learn the initial stages of breast stroke arms and breathing and will begin gliding and will learn how to effectively kick off the side into a glide.  Once again, good attention and ability to follow their coaches’ instructions is key to progress to the next level.


Zuma Paddler Guide Age: 3.5 - 4.5 Years Old
At this stage the child can swim completely independently.  They will begin to learn how to coordinate their arms and legs into the initial stages of front crawl / freestyle and backstroke and will start the process of pushing off the wall and gliding on their backs.  SWISH! is slightly different to some swim schools in that we insist on spending more time on “streamlining” and core strength, even when parents might be wishing for their child to perfect rainbow arms.  Please know that without proper streamlining a child will end up with an ineffective and incorrect front crawl / freestyle stroke.  This can be difficult to reverse. 

Zuma Roller Guide Age: 6 - 7 Years Old
Front crawl / freestyle has developed to such an extent that bilateral, side breathing can be introduced and mastered.  Backstroke is continued.

Zuma Stroker & Zuma Technical Guide Age: 7+

The final two Zuma levels focus more on developing and perfecting those strokes but only when the child has the understanding and coordination to marry the arms, legs and breathing into a fluid movement.

At this stage the child is competent in all 3 strokes and the focus is working on their technique, stamina and endurance. At “stroker level”, butterfly stroke will be taught and refined.  Breast stroke legs (froggy kicks) is introduced.  Please note that if breaststroke legs are introduced too early, this can adversely affect a front crawl / freestyle stroke.


Please note, the swimming levels and information detailed above are purely a guide, as every child is unique in terms of ability, confidence and attention span, so please do be patient with their progression.  Kids will go through periods of fast progress and sometimes need extra time.


Our coaches follow a series of strict guidelines that enable them to determine effectively at what level a child should be placed, based on age, ability, behaviour, attentiveness and understanding of water safety and at what point that child can move on to the next level.  The guidelines are very specific and detailed but we hope this condensed version provides some clarity on our methods at SWISH! Swimming.  If you have any questions with regard to the various levels please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss your child's specific needs.