Total Swimming Academies Reward Scheme - How it works!


In order to recognise the hard work that our swimmers put in we use a nationally recognised awards framework from the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA). In addition to the set awards criteria we have also introduced Total Swimming Academies exit requirements for each ability group.

This will allow us to standardise swimming across all the academies and ensure children are moving through the programme at the correct pace. Every one of our instructors is issued with a plan for each course to make sure they are all covering every aspect of the programme throughout the term.

The swimmers will receive up to one free award per term (certificate & badge) when awarded by their instructor. It is common that a term may go by and your child hasn’t achieved their next award, this is perfectly normal as your child will be still working through their criteria for the next award with the aim to achieve all the outcomes consistently to a high standard.

 Total Progress

 Our programme is structured in a way that every ability group is catered for, that every ability group is taught in a way that enhances the experience for the swimmer, but also will allow them to develop to their full potential in the water. We firmly believe that every child in a class should have equal amounts of individual teaching time with the instructor, we therefore keep our class sizes far smaller than the industry standard.

We understand that not every child aspires to be an Olympic swimmer, we do however want every child to be inspired in some way so they learn to love swimming and go on to lifelong participation in the sport, whether competitive, fitness or pure enjoyment.

As part of our award scheme, we will provide progress updates to your online account so you have more of an understanding of how your child is progressing through the programme and what skills they are working towards to achieve their next award.

Total Programmes

Children can join our programmes from the age of 3 years and their journey starts in our Foundation classes, where the children learn through games, songs and guided exploration of the water. When our swimmers are reaching the end of their time with us we want them to continue having fun in the water, so we include Swim Fitness and the unique RLSS UK Rookie Lifeguard programme at the higher end of our pathway.

Ability Groups:

  • Foundation (working towards Duckling awards and Stage 1)
    • When stage 1 is passed, children are ready to move up to the next ability group
  • Early Swimmer (working towards Stage 2 and 3)
    • When stage 3 is passed, children are ready to move up to the next ability group
  • Improver (working towards Stage 4 and 5)
    • When stage 5 is passed, children are ready to move up to the next ability group
  • Advanced (working towards Stage 6+)
    • Swim fitness & Rookie lifeguard programmes available

The lower abilities groups we take the analogy, ‘walk before you can run’. We at Total Swimming Academies aim to produce swimmers that can swim well, with sound technical skills opposed to swimming length after length. Distance and stamina does not come into play until much later on in the learn to swim pathway.

At the lower levels, confidence is key and we need to ensure there is no fear in the children, ensuring they are happy submerging, jumping in and floating in the water to name a few key principles. We strongly believe that children who cannot yet swim still need to be independent, therefore we use equipment such as noodle floats, arm disks or swim fins. This allows the children to hold a better body position in the water and also ensures they are safe. More so, this allows children to be ‘free’ in the water opposed to being held or supported by their teacher. This will then be a progressive journey in making them less dependent on the aids.

Swimming throughout all levels is based on repetition and positive reinforcement and that’s why you see so many skills repeatedly used, as practice really does make perfect.

For children who are not yet independent, swimming small distances repetitively is key (no more than 5 metres), this is due to the children fatiguing quickly and their skill breaking down after between 3-5 metres. If we allow children to swim long distances at this point, the children will pick up bad habits in their strokes which will be hard to rectify later on in their swimming journey. We know that stamina is a vital part of the long term learn to swim journey, but we also know that you cannot build stamina without first having a solid foundation of technique to build from. This is why even some of our highest ability groups may swim shorter distances than you may think necessary, this is purely to allow the child to focus on technique.

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