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Making the transition from vertical to horizontal

This is an excerpt from Complete Guide to Primary Swimming edited by John Lawton.


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Having completed unit 4, Face in the Water, learners should be comfortable moving in the water, participating in games and fun activities, having their faces in the water and having water in their mouths. Unit 5 focuses on developing the ability to float; once mastered, floating makes the transition to swimming both simple and speedy. In fact, in many respects swimming can be described as floating combined with movements of the arms and legs. Once they are able to float, learners will be well on the way to developing the swimming strokes. During units 1 through 4, learners have been predominantly vertical in the water, but the swimming strokes require a horizontal body position. Making the transition from vertical to horizontal is a significant step in helping the learner to swim.

Linking to the National Curriculum Requirements

During this unit the learners are introduced to the following aspects of the National Curriculum (NC). The NC references are detailed in How to Use This Book.

Outcome 5.1

Be comfortable floating on the front and back, and be able to regain the standing position.

Equipment and Resources

Pool divider to prevent access to deeper water; floats or woggles; assistant in the water if possible


Read more from Complete Guide to Primary Swimming, edited by John Lawton.


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Complete Guide to Primary Swimming
Complete Guide to Primary Swimming makes teaching swimming simple. Using this 10-unit programme, you’ll guide your key stage 2 pupils through sequential activities that will help them learn the four strokes: backstroke, front crawl, breaststroke, and butterfly. The book includes easy-to-follow games and activities, outcome checklists for each unit, equipment lists and teaching tips, and illustrations of techniques.
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