Swimmer FAQ's

Why am I “going back” a level when registering in a Lifesaving Society Swimmer class? 

You are not going back a level. You are moving to a different program, into a class that best fits your skill level. 

Registration in Swim for Life® is based on age, ability, skill, and knowledge. Because no two swim programs are alike, they introduce different skills in different levels. This means that, while many programs use a number system for their levels, the numbers do not line up directly. 

The Swim for Life® program uses well researched progressions of skill development. To see how the Lifesaving Society Swim for Life® program relates to Red Cross Swim Kids, check out our Red Cross to Swim for Life® Transition Chart 


My child has completed Preschool 5. The flowchart says I can register them into Swimmer 2 - why? 

Completing Preschool 5 gives your child the same skills taught in Swimmer 1. They may be ready to try Swimmer 2, especially if they're comfortable in deep water and have strong skills. 

Swimmer 1 is designed as an entry point into swimming lessons for school aged children who have little or no swimming experience. Preschoolers who have completed Preschool 5 have mastered glides and have a strong flutter kick, the foundations for learning front crawl and back crawl which are taught in Swimmer 2. Being comfortable in deep water and able to tread water means they are ready to try some fun deep-water entries! 


My child has finished Swimmer 6. What’s next? 

There is still more fun and challenge ahead with Canadian Swim Patrol levels and Fitness Swimmer!  

Canadian Swim Patrol will keep your child challenged and having fun in the pool at all 3 levels: Rookie Patrol, Ranger Patrol and Star Patrol. These classes are for those who want to continue to develop their swimming strength and build on their fitness level. As a Swim Patroller, they will also be introduced to first aid and lifesaving training. These courses develop the skills that lead directly into Lifesaving Society programs that certify youths for future employment as Lifeguards and Instructors. 

Fitness Swimmer classes are another option to further develop your child's swimming strokes and develop fitness. They will be able to swim further, improve their fitness level, use pace clocks, and design their own individual workouts. 


My child is using a lifejacket a lot, but they already know how to swim. Why do they have to wear a PFD? 

Lifejackets or PFDs (personal floatation devices) are used by instructors to teach new skills. Using floatation aides as a teaching tool solves some of the most common problems that a swimmer has when they learn a new skill by allowing them to:  

  • Breathe whenever they need 
  • Focus on learning the new movement 
  • Follow the feedback given by the instructor 
  • Rest when they need to 
  • Give themselves feedback on how well they are performing the new skill 

When your child feels ready, they can choose to try the skills without wearing a PFD with the instructor’s assistance. 


I see a wide range of skill and age groups all in the same swimming class. Can an instructor manage teaching such a wide range of skills at the same time? Will my child still have a positive experience? 

Your instructor knows how to ensure that everyone gets the instruction they need. 

Our certified instructors use a variety of tools and strategies to accommodate the skill and age ranges that may happen in any level. Utilizing teaching progressions, buoyant aids, and lesson planning all play a part in providing a quality lesson while staying flexible enough to help each swimmer feel successful. With the ranges in distances and times for the skills it is easy to challenge swimmers to go longer or farther while also giving the option to stop at the minimum distance/time without feeling singled out. 


My child was told that they had “passed” their front crawl. Will they be taught to do it better? 

Yes. Your instructor will give them more time to practice their technique or challenge your child to learn something new. 

Some students will “pass” the standard for a skill item before the end of the lesson set. Our instructors are prepared to challenge them to become more efficient or by increasing the level of difficulty. Examples of this may be to increase the distance/time or to give feedback to improve the skill. The remainder of the lessons may also be used to develop strong habits or to work on skills that prepare them for the next level. 


What is “Water Smart®”? 

Water Smart® education teaches you the skills to behave safely in, on, and around water. 

Swimming ability combined with Water Smart® knowledge is vital to drowning prevention. Water Smart® knowledge and safety skills are taught in a practical and interactive way in every level of Swim for Life®. During a Water Smart® lesson, swimmers and their families may be invited to participate in fun, hands on learning activities that focus on teaching the whole family to be Water Smart®. 


How will my child know if they passed? 

The Swim for Life® program recognizes and celebrates each child’s successes with an Accomplishment Record and a participation award (i.e. ribbons). Your child will receive these recognition items from their instructor at the end of each session. The accomplishment record will also let you know which level to register in next.  


Why are there only three strokes taught in Swim for Life? 

Front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke are the most popular strokes used today. 

The Swim for Life program produces good swimmers, swimmers who can safely enjoy activities like water skiing, tubing, white water rafting, canoeing and fishing. They can explore lifesaving sport, competitive swimming, diving, water polo or synchronized swimming or simply use swimming as part of their fitness routine. These three strokes combined with the lifesaving kicks taught in the program prepare swimmers to take both instructor and lifeguard training. 

Focusing on fewer strokes allows for more practice time during swimming classes. The program asks swimmers to practice their strokes over short distances which allow the swimmer to focus on performing the skill correctly without getting too tired. 


How can my child improve their fitness in this program? 

Let’s keep these kids moving and swimming! 

Your child will be kept busy learning and moving throughout their lessons. As a younger, less skilled swimmer, they will practice their skills using buoyant supports such as lifejackets or flutterboards. The use of buoyant supports keeps swimmers safe, able to breath and practicing good swimming kicks. As their skills progress, swimmers will learn new strokes over short distances which will improve endurance over time, especially when combined with interval training, sprints and in the upper levels - distance workouts. 

Affiliate Delivery Partner FAQ's

What programs will be available from the Lifesaving Society Canada with this transition?

The Lifesaving Society Swim for Life program will be available Canada-wide in English and French. In addition to its National Lifeguard certification, the Lifesaving Society already offers a full suite of lifesaving and leadership training programs to its Affiliate Members across the country. Provincial/territorial Branches also offer a range of Water Smart® public education initiatives and aquatic safety management services including, safety audits and management training – in addition to other Branch-specific services and courses.


What timeframe do facilities have to make this transition?

In brief, facilities can make the transition at their convenience. We know this will take time and planning, and that training partners will have questions.

We anticipate that transition training for Red Cross certification holders will begin in March 2022.

To take advantage of the special arrangements related to the transition processes and costs, facilities (and aquatic staff) should plan to transition by December 31, 2022.

Summer-only program operators should contact the Lifesaving Society well in advance of the summer season.


What do I need to do now?

For Red Cross training partners, instructors, lifeguards and trainers who wish to take advantage of this transition opportunity, please know that it is the intention of both organizations to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Individuals should check out the relevant transition pathway options posted on the Red Cross and Lifesaving Society Branch websites. Contact your Lifesaving Society Branch office to answer any questions.

The process for Red Cross Water Safety Training Partners who are already Affiliate Members of the Lifesaving Society may be slightly different than the transition process for those who are not yet affiliated. In both cases, a person-to-person conversation is the best way forward.

Let’s talk – in person, on screen, or on the phone. Contact us at your convenience. We’ll explore features and benefits of the Society’s programs, answer your questions and explore your concerns. Together, we’ll walk through the steps for a smooth and successful transition that works best for you.

Red Cross is referring its seasonal training partners to the Lifesaving Society for summer 2022 swim programming. If you wish to transition to the Lifesaving Society’s programs for 2022, please contact the Lifesaving Society early in the year.