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Russell Aquatics Guppy


Russell Aquatics’ Guppy program is designed for little fish aged 3 months - 23 months old. The Guppy program focuses on educating the caregiver on how to handle their child in the water, introducing water to them in a playful and fun way.

Skills such as rollovers, shallow water movement, swim-arounds and fall-ins are important safety skills that are key to teaching survival in the water in the case of an accidental fall in. Skills learned in the Guppy program are transferable with all skills being a direct progression to those learned and taught in our Starfish program.

Guppy 1 is for infants aged 3- 11 months old. In this program, caregivers will learn the safe way to enter and exit the water with an infant, condition the infant to having water in and around their face and head, submerge underwater safely and will start to learn basic skills such as floats and kicking. Rollovers will also be introduced as an important water safety skill that will help to teach infants what to do if there is an unexpected fall into the water. Caregivers will leave with the confidence to practise these skills any time they encounter water, including during bathtime at home!

Guppy 2 is for infants aged 12- 23 months old. In Guppy 2, caregivers will continue to build on the skills learned in Guppy 1. More advanced skills such as slipstream swimming and swim arounds will be the focus as we educate both the caregiver and infant as they become developmentally able to understand the safety behind the skill. Wall grabs and monkey crawls allow infants to move to a point of safety and safely get out of the pool. These skills will also help for a smooth transition into our Starfish program once the infant turns 2 years old!

Russell Aquatics Happy Student


Russell Aquatics’ Starfish program is designed for our little swimmers between the ages 2 - 5 years. The Starfish program focuses on discovering a love for the water as well as teaching fundamental safety skills.

The Starfish program teaches on skills that will not only get swimmers comfortable in the water but teach important safety skills such as floats, breath control, how to get in and out of the water safely and allows children to discover the love for the water in a fun and educational way. Swimmers will complete the starfish program being able to float and swim short distances unassisted.

Russell Aquatics Starfish

Starfish 1 is the first of our preschool program levels. In Starfish 1, students will focus on becoming comfortable in the water without a parent or guardian. Starfish 1 students will complete skills with assistance throughout and work on important fundamental skills such as breath control, floats and kicking. They will also continue to build on skills learned in the Guppy program but work on these without a caregiver in the water but also is the first step in the swim journey for our little fish if they have never taken lessons before!

Starfish 2 continues to build on the comfort in the water that students obtained from being in Starfish 1. Little fish will be working on full body and head submersions, front floats and kicks with their face in comfortably for 5 seconds, unassisted back floats for 5 seconds and kicking on their back with an aid. Starfish 2 swimmers will finish off the level being comfortable with their full face and body in the water and beginning their independent swimming journey. Swimmers entering Starfish 2 should be comfortable putting their face in the water by themselves.

Starfish 3 builds on the independent skills learned in Starfish 2. Swimmers will begin working on independent floats on their front for 5 seconds and completing the oh-so important rollover float, which is a vital swim survival skill. With an emphasis on independent water safety skills and swimming skills, Starfish 3 swimmers will complete the level being able to rollover from front to back and grasping the nearest point and safety to secure themselves. Students entering Starfish 3, should be able to float on their back unassisted for 5 seconds and be relaxed on the front and back positions.

Russell Aquatics Happy Student and Intructor


Russell Aquatics’ Seahorse program is designed for our little swimmers between the ages of 2 - 5 years that have completed the Starfish program and are able to float independently. The Seahorse program focuses on developing independence in the water and building off the basic skills learned in the starfish program.

The Seahorse program challenges swimmers to begin swimming unassisted with skills such as rollovers, front crawl and back crawl to encourage swimming over longer distances. Seahorse also focuses on safety skills such as knowing where the point of safety is, float tests where they mimic a fall into water with clothing on and always asking for permission before entering a body of water.


Seahorse 4 is for little fish that are comfortable floating on their front and back unassisted for 5 seconds and are ready to start more independent swimming skills. Skills such as rollover glides, front and back kicking and beginning the starting stages of learning to use arms and legs together to propel themselves forward are learned and mastered in this program to prepare them to begin to learn strokes in Seahorse 5.

Seahorse 5 will see swimmers begin to learn the basics of front crawl and progressions that will lead to back crawl. Seahorse 5 focuses on learning progressions and beginning stages of strokes and increases distances in which swimmers will complete these skills independently. The float test, which prepares swimmers for an unexpected fall into the water, must also be completed without clothing in this level. Swimmers should be completely swimming independently on their front and back for a minimum of 5 metres to enter into this level.

Seahorse 6 is the final level in our preschool program. Seahorse 6 introduces back crawl as well as adds in side glide breathing to front crawl. Seahorse 6 prepares our swimmers to enter the Turtle program and swim longer distances and continue to develop strokes and foundational skills. The float test, which prepares swimmers for an unexpected fall into the water, must also be completed with clothing and shoes to complete this level. Swimmers entering this level should be able to swim independently using arms and legs for 5-7 metres, consistently taking independent breaths on their back.


Russell Aquatics’ Turtle program is designed for our swimmers between the ages of 6- 12 years with the focus being on building independent swimming skills and teaching and mastering the foundational skills associated with learning strokes.

The Turtle program focuses on teaching those who may be new to the water as well as those that may be comfortable in the water but need to learn and develop independence in the water. Skills such as unassisted rollovers, front crawl, side glides, and back crawl are introduced and practised in order to set swimmers up to begin to swim longer distances using strokes in the Stingray program.

Russell Aquatics Turtle
Russell Aquatics Student

Turtle 1 is designed for swimmers aged 6-12 years old who are starting their swimming journey or need to focus on building comfort in the pool. Skills such as full body submersions, front and back floats for 5 seconds, glides and kicking with an aid for 3-5 metres are introduced and developed. Turtle 1 fosters comfort in the water to begin to build foundational swimming skills.

Turtle 2 builds off of the basic swimming skills learned in Turtle 1. Independent swimming and skills such as rollovers and circle arms for 5 metres as well as treading for 10 seconds are introduced. These skills are progressions that will allow swimmers to learn how to use their arms and legs to propel themselves forward which will set them up for success when it comes to learning swim strokes. The float test, which prepares swimmers for an unexpected fall into the water, must also be completed with clothing and shoes to complete this level. Swimmers entering Turtle 2 must be able to submerge their head and body comfortably as well as float and glide independently.

Turtle 3 introduces swimmers to front and back crawl strokes with a focus on skills and drills that will assist with the development of stroke technique. An interval swim, which allows swimmers to learn how to pace themselves when swimming longer distances, is also practised to guide our little turtles towards the Stingray program. Turtle 3 swimmers must be able to swim a minimum distance of 5 metres without assistance to enter this level.


Russell Aquatics’ Stingray program is designed for intermediate swimmers between the ages of 6- 12 years who have mastered the foundational skills learned in the turtle program and are ready to work on developing their stroke technique and improve on their endurance.

The Stingray program focuses on developing and working on front crawl and back crawl technique while introducing breaststroke to swimmers. Endurance based skills such as interval training, treading, and timed endurance swims are introduced in order to teach students to pace themselves and swim for longer durations without tiring. Important water safety messages are introduced so that swimmers and parents/guardians are aware of risks that are associated with being in and around the water.

Russell Aquatics Stingray

Stingray 4 challenges swimmers to begin to focus on stroke technique including introducing front crawl with side breathing for 15 metres, whip kick for 10 metres and back crawl for 15 metres. An endurance swim of 50 metres is also introduced to have students swim longer distances without stopping. Safety messages such as swimming in backyard pools and open water are also taught within this level. Swimmers entering Stingray 4 should already know the basics of front and back crawl and be swimming independently for 8 metres using their arms and legs.

Stingray 5 introduces swimmers to whip kick, breaststroke arms and the breaststroke sequence to swimmers for the first time. Swimmers will also increase distances required for their strokes to 25 metres and their endurance swim will also introduce a timed component, with them swimming 100 metres in 10 minutes or less. An assessment will be completed where swimmers must jump, tread and swim in order to complete this level component, similar to a swim test one might complete for swimming in the deep end at rec facilities. Swimmers entering Stingray 5 should be able to swim 15 metres of front and back crawl, using proper technique as well as be able to swim 50 metres using either front or back crawl continuously.

Stingray 6 builds on the stroke technique built throughout the Stingray program. Swimmers will increase stroke distances to 50 metres for front and back crawl and 25 metres for breaststroke. Lifesaving kicks such as scissor kick, inverted scissor kick and eggbeater will be introduced as important lifesaving and safety skills. The endurance swim will also increase to 150 metres which should be completed in 10 minutes. Swimmers entering Stingray 6 should be able to swim a minimum of 25 metres of front and back crawl while maintaining proper technique, have an understanding of the breaststroke sequence and be able to swim 100 metres within 10 minutes.

Russell Aquatics High Five


Russell Aquatics’ Dolphin program is designed for our advanced swimmers between the ages of 6- 12 years who have developed their strokes and are looking to further advance their technique and endurance.

The Dolphin program focuses on perfecting stroke technique and challenging endurance skills. Safety and rescue skills such as sprints, head-up strokes, lifesaving kicks and reverse-and-ready are taught. With an emphasis on introducing skills to ensure that strokes are as efficient as possible while taking an in-depth look at the mechanics behind strokes, swimmers are sure to complete the program being the most advanced of swimmers and are set up for success as they move through the Swim Patrol program.

Russell Aquatics Dolphin

Dolphin 7 continues to develop important stroke techniques to ensure that strokes are as efficient as possible. Underwater pulls are introduced with front and back crawl with swimmers maintaining stroke technique throughout 75 metres. Breaststroke distance also increases to 50 metres and head-up strokes, sprints and throwing rescues are introduced. Swimmers entering Dolphin 7 should know front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke as well as be able to swim 150 metres within 10 minutes using one of the three above strokes.

Dolphin 8 is the final level in Russell Aquatics’ swimmer program. Dolphin 8 students will increase stroke distances to 100 metres for front and back crawl and 75 metres for breaststroke. Stroke quality must be maintained throughout and swimmers will complete this level with near-perfect stroke technique and efficiency. Lifesaving skills such as reverse-and-ready and EMS calling will be practised in mock situations and perfected. Swimmers' endurance will receive the ultimate challenge in swimming 250 metres of front crawl, back crawl or breaststroke within 10 minutes while maintaining stroke quality. Swimmers entering Dolphin 8 should be able to swim 75 metres of front and back crawl as well as 50 metres of breaststroke. They also should know eggbeater and scissor kicks and be able to swim 200 metres within 10 minutes or less.

Russell Aquatics Sideglide


Russell Aquatics’ Shark program is designed for our superstar swimmers that have completed the Swimmer, Swim Patrol or Bronze program who are looking to continue their swimming, work on stroke development, brush up on skills and continue to work on their endurance.

The Shark program focuses on helping advanced swimmers become ultra swimmers. Working on making strokes as proficient as possible, maximising endurance, and even brushing up on skills that they may be out of practice on. The shark program helps to bridge the gap between programs and ensure that students do not regress and forget important skills.

Russell Aquatics Shark
Canadian Swim Patrol Badges

Swim Patrol

The Lifesaving Society’s Canadian Swim Patrol program is the on-ramp to lifeguarding. This program teaches swimming skills, first aid and rescue techniques.

The Swim Patrol provides enriched training for those who are ready to go beyond learn-to-swim. Swim Patrol's three levels - Rookie, Ranger, and Star - continue to develop participants' swim strokes and provide the skill foundation that prepares them for success in the Society's Bronze medal awards.

Canadian Swim Patrol Rookie

Rookie Patrol : Swimmers continue stroke development with 50 m swims of front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke. Lifesaving Sport skills include a 25 m obstacle swim and 15 m object carry. First aid focuses on assessment of conscious victims, contacting EMS and treatment for bleeding. Fitness improves in 350 m workouts and 100 m timed swims.

Canadian Swim Patrol Ranger

Ranger Patrol : Swimmers develop better strokes over 75 m swims of each stroke. They tackle Lifesaving Sport skills in a lifesaving medley, timed object support and rescue with a buoyant aid. First aid focuses on assessment of unconscious victims, treatment of victims in shock and obstructed airway procedures. Skill drills develop a strong lifesaving foundation.

Canadian Swim Patrol Star

Star Patrol : Swimmers are challenged with 600 m workouts, 300 m timed swims and a 25 m object carry. Strokes are refined over 100 m swims. First aid focuses on treatment of bone or joint injuries and respiratory emergencies including asthma and allergic reactions. Lifesaving skills include defence methods, victim removals and rolling over and supporting a victim face up in shallow water.

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