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How well should your child be able to swim?

13 May 2024 - Recreation

Firstly, parents should recognise that swimming proficiency is something that progresses over time. Children progress at different rates and may achieve different levels of swimming ability based on factors such as age, experience, and exposure to water.


Royal Life Saving Australia’s National Swimming and Water Safety Framework, which supports a structured and consistent understanding of swimming and water safety education, outlines the national benchmarks for Australian children. 


By the age of six, children should be able to:

  • Identify rules for safe behaviour at aquatic environments at or near the home
  • Enter and exit shallow water unassisted
  • Float and recover to a standing or secure position
  • Move continuously for five metres
  • Submerge the body and move through an obstacle
  • Identify people and actions to help in an aquatic emergency
  • Perform a survival sequence to simulate an accidental entry


By the age of twelve, children should be able to:

  • Understand and respect safety rules for a range of aquatic environments
  • Enter and exit the water for a range of environments
  • Float, scull or tread water for 2 minutes and signal for help
  • Swim continuously for 50 metres
  • Surface dive, swim underwater and search to recover an object from deep water
  • Respond to an emergency and perform a primary assessment
  • Rescue a person using a non-swimming rescue technique with non-rigid aids
  • Perform a survival sequence wearing light clothing


It's essential for parents to consider their child's individual needs and abilities when assessing swimming proficiency. Parents should work closely with swimming instructors and other aquatic professionals to ensure that their child receives appropriate instruction and accommodations based on their unique needs.


Ultimately, the goal of swimming lessons is not just to teach children how to swim but to equip them with the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to stay safe and enjoy the water throughout their lives.

By assessing your child's swimming proficiency and providing additional instruction or practice as needed, you can help your children become competent and confident swimmers who can enjoy all that the water has to offer safely.

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