Learn to Swim Pathway

Core Aquatics’ Award of Achievement

To ensure our swimmers are always rewarded for their excellent swimming, Nicole created the Core Aquatics’ Award of Achievement. Swimming isn’t easy and some skills can be quite challenging, yet the more simple skills can be a huge milestone to overcome.


To maintain standards, Core Aquatics operates a robust process of assessment verification within the Core Aquatics team. Criterion must be shown over a number of weeks not just as a ‘one off’. Awards will not be awarded based on parental pressure/requests, if the swimmers are not ready/demonstrated the criterion outcome on numerous occasions within the term.

Introduction to the Learn to Swim Pathway

Core Aquatics uses the Swim England ‘Learn to swim’ pathway which recognises swimmer progression through certificates and badges. Since the Amateur Swimming Association re-branded to Swim England, the certificates have been redesigned and criteria has slightly changed. Please note the changes below.

The basic levels, such as Ducklings encourage swimmers to be comfortable in the water and build their confidence. The rest of the pathway gradually builds technique, stamina, skill and knowledge. At the end of the pathway the swimmer can choose, if they wish, to specialise in a particular area of swimming; diving, rookie lifeguard, synchronised swimming and competitive swimming..

Each category of award also contains a number of levels for example, there are four grades in the Duckling level.


Please see ASA Awards Badges Certificates for full awards information and specific criteria. The new certificates also have the outcomes achieved on the reverse.

Here is a brief outline of the awards:

I CAN awards – used for encouragement and acknowledgement of skills namely;

  • I CAN jump in
  • I CAN blow bubbles
  • I CAN enter the water
  • I CAN enter, turn, return
  • I CAN exit safely
  • I CAN float (back)
  • I CAN float (front)
  • I CAN roll over
  • I CAN swim

The remaining awards are:

Main/core awards:

  • Alpha Steps
  • Duckling
  • Stages 1-7
  • Stages 8-10

Supporting awards – can be award during stages or in addition to other awards. 

  • Water Skills 1-6
  • Rainbow Distance (5m, 10m …)
  • Rainbow Stroke* (5m frontcrawl, 10m breaststroke…)
  • Swim Stroke*
  • Swim Challenge
  • Water Safety
  • Preliminary and competitive start

*Only awarded if the stroke technique meets the Swim England standards.