When is it O.K to stop swimming lessons?

Do You Know When Your Child Has Done Enough Swimming Lessons

‘When is the best time to start swimming?‘ is one of the most popular questions we often hear from parents. But, parents rarely ask us about when it’s time to stop swimming lessons. How do you know your child has done enough swimming lessons? When is the time to tick the ‘swimming’ box and move on? In this blog, you will find out when it is O.K to stop your child’s swimming lessons and why.

Not stopping your chid's swimming lessons before she is fully competent, help your child to be safe in water for life. Do you think your child has done enough swim lessons?

Swim England report explains that only 4% of children can swim competently.

Scarcely a very low percentage!

But, why?

One of the reasons is many children are taken out of swimming lessons before they’ve achieved a desirable level of competency and safety in the water.

As a swim school it’s always hard to say ‘Goodbye’ when a child leaves Blue Wave Swim School, but, it’s a big shame when they leave before they’re competent swimmers.

Some Facts About Swimming!

2018 report published by Sport England shows unfortunately, there are far less people regularly swimming in England (with a big drop of 283,000 in number of regular swimmers).

Swimming is a popular family activity but, that is normally the case if the whole family enjoys swimming.

In England, every year one in three children leave primary school unable to swim. Unfortunately, these children are very likely never to learn to enjoy water and swimming.

We know if children don’t learn to swim by age of 9, there is a big risk they never will.

Hard to see why swimming is losing its popularity?

A Swim instructor teaching a child to swim Australia’s Royal Life Saving Society, surveyed more than 60,000 children aged between 0 and 15 across Australia. Its report shows some startling statistics:

  • 15% of children taking swimming lessons were 4 years of age
  • Children between 5 and 7 made up 53% of all children taking lessons
  • On the other hand, only 2% of children taking lessons were 12-years-old
  • 83% of 12-year-olds surveyed couldn’t tread water for 2 minutes
  • 40% of 12-year-olds couldn’t swim 50 metres in any stroke
  • 33% of 12-year-olds couldn’t swim 25 metres of survival strokes

Why Do Children Stop Swimming Lessons Too Soon?

A child learning to swim front crawl confidently at Blue Wave Swim School

The question is, why are so many children being taken out of swimming lessons before they’re ready?

Normally for us, by the time children reach around 7-years-old and have been swimming for a few years, they can swim a width of a pool (around 10 metres) without any trouble. They enjoy swimming during lessons and in leisure time, and don’t show signs of trouble in the water.

This is the time many parents think the job is done, that swimming lessons have served their purpose. They think their child is ‘good enough’. They may also have had enough of taking their children to swimming lessons once a week.

Parents have had enough of the hassle of running busy activity schedules and the cost of swimming lessons. They are not cheap.

Possibly, the child wants to stop, too.

Maybe there are other sports or activities their child says they would rather do instead. They only want to be able to swim, they have no plans to be the next Michael Phelps!

There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. 

But, Please Don’t Stop Too Soon!

The best time to stop your child’s swimming lessons with peace of mind is when your child actually is a confident swimmer.

It is NOT time to stop swimming lessons when your child starts enjoying swimming and can swim about a width of the pool.

Signs of a Confident Swimmer

Don’t stop when your child can swim 25 metres, which is the distance associated with school swimming.

25 metres is the minimum distance recommended for personal survival, but it isn’t enough to make your child a fully-rounded swimmer.

Swim England says that it’s time to stop swimming lessons when your child can:

  • Swim at least 100 metres without stopping
  • Tread water for at least 30 seconds
  • Experience swimming in clothing 
  • ‘Float to live’ (performing a star float on their back for at least 30 seconds)

If you take your child out of swimming lessons before they have achieved these targets, it’s likely their skills will regress over time. Is it really worth it?

Just keep swimming!

At Blue Wave Swim School, we believe swimming is more than a sport, it’s an essential skill for life. 

Advanced swimmers at Blue Wave Swim School

When your child goes through our process, we make sure they learn all the different skills and techniques necessary to be a well-rounded and good swimmer.

By the time children graduate from ‘Advanced Swimmers’ level in our swim school, they will also have the ‘stage 7’ Swim England badge and certificate. This means they can swim all four main strokes as well as swim 200 meters continuously and tread water for a minimum of one minute. They will be able to perform other aquatic skills like sculling and diving.

What’s more, lessons at Blue Wave are tremendous fun, so your child will want to return, time and time again!

If you enjoyed reading this blog and are interested in receiving more swimming tips, please sign up for our newsletter.

To find out more about Blue Wave Swim School you can call 020 8090 1415 or

Enquire online About Our Swim Lessons

Marjan Moosavi, founder of Blue Wave Swim is with a group of her swimmers.


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2 Replies to “When is it O.K to stop swimming lessons?”

  1. Hi, thank you for this article.
    I my opinion, the way the lessons are structured in this country, it takes years to be safe in the water. I can imagine many parents either just giving up after years off effective swimming lessons or not being able to pay more than £2000 for their child to learn how to properly swim. Schools do not get funding to provide swimming lessons so kids whose families can’t pay for swimming lessons, can’t be supported by school either. Looking at for example The Netherlands, they structure their lessons very differently and it takes only 2 years. Kids learn to be safe, learn all technical strokes, endurance, diving, and much more. Low income families will receive discounts for swimming lessons. I believe that if lessons would more effective and funded for low income families, far more children will be able to swim competently by the time they leave primary school.

    1. thank you for your feedback. learning to be water safe is different to swimming with good technique. So, the objective in Holand is different as they need kids to be water safe as they are so many water canales.

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