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Swimstars Levels

Swimstars lessons are designed for children aged 2 – 11 years old and are ideal for those children who have never entered the water before as well as those with more swimming experience.

Currently Swimstars is available Inkerman House and Stocksbridge Leisure Centre. Lessons run Monday to Saturday inclusive. At Denby Dale the lessons are 25 mins long with up to 8 children in each class and at Stocksbridge the lessons are 30 mins long with up to 10 children in each lesson.

How Does Swimstars Work?

Having run our Swimstars programme for a number of years, we’ve taken the decision to review the STA awards and develop a best practice standard, which is as follows:

Children joining our 2+ Programme

Our 2+ programme is aimed at children aged 2 – 4 years old who lack confidence or have a fear of going in the water. As with all of our programmes, we offer a supportive, safe environment where children will work in small groups of a maximum 1 teacher to 7 pupils. Parents come in the pool with their children with added comfort and support. the 2+ programme uses the Stanley 1 – 3 awards.


Once swimmers have gone through Stanley awards they will move through to the full Swimstars programme. They will work through the STA awards listed below.

Octopus 1, 2, 3

Children will work on achieving the following core skills:-

  • Utilise a woggle to support swimming on front and back
  • Begin to introduce arm actions for front and back crawl as well as breaststroke
  • Dive to collect an object from pool floor
  • Tread water
  • Introduce sculling
  • Extend floating techniques

Goldfish 1, 2, 3

By the time your child completes the Goldfish Series they should be able to:

  • Perform dolphin leg kick on back and front for 5m
  • Push and glide
  • Practice regular breathing using a woggle
  • Swim 15m on their backs
  • Swim 15m on their fronts using front crawl and/or breaststroke

Angelfish 1, 2, 3

By the time your child completes the Angelfish Series they should be able to:

  • Be rescued by catching a rope
  • Perform a straddle entry and tread water for 30 seconds while wearing a T-shirt. Remove the T-shirt and climb out unassisted.
  • Perform a head-first and feet-first surface dive.
  • Scull feet first for 10 metres and head first for 10 metres
  • Swim 25 metres of back crawl using a correct finish
  • Swim 25 metres of a recognised front stroke, incorporating a correct finish.
  • Swim 20 metres of recognised front stroke, incorporating a correct finish.
  • Swim 5 metres of butterfly
  • Perform a sitting dive, depending on the depth of water.

Shark 1, 2, 3

By the time your child completes the Shark Series they should be able to:

  • Enter the water with a straddle entry, swim 25 metres in a recognised stroke in a T-shirt and shorts, tread water or scull support for 1 minute, tread water for 1 minute waving one arm, surface dive, swim 5 metres underwater, surface and remove clothing
  • Swim 100 metres of a recognised stroke on the front, incorporating the appropriate start, turns, and finish. Learner’s first choice
  • Swim 100 metres of back crawl incorporating the appropriate start, turns and finish
  • Swim 25 metres of a fourth recognised stroke, not undertaken in the other tests
  • Swim 4 x 1 length of individual medley, incorporating the appropriate transition procedure at the end of each stroke
  • Perform a competitive start for two separate strokes using two different stances that is legal for the depth of water available
  • Swim 50 metres of side stroke or old English backstroke
  • Perform a head-first surface dive and pick up a sinkable toy from the bottom of the pool, minimum depth of 1.5 metres