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Campus Recreation

Swimming Lessons

The UofSC Aquatics staff will always work to make our students, faculty, staff, and dependents more comfortable in the water. Safety and youth swim lessons will be available.

Little Gamecocks Learn to Swim

Little Gamecocks Learn to Swim would like to invite all UofSC parents to continue their conversations about water safety and continue to work to improve their child's skills in and around the water. In order to do so, we have compiled the following materials for the upcoming weeks.

Water Safety Lessons and Discussions

The objective is to have children know how to protect themselves from the sun and sunburns.

Be sure to discuss the following: what is a sunburn and how they can get sunburnt and importance of sunscreen and sunglasses

  • Activity: place a random array of objects on the table; be sure to have sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and umbrella within the mix. Let your child pick all the objects that would protect them from the sun and have them explain how it would protect them.

The objective of this lesson is ensure all children know what are the general pool rules and how to identify a lifeguard.

Be sure to discuss the following: safety rules, how to identify a lifeguard, the dangers of swimming alone, the importance of swimming close to a lifeguard, and how to identify safety equipment.

  • Activity 1: After explaining who the lifeguard is and what they do around the pool, have your child draw a picture of a lifeguard in the stand with people practicing swimming with a buddy in the water; once you are at the pool, have your child point out the lifeguard to you before having them get in the water.
  • Activity 2: At the pool, start a game of I-spy in order to have them show you where the safety equipment is located around the pool. Items to include are: the ring buoy, lifeguard stand, shepherd's crook, backboard, and lifeguard office/first aid office. See our attached poster with safety rules.

The objective is for the child to understand the importance of entering a body of water safely and how to check for hazards in the water.

Be sure to discuss the following: what does a safe swimming area look like; how to check the water to see if if is safe to for swimming; what safety equipment should be present (great for having your children remember past safety discussions); looking for currents in the water.

  • Activity 1: Use the attached "Look Before you Leap" poster to have your child point out all of the hazardous items shown in the picture. After they have pointed out all of the items, have them draw you a safe swimming location. Be sure to have them include a lifeguard and parent as well as safety equipment.
  • Activity 2: Before going to the pool/river/lake, build a small cardboard boat at home; let your child decorate it however they would like as long as it will still float for 20-30 sec (you can also use a floating toy or ball for this activity). Once you have reached your swimming area, use the boat (or floating toy) to demonstrate how currents can pull objects and people away from the edge of the water.
  • Activity 3: Start a game of charades at your swimming area in which you or your child will act out the different types of animals and aquatic life that might be there.

The objective of this lesson to ensure that children understand situations in which they can help and situations that need emergency help.

Be sure to discuss the following: what is an emergency; calling 9-1-1 and knowing their name, what happened, and where they are; how to identify someone in trouble (someone calling for help from the water, floating or treading water but unable to swim forward, flapping or pressing their arms to their sides to stay above waterhow, holding onto a safety line or floating object in the water); how to help another swimmer in trouble.

  • Activity 1: Start a game of Red Light, Green Light. In this version of the game, you will list a situation (for example, someone fell and scrapped their knee). If the child thinks it's an emergency, they will get the green light; if the child thinks it's not an emergency but something an adult can help with, they will get the red light and have to stay put. If the child guesses incorrectly, they will have to take 2 big steps back.
  • Activity 2: Have the child explain what a troubled swimmer might look like. Then, to practice the Reach and Assist, use the attached "Reach or Throw, Don't Go" poster to show all of the ways they "Reach or Throw" in order to help that swimmer. Once they have seen the poster, use a small area in the pool OR a rug that is a pretend pool and tell your child that you are a troubled swimmer. Have the child lay flat on their stomach, reach out with a noodle/towel/ paddle etc, and yell "Grab On." Once you have grabbed on, have them pull you to the edge of the pool and ask "Are you Okay?"

The objective is that children know how to enter and exit a boat safely and understand the importance of using a lifejacket when on the water.

Be sure to discuss the correct method of getting in and out of a boat (grasp the side of the boat and balance the weight in the middle of the boat); how to find the capacity of a boat so that you don't overload the boat; what the importance of a lifejacket is; how to wear a lifejacket and make sure it fits (if you pull up on the tops of the shoulders of the lifejacket and it reaches the bottom of their ears, it's too big).

  • Activity 1: Have the child demonstrate the correct way to enter the boat. If you do not have a boat or canoe to practice this skill, have them demonstrate it while getting into a kiddy pool and/or bathtub by using both hands to hold onto the side and side step into the "boat." Once they are in the boat, have them tell you how to enter the boat and where to sit in order to balance the "boat."
  • Activity 2: Tell the child to show you how they will put on their lifejacket and how to check for it being the correct size. Once they have their lifejacket on and are at the water, have them enter the water and paddle around. But when you say "Titanic!" the child must proceed to practice survival floating on their stomach (see link below) or float on their back for survival (lay back and hold onto the lifejacket). Once you have told them it's safe, they can return to paddling around the pool.

Learn how to do the survival float this summer.

Skill and Stroke Development


We are currently putting together videos showing how to develop skills. We hope to have this material up and running real soon! If you would like skills based on your child's level to work on, please email the Coordinator of Aquatics, Ashley Oswald, for more information.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

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