How to Tell If Your Child Is a Competent Swimmer

When it comes to the water – especially in hotter weather – it’s important your child’s confidence doesn’t overtake their competence. That’s why we’ve put together this blog to help you tell the difference between the two and so you know when your child is a competent swimmer.

Of course, ideally, we’d like a balance between the two, a competent swimmer in their technique, but also confident enough to enjoy themselves in the water and not scared of it.

What is the difference between a confident and a competent swimmer?

Occasionally, water competency is misinterpreted by parents or guardians as having the confidence to put their faces in the water or even to jump in. While these are both important steps along the path towards being competent swimmers and will count towards them gaining their pre-school swimming qualification. It’s not, however, the same as being a competent swimmer at all.

In order to be safe in the water, a child needs to be confident with certain skills, including floating and treading water in order to be classified as a competent swimmer.

What does your Child need to be able to do to be called a Competent Swimmer?

There are four minimum water competency standards that Swim England sets for a child:

  • Perform a star float for at least 60 seconds
  • Tread water for at least 30 seconds
  • Be able to swim in clothing
  • Be able to swim at least 100m with ease and without stopping

Recent research has suggested that there are more than 3 million seven- to 11-year-olds in England and Wales not able to achieve this standard and, as such cannot be classified as competent swimmers.

We strongly encourage that children should stay in Everyone Active’s Learn to Swim Scheme until they have completed at least stages 1-7.

By this point, your child will have learnt these four skills and be able to be classified as a competent swimmer. This means they will be much safer in the water and much less likely to get into trouble should they fall in unexpectedly at any point.