The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

Lifesaving Swim Strokes

As children start summer swim teams earlier and earlier, there has been a shift in emphasis of teaching only the competitive strokes.   The problem is that learning the Sidestroke, Elementary Backstroke, and Treading Skills is still extremely important.  Not only are these lifetime skills (you can do them at about any age), they are also the foundation of the majority of skills you have to know if a child wants to pursue becoming a lifeguard someday.

At Swim Lessons University, we have a course called:  Lifesaving Strokes 401/402/403.  Swim Instructors will learn some of the most effective teaching techniques on how to teach the Sidestroke, Elementary Backstroke, and Treading water.

In our video course for swim teachers, we break down these complex skills into simple, easy-to-follow steps and progressions. You will see Jim Reiser teach two seven-year olds how to swim strokes that they have never tried before . . . EVER!

As always, you will get to see awesome underwater footage of the children learning the skills, as well as stroke demonstrations. The video also includes graphics that emphasize the critical techniques, components, and progressions! You are certain to absolutely love the arrangement and the thoughtful organization and breakdown of the strokes and skills.

Lastly, while this video was designed especially for children between the ages 4 to 12 year old, you can easily adapt it to teach students of any age!   In fact, when we conduct the course locally at The Swim Lessons Company, the course titles and age categories are as follows:

Lifesaving Strokes 401 – Sidestroke, Elementary Backstroke, & Treading for 3 – 5 year olds.

Lifesaving Strokes 402 – Sidestroke, Elementary Backstroke, & Treading for 6 –9 year olds.

Lifesaving Strokes 403 – Sidestroke, Elementary Backstroke, & Treading for 10 – 12 year olds.

Lifesaving Strokes 404 – Sidestroke, Elementary Backstroke, & Treading for 13 years and over.

As in all Swim Lessons University courses, there is an awards bracelet/wristband in which we will soon have available under Swim Instructor Tools.  The Lifesaving Strokes bracelet will be turquoise in color, and will feature five (5) skill abbreviations and stars in which the student would have to master the fundamentals in order to graduate from the course.  The skills and requirements are as follows.

Scissors Kick (SK) – Performs the traditional or inverted scissors kick for 30 feet.

Elementary Backstroke Kick (EBK) – Performs breaststroke kick on the back for 30 feet.

Sidestroke (SS) – Performs the sidestroke for 30 feet.

Elementary Backstroke (EBS) – Performs the Elementary Backstroke for 30 feet.

Treading (T) – Performs the skill of treading for 30 seconds.

Here’s an 7-minute edited sample of the 60-minute Lifesaving Strokes 401/402/403 DVD course.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim was the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at 

We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

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April 14, 2011 at 1:04 am Comments (0)