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Assessments and Activities for Teaching Swimming

Assessments and Activities for Teaching Swimming


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    Swimming is a widely popular sport and activity with great health-related fitness benefits. Yet, a significant percentage of children are unable to swim with any degree of skill—meaning not only are they missing out on health benefits, but they also are at risk when in water.

    Part of that risk comes from receiving either no instruction or no differentiated instruction. Children receiving swimming lessons are commonly grouped by age or grade, and many lack the basic skills required for their age levels.

    Assessments and Activities for Teaching Swimming solves this problem by offering differentiated instruction for every participant in your class or program, based on each participant’s aquatic developmental level. Through this illustrated book, you will be able to
    • use an assessment tool to evaluate the initial skill level of every participant,
    • place each participant in the appropriate level, and
    • teach skills through fun activities and monitor each participant’s skill acquisition along the way.
    Assessments and Activities for Teaching Swimming will help you accommodate nearly all of your participants’ abilities. With the six-level tool you will be able to assess initial aquatic performance levels for children with and without disabilities and provide appropriate activities to help participants develop their skills.

    The book is presented in two parts. Part I offers teaching strategies to help you maximize the aquatic experience for swimmers with and without disabilities. It also guides you in selecting the assessment and activity level so that you can provide a fun and successful experience for all swimmers. Part II lays out six distinct levels, from developing and building on initial skills to learning and refining specific strokes. Some skills are introduced early on and then repeated in a more difficult form at a later level. The final level focuses on longer-distance swimming, flip turns, competitive swimming, and prerequisite skills for lifeguard training.

    These six levels, along with the assessment instruments, accommodate most participants’ abilities. You’ll find the assessment instruments and activities very easy to use. Even those who have not been trained as instructors or teachers can implement the activities regardless of the swimmers’ levels.

    Assessments and Activities for Teaching Swimming can help all participants take part in safe, fun aquatic activities that will improve their health-related fitness and well-being.


    Reference for aquatic instructors, physical education teachers, adapted physical education teachers, recreation specialists, and aquatics professionals.

    Table of Contents

    Activity Finder
    Part I. The Art and Science of Teaching Swimming
    Chapter 1. Teaching Strategies
    Universal Design
    Universal Design for Pool Access
    Universal Design for Learning
    Differentiation of Instruction
    Students With Differing Abilities
    Modified Progressions
    Equipment Adaptations
    Supplementary Aids and Services
    Chapter 2. Assessment: The Foundation for Swimming Instruction
    What is Assessment?
    Conducting an Assessment
    Using the Modified TWU Aquatic Assessment
    After the Assessment
    Part II. Aquatic Activities for Everyone
    Level 1. Getting Off to a Fun Start
    Pool and Water Orientation
    Locomotor Skills in the Pool
    Water Familiarization
    Blowing Bubbles
    Moving Underwater
    Level 2. Developing Initial Skills
    Floating With Support
    Flutter Kicking
    Stationary Propulsion
    Floating on the Front
    Flutter Kicking on the Back
    Entry and Exit Skills Without a Ladder
    Water Entry: Jumping
    Deep Water Exploration
    Level 3. Building on Basic Skills
    Breath Control
    Gliding on Front
    Front Crawl
    Gliding on Back (We added this division for 3.10 and 3.11)
    Gliding and changing position
    Flutter Kick
    Treading and Recovering From Under Deep Water
    Level 4. Introducing the Breaststroke, Backstroke, and Diving

    Flutter Kick
    Rhythmic Breathing
    Front Crawl With Rhythmic Breathing
    Elementary Backstroke
    Underwater Swimming Using Breaststroke Arms
    Breaststroke With Any Kick
    Whip Kick
    Kneeling Dive
    Level 5. Learning the Front Crawl, Back Crawl, Breaststroke, and Sidestroke
    Front Crawl
    Elementary Backstroke
    Level 6. Longer-Distance and Competitive Swimming
    Front Crawl
    Open Turn on the Front for the Front Crawl
    Flip Turn
    Breaststroke Legal Turn
    Backstroke Flip Turn
    Individual Medley
    References and Resources
    About the Authors

    About the Author

    Monica Lepore, EdD, is a professor at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania. A master teacher of adapted aquatics, Dr. Lepore has been an American Red Cross water safety instructor for more than 25 years. She has a degree in leadership in adapted physical education and received the International Swimming Hall of Fame Adapted Aquatics Award in 2001. In 2006 she was named AAHPERD/AAPAR Adapted Physical Education Professional of the Year, and she has been on the Top 100 Aquatics Professionals list twice. She was chair of AAHPERD/AAPAR adapted aquatics from 2000 to 2005 and received a Meritorious Award from the Aquatic Council of AAHPERD/AAPAR in 2005. In her leisure time, Dr. Lepore enjoys swimming, biking, and hiking.

    Luis Columna, PhD, is an associate professor in the exercise science and physical education department at Syracuse University. He holds three degrees in adapted physical education and physical education and has been engaged in teaching and scholarship in higher education for the past decade. His background includes teaching physical education in Puerto Rico and adapted physical education in the Denton, Texas, public schools. His research focuses on ways to increase the participation of families of children with disabilities in physical activity. He also studies methods to better prepare teachers to work with diverse populations, including children and their families. At the national level, Dr. Columna has served on numerous committees in several organizations. He was the chairperson for the Adapted Physical Activity Council for SHAPE America (formerly AAHPERD). Columna has given more than 100 workshops and presentations at the international, national, and state levels. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles for books and journals such as Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; Journal of Teaching Physical Education; and Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly. His hobbies include dancing, varied outdoor activities, and traveling.

    Lauren Friedlander Litzner, MS, is a health and physical education teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland. She earned a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Cortland in physical education with a concentration in adapted physical education. She has a master’s degree in community youth sport development from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has a master’s degree from McDaniel College in physical education with a concentration in athletic administration. During her time in Cortland, Lauren earned the Major of the Year award through AAHPERD as well as Division III All-American status. She has taught nonswimmers and beginning swimmers at UNC Greensboro. She is currently teaching physical education at Piney Branch Elementary School, where she teaches swimming to students in third through fifth grader. Lauren has been a Red Cross water safety instructor since 2010 and is a member of SHAPE America and Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. She is also a certified adapted aquatics instructor. Lauren enjoys swimming, playing tennis, teaching, and competing in triathlons.