Why Learning to Swim is Vital

As activities go, there is perhaps none as universal as learning to swim. Whether it’s a pond, creek, river, lake, ocean, backyard, or community pool, most of us have access to swimmable water. The terror and tragedy of drowning have driven the need to learn how to swim for thousands of years, but so too have the many wonders and health benefits of swimming.

Firmly established in the 19th century as a wonderfully fun and beneficial activity, swimming is more popular than ever. Early proponents of swimming lessons included the American Red Cross and the Armed Forces. Many learn-to-swim techniques have come and gone over the years, and rightly so. Sink or swim, drown proofing, and a heavy dependence on flotation devices have been shown to be less effective teaching methods. At SWSS, we highly recommend our students learn to swim in their preschool years.

Steve Wallen Swim School’s Unique Approach to Teaching Swimming

We have spent decades at Steve Wallen Swim School perfecting our unique learn-to-swim curriculum. We train our teaching staff in these proven methodologies. We continue to evaluate and adapt, further perfecting how we teach all ages to swim and be water safe. While many organizations and facilities follow previously developed teaching techniques or use those developed ‘in-house,’ we firmly believe that our proven approach will meet the needs of your entire family. So let’s break down our elegantly simple process!

First, we recognize that learners develop on their own time, so we do not offer levels, badges, or other firmly entrenched evaluation criteria. Instead, we engage in continuous evaluation, recognizing various successes with our milestone ribbon program. This means that if your child is stuck on a skill for whatever reason, it does not mean that they cannot progress and continue developing other skills.

Second, we recognize that knowing how to swim is only part of the solution. You, and your entire family, need to know how to be safe when in or around bodies of water. For this reason, our learn-to-swim lessons always include knowledge of water safety. This is also why we are a proud member of Stop Drowning Now and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance which provides us with the educational tools we require to help teach how to prevent drownings.

Learning to swim occurs in building blocks, and we know how to guide you and your children through these blocks and navigate the many skills needed to become a swimmer until you reach your aquatic goals.

Our Approach Begins with the Basics:


For some, the water can be an intimidating or frightening space. For others, it holds no dangers at all, and they throw caution to the winds! We know that to swim, one must first feel safe and in control of the water. One must also understand the dangers. For young children, comfort and safety are achieved through play, songs, constant contact, reassurance, and praise. Our swim instructors are experts at keeping your child engaged and having fun; little ones will be learning while playing! As for adults, we know that you need to work through your fears at your own pace, and we will be there to support you every step of the way.


Once comfort has been achieved, the goal is to get the entire body wet! This includes the face and head, which is a massive hurdle to overcome for many. Once a learner is confident in dunking, submerging, splashing, and getting thoroughly wet, more challenging skills can be introduced and developed as the water is now an enjoyable space.

As mentioned before, we know that learning needs to be continuous and not blockaded by an inability to complete one or another task. Therefore, the following swim skills are introduced when the learner is ready. Our highly trained swim instructors will continuously evaluate learners, which allows for perfecting some skills while introducing new and challenging tasks.

Being able to effortlessly float at the surface, either on the front or back, is another crucial step to being at one with the water and increasing water safety. In addition, floating allows one to rest, catch a breath, and relax! Read more about why learning to float at Steve Wallen Swim School is magic!


Glides introduce positioning the body into a streamlined, hydrodynamic position. Further, it introduces propulsion and body control!


The ability to roll over, like floating, offers a chance to rest, catch a breath, and move between various strokes.

Jumping into Deep Water:

While also a ton of fun, jumping into deep water is an important water safety skill. This skill is taught under close supervision only when the learner is absolutely ready for the challenge. This skill allows the learner to enter water that is over their head, recover to the surface, and then make their way back to the pool edge as a point of safety.


When ready, learners are taught the various methods of moving their legs in the water in order to achieve propulsion. Early kicks that are taught include the flutter kick and the whip kick; both of these kicks will serve you and your child well as you swim or engage in other water sports. If interested, you can read more on our blog post about flutter kicking.

Arm Circles:

Moving the arms through the water is the most powerful way to propel oneself through the water. Arm circles are taught as an early, fundamental skill that will provide this propulsion. Once this is mastered, the skill is broken down into more complex parts such as the elbow bend, hand position, and pull techniques.

Perfecting Stroke Mechanics:

Even the best Olympic swimmers continue to perfect their strokes at every practice. But, there is always something new to learn, a bad habit to break, or a way to go further, faster! At Steve Wallen Swim School, consider us your lifelong learning partner in our pools located in El Dorado Hills and Roseville! We can guide you and your children to your best swimming through our baby and me, private, semi-private, or group swims lessons!

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