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My Swim Buddy Methodology

Our gentle and effective approach allows us to reach our students where they are. Throughout the entire My Swim Buddy training process, our teachers are trained to read and begin to understand their student’s feedback (verbal and nonverbal) and then to introduce new skills based on each student’s needs, water comfort level, and learning capability. We seek to build our swimmer’s comfort, confidence, skills, and love for the water throughout their swim journey with us.

Levels of Achievement

The skills we measure are categorized by Safety, Breath Control, Buoyancy, and Movement / Stroke Development. Below you will find examples of competencies required for each category that swimmers must achieve to earn a specific color swim cap.

The colored cap system is a visible sign of a student’s progress and we award the caps as students reach significant levels of achievement in their swimming abilities. As a swimmer advances they must maintain the ability to perform the skills of lower levels.

*These skill lists are not all encompassing of our curriculum, but examples to help you understand levels of progression.

kind underwater holding breath wearing gray swim cap
white swim cap

Level 1: White Cap

Water Discovery & Confidence


Opens Eyes Under Water

Walks on Pool Deck

Waits to be Invited into Pool

Poolside Fun Fall to Float (Assisted Float)

Breath Control
Puffy Cheeks/Bubbles

Teeter-Totter w/Bubbles

Shallow Horizontal Launch w/Glides

Back Float – Assisted & Calm

Head Positioning

Swims w/ Horizontal Body

Movement & Stroke Development
Leg Movement on Noodle

Roll From Back to Tummy (Assisted)

Pulls Self up Independently

gray icon

Level 2: Gray Cap

Safety & Confidence


Enters and Exits Water from Stairs Safely

Grabs Rescue Tube or Pool Noodle

Breath Control
Full Body Shallow Submersion (Independent)

Self Initiated Rollover for Breath

Back Float Independently 5 Seconds

Swims w/ Horizontal Body Position & Eyes Down

Movement & Stroke Development
Effective Kicks

Soft Start to Rollover


orange icon

Level 3: Orange Cap

Pool Discovery & Safer Play


Knows When, Where, and How to Jump Safely

Retrieves Targeted Objects Underwater w/ Eyes Open

Breath Control
Nose Bubbles

Full Submersion to Sit

Full Submersion to Backfloat

Survival Stroke

Movement & Stroke Development
Swim – Float – Swim

Effective Arms 


green icon

Level 4: Green Cap

Independent Swimming


Swim – Float – Swim 30 ft Streamline Body

No Breath Holding Games

Breath Control
Head First Object Retrieval to Float

Bobs 10 5:1 Breath

Streamline Backstroke Kicks

Tread Water

Movement & Stroke Development
Freestyle w/ Windmill Arms 30 Feet

Streamline Kicking on Kickboard 30 Feet

yellow icon

Level 5: Yellow Cap

Safer – Stronger Swimmer


Knows When, Where, and How to Dive Safely

Can Fall into Pool, Float, Return to Safety

Breath Control
Pencil Jump w/ Extended Reach

Bobs 10 5:1 Streamline off Bottom

Elementary Backstroke 15 Yards

Submersion to Backfloat w/ Extended Reach

Movement & Stroke Development
Breaststroke Arms on Noodle

Streamline Kicking w/ Sticks and Fins to Rollover 20 Feet

purple icon

Level 6: Purple Cap

Swim Stroke Development


Elementary Backstroke Across Pool w/ Clothes On

Tread Water for 15 Seconds

Breath Control
Inhale Through Mouth – Exhale Through Nose

Side Breath on Both Sides

Back Kick w/ Belly Button Dry

Backstroke w/ Arm Circles

Movement & Stroke Development
Backstroke Shoulder Rolls w/ Hip Rotation

Backstroke Head Remains Still


blue icon

Level 7: Blue Cap

Swim Team Prep


Treads Water 30 Seconds

Uses Kick Board Safely

Breath Control
Head Turns Out w/ Arm Pull

Rythmic Breathing

Breaststroke 2 Kicks 1 Pull

M Dolphin Kicking w/ Forward Breath

Movement & Stroke Development
Arm Entry in Backstroke at 1 and 11 O’clock

Dolphin Kick



red icon

Level 8: Red Cap

Swim Team Star


Backstroke Count to Wall

Circle Swim

Breath Control
Butterfly Stroke Breathing

Flip Turn w/ 3-5 Dolphin Kicks

Backstroke – Use Kick to Drive Rotation

Freestyle – Body Position Kicking Face Up

Movement & Stroke Development 
Early Vertical Forarm 

Underwater for Backstroke Start