Swim Path & Levels

Swim Path®

Skills for a lifetime of Confidence™

Our unique curriculum helps each student find their own unique path to developing skills for a lifetime of confidence. "Find the wall" and "flip to breathe" are more than skills for the pool. They are skills for a lifetime of loving water. 

Skills for a lifetime of Confidence™

Our unique curriculum helps each student find their own unique path to developing skills for a lifetime of confidence. "Find the wall" and "flip to breathe" are more than skills for the pool. They are skills for a lifetime of loving water. 

Learn to love the water at any age

Swim Path® takes into account each student’s age, previous water experiences, skills already developed, and the best pace for learning. Students progress when they have mastered each key skill.

Milestones are based on key skills, not arbitrary age or timeframes. Foss Teachers will identify the key incremental milestones a child needs to achieve to progress such as floating on their back, flipping to breathe on their side, and front crawl mastery. 

The majority of our new students start at various steps within our Learn-to-Swim progression. More experienced swimmers and those who have graduated from Learn-to-Swim can continue on to our Swim Stronger and Swim Faster progressions. 

Find your swimmer's Swim Path®

Where to begin? This tool will show a Swim Path® based on your swimmer’s goal, age, and ability. We’ll show you the recommended class to enroll in first, as well as your swimmer’s projected path through the progression to graduation. 

First, select a progression


Swimming Basics
6 Months to Adult

Swim Stronger

Build Strength and Technique
5-13 Years Old

Swim Faster

Race and Compete
8-17 Years Old

We recommend your swimmer start in a class.
See available classes or camps at your local Foss Swim School by logging in or creating a Family Account.

We recommend your swimmer comes in for a free Preview Class. We want to ensure your swimmer is placed in a level where they can learn and progress appropriately. Please call the school to schedule a Preview Class or log in to view and enroll in a Preview Class

This is an example path based on swimmer age and ability, actual path will be tailored to each individual swimmer once our teachers start working with them.

More about the Progression →

Water Adjustment

At any age, starting as soon as 6 months, kids and adults learn to acclimate to the water, to overcome fears, to bond with each other, to enjoy water. Students focus on putting their face in the water and getting back to the edge of the pool with assistance. Keep in mind that these classes often require a parent or guardian to be in the water during the lesson.

Levels focused on Water Adjustment skills:

  • Backfloat Baby 1, 2, 3
  • Little 1
  • Middle 1
  • Big 1
  • 10+ 1
  • Adult 1

Float Up

At this step of the Swim Path®, students will focus on floating on their front and back while learning to flip between the two. They’ll use their hands and feet to move their bodies through the water while floating on top of the surface. Equally important, students will learn to self-adjust to rise up to the surface when underwater. 

Levels focused on Float Up skills:

  • Backfloat Baby 3, 4
  • Little 1, 2, 3
  • Middle 1
  • Big 1
  • 10+ 1
  • Adult 1

Flip to Breathe

This step of the Swim Path® mixes float competence and propulsion to build stronger swimmers who can move continually while coordinating and controlling their breathing.  

Levels focused on Flip to Breathe skills:

  • Backfloat Baby 4
  • Little 2, 3, 4
  • Middle 1, 2
  • Big 1
  • 10+ 1
  • Adult 1

Swim Confidently

Students will learn to swim the four strokes with an emphasis on proper technique and timing. Mastery of this step in the progression makes for safer swimmers during recreational water activities. 

Levels focused on Swim Confidently skills:

  • Middle 3, 4
  • Big 2, 3
  • 10+ 1, 10+ 2
  • Adult 2, 3

Graduation from the Learn-to-Swim Progression

Congratulations! Your swimmer has learned to swim more safely and more confidently. They have gained a valuable lifelong skill. 


Build Endurance

Swimmers who love water or those looking to prepare for a swim team will find this step in the Swim Path® most rewarding. Technique is built alongside endurance and strength.

Levels focused on Build Endurance skills:

  • Middle 5
  • Big 4, 5

Graduation from the Swim Stronger Progression

Congratulations! Your swimmer has now mastered all four strokes with proper technique and is now ready to focus on speed and be introduced to competitive swimming. 


Learn to Race & Racing

Swimmers work toward applying speed and power to their strokes with the ultimate goal of increasing their speed, efficiency and timing. 

Levels focused on Learn to Race & Racing skills:

  • Big 6
  • Local swim team

Graduation from the Swim Faster Progression

Congratulations! Your swimmer is well positioned for competitive swimming and ready to join a swim team! 


Three progressions of Swim Path®

The FOSS Swim Path® carefully builds swimming ability and competence by introducing and perfecting a series of skills and then putting them all together. Select a progression to see the core abilities taught in each, and the steps and levels involved.


Swimming Basics

6 Months to Adult

Swim Stronger

Build Strength and Technique
5-13 Years Old

Swim Faster

Race and Compete
8-17 Years Old

Selecting an appropriate level

We create an environment where students learn best. We teach skills appropriate for a student’s step on the Swim Path® in small classes with fellow students of similar age and ability.

  • Levels are named by age group and numbered by skill level
  • Students are recommended for a level appropriate to their age and skill development each quarter
  • Backfloat Baby 1-4: Age 6 months to 3 years
  • Little 1-4: Ages 3-5 years
  • Middle 1-5: Ages 5-7 years
  • Big 1-6: Ages 7-10 years
  • 10+: Age 10-17 years
  • Adult: 18 years and older
  • Local Swim Team

Weekly classes and camps:
Two ways to follow the Swim Path®

Choose the schedule that works best for your family: swim once a week, twice a week, or four times a week. Students work on the same Swim Path™ skill progressions in all classes. 

Weekly classes:

Attend class once a week for 10-15 weeks (depending on the quarter)

  • Scheduling that works well for families with multiple activities during the week.
  • More classes to help build skill and progress. 


Attend class twice a week for four weeks, or four times a week for two weeks

  • Scheduling that works well for families that would like to fit swimming into a two or four week time frame, such as a school break or between other sports or activities. 
  • Camp structure of less time between classes can help accelerate learning and progress.


Expect some repetition

In our experience, students may need additional time to work on skills. We don’t rush students to the next level on their Swim Path® until they’re ready – that would be unsafe and would shortcut their learning. Often, younger students will repeat a level, sometimes simply because their bodies are growing in spurts and it takes some time for their strength and coordination to sync up. 

How much does swim school cost?

Tuition varies by school and whether you choose to swim weekly or more often because it’s determined by the number of classes in the session. Visit your school’s page to view tuition details.

Getting started on the Swim Path®

New students overwhelmingly start in a “ones” class, such as Backfloat Baby 1, Little 1, Middle 1, Big 1, 10+ 1 or Adult 1. Sign in for availability at your location.ç

Weekly classes

Once-a-week classes over 10 to 15 weeks with a dedicated teacher and students of similar age and skill.

2 or 4-week Camps

The same curriculum as weekly classes in a shorter period – swim four times a week for two weeks, or twice a week for four weeks.

Not ready to enroll?
Schedule a Preview Class

Experience FOSS for yourself. Meet a teacher, experience a class, and get a personalized level recommendation.

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We’ll let you know when enrollment opens, share tips and stories, and extend offers:

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