After more than 75 years in operation, the Canadian Red Cross is winding down its swimming and water safety program. Effective fall 2022 Strathcona County will be transitioning from the Red Cross Swim Kids program to the Lifesaving Society's Swim For Life learn to swim and lifesaving programs.

While you may not have heard of the Swim for Life aquatics program before, the Lifesaving Society has operated in Canada for more than a century and is not new to our facilities. As we adopt the new program, resources are available to help inform you and your children on upcoming changes.

Red Cross to Swim for Life (Lifesaving Society) transition resources


Lifesaving Society aquatics programs

Parent & Tot aquatic programs

Parent & Tot classes provide an opportunity for parents and children to enjoy in-water interaction in a fun and social setting. Focusing on the importance of play and developing water positive attitudes and skills, children gain valuable exposure to being in and around the water. Parents will learn to be Water Smart® to keep themselves and their child safe in any aquatic setting. Activities and progressions in Parent & Tot are based on developmental stages. Parent & Tot levels are based on the age of the child.

Parent & Tot 1: Age: 4-12 months

Parents and babies will explore the water together under the watchful eyes of their instructor. They will learn how to safely enter and exit the water and work on getting ready to discover the water safely. Parents will learn how to safely support their child while they play.  

Parent & Tot 2: Age: 12-24 months

Instructors will lead sessions to help parents with children learn basic water safety skills in a welcoming environment. Parents are taught how to support their child with assisted entries and exits into water and support them in learning to float and kick. They can celebrate together when the child can get their face wet and blow bubbles for the first time.  

Parent & Tot 3: Age: 2-3 years

Parents will work towards supporting their toddlers in becoming more independent in the water. Getting in, getting out, going under, and floating, parents and toddlers will be introduced to different iterations of these fundamental skills. 


Preschool aquatic programs

Preschool gives children an early start on learning to swim. Children 3-5 years old will have fun while gaining foundational water skills and become comfortable in the water. Water Smart® education is incorporated into all Preschool levels to support children in learning how to keep themselves safe in and around the water. 

Preschool 1 

Preschoolers will be assisted by their instructor when learning to enter and exit water safely, jump into chest deep water, and put their faces in the water to blow bubbles. Becoming comfortable with floats and glides and moving safely in shallow water while wearing lifejackets will help them gain confidence with their water skills.  

Preschool 2

Preschoolers will work on becoming more independent with their water skills. Some of these skills include jumping into chest deep water unassisted, submerging and exhaling underwater, and floating and gliding with various buoyant aids. They will be introduced to lateral rollovers and practice their flutter kick on their backs.  

Preschool 3

Preschoolers will kick and glide their way through the water on their fronts and backs. They will work on retrieving objects from the bottom in water that is waist deep, and work towards mastering their floats, rollovers, glides, and kicks. In this level they work their way into deeper water for side entries and jumping in with their lifejackets on.  

Preschool 4 

Preschoolers will gain some independence in deep water. They will practice jumping into deeper water (including getting out by themselves), sideways entries, and opening their eyes underwater. These swimmers in training will work on completing 5m of front crawl in their lifejackets and work on their ability to tread water.  

Preschool 5

Preschoolers will work towards achieving important swimming milestones. They will work on being able to support themselves treading in deep water for 10 seconds and complete 5m swims with front crawl and back crawl. Wearing a lifejacket, they will practice forward roll entries into deep water, learn to whip kick in a vertical position, and be introduced to interval training.


Swimmer aquatic programs

Swimmer is a 6-level, success-oriented learn to swim program for children 5-12 years old. There is a prominent focus on in-water swimming practice as swimmers learn fundamental strokes and skills, mastering them as they progress through the program. Swimmers also learn how to be safe in, on, and around the water through Water Smart® education incorporated into every level.  

Swimmer 1

Building the foundation of swimming skill development beginner swimmers will gain confidence in the water as they learn safe entries into various depths of water, treading water in a lifejacket, opening their eyes underwater, and breath control. Once they have learned their floats, rollovers, glides, and kicks from front to back, they will front crawl their way into the next level.  

Swimmer 2

Swimmers will gain comfort in deeper water by jumping in, learning their sideways entry, and treading water without a lifejacket. Swimmers will be challenged by the introduction of various skills including, flutter kick on their front, back, and side, vertical whip kick with an aid, and swimming front crawl and back crawl for 10m. Swimmers will get to work on their Swim to Survive skills and be introduced to interval training.  

Swimmer 3

Swimmers will make a splash with their kneeling dives and forward roll entries. Swimmers will be challenged with the introduction to more difficult (but fun) skills such as handstands in shallow water and in front somersaults (in water). Increased time and distance components are incorporated for skills learned such as flutter kick on front and back, whip kick on back, front and back crawl, and interval training.  

Swimmer 4

Swimmers will move from a beginner to intermediate swimming level. Swimmers will complete standing dives, tread water for 1 minute, and work towards being able to swim underwater for 5m. Swimmers will achieve the Swim to Survive standard by being able to roll into deep water, tread water for 1 minute, and swim 50m. In addition to improving their front crawl, back crawl, and whip kick, swimmers will be introduced to breaststroke.  

Swimmer 5

Swimmers will be challenged with a whole new set of skills; Shallow dives, tuck jumps (cannonball entries), eggbeater kick, and backward somersaults (in water). Technique and endurance will also receive greater focus as swimmers will need to complete longer distance swims and interval training sessions for all their strokes.  

Swimmer 6

As the final level in the Swimmer program, swimmers will build up their advanced skillset. Swimmers will work towards mastering stride entries, compact jumps, and lifesaving kicks. They will also refine their strokes to increase their swimming strength, power, and endurance - critical for success in the 300m workout required to complete the level.


Canadian Swim Patrol

The Lifesaving Society’s 3 level Canadian Swim Patrol program is for swimmers who are ready to go beyond learn-to-swim. The programs focus on developing strength and proficiency while introducing swimmers to the challenging world of lifesaving. Swimmers will have fun enhancing their capability in the water, increasing their physical conditioning, and learning lifesaving judgement. Each level will continue to develop swimmers' strokes and provide a skill foundation that will prepare them for success in the Society's Bronze Medal Awards. Each level of the Canadian Swim Patrol program has three modules: Water Proficiency, First Aid, and Recognition and Rescue.  

Rookie Patrol

Rookie Patrol lays the foundation of the Swim Patrol program. It includes 4 main components: stroke refinement, fitness, first aid, and lifesaving. Stroke refinement is focused on front crawl, back crawl, and breaststroke. Fitness components include a 350m workout and 100m timed swim. Swimmers will learn about assessing conscious victims, contacting EMS, and treatment for bleeding. Rookie Patrol is rounded off with an introduction to lifesaving skills, including self rescue techniques, victim recognition, and using throwing assists.  

Ranger Patrol

Stroke refinement and underwater proficiency continues to be a focus in Ranger Patrol as it is critical for supporting swimmer fitness. Swimmers can expect their fitness levels to increase as they work towards a 200m timed swim. First aid at the Ranger Patrol level includes assessment of unconscious victims, treating for shock, and procedures for obstructed airways. Lifesaving skills are expanded to include object support and non-contact rescues with a buoyant aid.  

Star Patrol

Star Patrol will prepare swimmers for the Bronze Star Award. Strokes will continue to be refined through completion of 100m swims. It demands good physical conditioning as swimmers will be challenged with a 600m workout, 300m timed swim, and a 25m object carry. First aid at this level focuses on treatment of bone and joint injuries, and respiratory emergencies like asthma and allergic reactions. Lifesaving skills include in water defense methods, rolling over and supporting victims in shallow water, and removing victims from shallow water. Swimmers that complete Star Patrol will be well on their way to becoming bona fide Lifesavers.  

What's staying the same

We know these changes are a lot to take in, but not everything is changing right away! The following aquatics programs will remain unchanged until further notice:

  • Adapted lessons
  • Private lessons
  • Adult lessons
  • Teens lessons
  • Mermaids
  • Swim sports
  • SCUBA

Our main swimming programs page will always reflect the latest program offerings, and is a great resource to reference for all of the latest aquatic program offerings in one place.

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Last updated: Thursday, July 14, 2022
Page ID: 51242