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Advanced, Swimming Lesson 9

Learning Intentions

  1. Choose a stroke to improve
  2. Work with a partner to select area to improve

Skill Development: Focused observation skills

Success Criteria

  1. I can recognise which is my weakest stroke
  2. I can communicate with a partner to improve my stroke
  3. I can say what to look for when watching my partner

National Curriculum Links

Engage in swimming for sustained periods of time improving weaker strokes

Literacy and Numeracy Links

L Can communicate with partner to give constructive criticism
N Can count stroke patterns, breathing patterns and measure distance

Starter Activity


Each team must travel through the water one at a time, the team that completes the relay first is the winner. You may wish to set swimmers up to go out to a point and back again and tag the next swimmer, or have 2 swimmers facing each other at opposite ends and do a change over. This will depend on the space available in the pool. Use the relay races as way to recap over the various ways of propelling/swimming through the water. Relay activities could include:

  • Walking along the bottom/ bounding / hopping /skipping
  • Swimming on back / front
  • Sculling
  • Legs only / arms only

Extension: Increase the distance teams/individuals swim, enter the water form the side, must perform push and glide, work as pairs, must perform a float mid swim.


Pairs work

  • Pair swimmers together
  • Over a set distance, for example 15 metres each swimmer should carry out each of the 3 main strokes they have been taught (front crawl, backstroke and breastroke) from this they should identify their weakest stroke

Key indications of weak stroke:

  • They have to stop over the 15 m once or more than once
  • They cannot sustain the stroke and must change or adjust themselves mid stroke
  • They complete the distance slowly
  • The swim does not resemble the actual stroke chosen


  • Once the swimmers have identified their weakest stroke, they should work together to improve it using basic teaching points opposite.
  • You may wish to encourage them to try some of the progressions e.g. leg kick only holding float

The objective is by the end of the session they swim their weakest stroke more successfully and sustained over the 15m distance having worked together with their partner to analyse and suggest improvements.

Teaching Points

Observation skills—correcting technique

Look for body position

  • Breastroke—on front, shoulders breaking water, bottom slightly below water
  • Front crawl—on front, shoulders breaking water, bottom slightly below water
  • Back stroke—on back, head in water ears submerged, facing up, neck straight

Look for leg and foot action

  • Breastroke—bringing heels to bottom, whipping legs round, toes pointed, straight leg to glide
  • Front crawl—kicking form hips, flexible knees and ankles, feet just breaking surface of water
  • Backstroke—kicking form hips, flexible knees and ankles, feet just breaking surface of water

Look for Arm action

  • Breastroke—Are they using the 4 points straight, pull down, push up, glide
  • Front crawl—Finger and thumb leading in to water, pull down, alternating arms
  • Backstroke—Little fingers leading in to water, arms past ears, pull down, alternating arms

Key Questions

  1. How did you identify which was you weakest stroke?
  2. What advise did your partner give you to improve?
  3. Did this work? Why do you think the advice worked?