ABOUT THE SWIM ACADEMY
The Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy (LKSA) is a learn to swim program that offers a comprehensive teaching method, a successful business operations model, a reward curriculum, staff training and ongoing support that makes us one of the most successful premier learn to swim programs in the country.
LKSA was founded in 2005 by four-time Olympic Gold Medalist Lenny Krayzelburg who remains intimately involved managing day-to-day operations of the academy. LKSA distinguishes itself from competitors by using our own SwimRight Method, utilizing the swim-float-swim technique as its foundation and focusing on providing children with knowledge, confidence and safety skills in and around water. From these basic skills we take students from the beginning stages of swimming all the way to learning the 4 strokes of freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. Unfortunately drowning continues to be the leading cause of injury and death for young children ages 1 through 4 and is one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of 13. Our vision is to reverse these unfortunate statistics and make a difference in the lives of young children and their families.Currently the program is implemented year round in 14 JCC's across the country. In addition one of the largest day camps in the country, JCC Camps at Medford (Cherry Hill JCC), has been using LKSA program for the past 4 summers. Day camps at JCC's in Brooklyn, Austin, Dallas, Louisville and Boston have also incorporated our swim program into their curriculum as well. LKSA has also been managing the swim lesson program at the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds on Staten Island for the past six years
The SwimRight® method is a comprehensive, results driven teaching method emphasizing proper body position techniques as the fundamental components of learning to swim and water safety as a foundation. The focus of our teaching method is to start with the most important component of water safety, the back float. From there we build on horizontal body positioning, rotations from back to stomach and vice versa, followed with proper kicking while maintaining the correct position. When the skills are solidified, and only then, we will start introducing arms strokes through a progression of various drills.
This teaching curriculum is structured in a detailed progression where we build on mastering one skill before moving on to another. Breaking things down skill by skill allows our instructors to teach a detailed progression and build upon what the children have learned and then progressively move forward to more advanced skills. With this approach children have a faster learning curve because they are learning new skills only once they have solidified and mastered all preceding skills.The first 5 levels of the method are all hands on instruction with instructors always in the water with their student(s). Because the children are always swimming the correct way, building muscle memory for each skill, our approach is highly successful. The last 2 levels are called stroke advance where the instructor is on deck in a "coach-like" setting. By working through a series of advanced drills for each stroke, these two levels focus on the mastering of all four swimming strokes.
The two main differences between the SwimRight® method and the American Red Cross (ARC) program are the detailed progression that the SwimRight® method provides and the instructor training methodology.
ARC provides general guidelines as to what skills should be taught in each level without much guidance on how to teach them and essentially allows instructors to use their own notions as to how to teach skills. With the SwimRight® method all teaching is structured and instructors are trained in how to teach each skill and follow specific progressions. Every SwimRight® instructor will follow the same progression of skills and will be knowledgeable as to when each skill is mastered so the swimmer can properly progress when ready.
Over the years we have found that majority of the instructors exposed to both programs prefer teaching the SwimRight® method because of its detailed structure and "roadmap" on how to teach. The difference between the two methods becomes more significant in the camp setting where camps generally engage younger and somewhat less sophisticated instructors that do not have a lot of experience teaching and therefore need more guidance and assistance with their teaching methodology.While being exposed to the SwimRight® method, children might be in a specific level longer vs. ARC but ultimately they will benefit much more by having learned swimming and water safety skills based on a more structured program, progressing only when skills have truly been mastered, and having a more solid foundation on which to build upon.
Staying true to our vision of reversing the unfortunate drowning statistics (referred to earlier), we have incorporated survival tests into our curriculum. Every skill that is taught in the SwimRight® method has an associated safety component giving our instructors an opportunity to teach children how to react when in a body of water in case of emergency. Doing survival tests allow us to make sure that our students know what to do and how to react in case something happens unexpectedly.All the survival tests are performed with the highest level of safety and with additional instructors in the water. For the survival tests, children are pushed into the water and they need to perform specific skills they have learned, depending on their level, to save themselves. Taking into consideration the sensitivity of these tests and how they align with policies and culture of an individual agency, it is up to the agency to decide if these tests are to be incorporated in their program and with their campers.
Keeping accurate and consistent records of the skills the children are learning throughout the summer is an important component of our program. We have created these certificates to help keep track of every child's progress and to motivate children to aspire to further achievement. Once all the skills in a particular level have been accomplished, the progress certificate is given to the child to take home permanently and show it off to family and friends while a new progress certificate is prepared to chart progress at the next level. Below is the example of the certificate: ( please call location for an example )
Splashers - Level 1
This is the first level in our SwimRight® method. It is designed primarily for young and/or students fearful of the water. The Splashers level will introduce students to the aquatic environment and the basic skills of our program. Students will become acquainted with "Submersion" and "Assisted Kick, Kick, Kick". This will help the fearful students feel more comfortable in their new environment and develop trust in their instructor. Soon thereafter, they will start to learn the basics for swimming and water safety. Skills such as the "Assisted Back float" will start to prepare a student for what to do in an aquatic emergency, while "Assisted Launch" will start to lay the technical foundation for stroke development in later levels. The key aspect of this level is comfort!
Floaters - Level 2
The Floaters level is primarily designed to solidify water safety concepts and becoming independent. The main goal is to develop the student's ability to roll over to a stable back float that we call "Independent Back Float" and training them to react appropriately in case of an emergency. Students in the Floaters level are taught how to use their back float as a means to rescue themselves if they fall into a body of water. Skills such as "Jump in and Float" and "The Unsinkable Back float" will help to prepare a child for any event that may happen to them in or around the water. These skills will also help our students in the later levels since freestyle and backstroke skills will utilize these lateral rotations for proper breathing mechanics.
Kickers - Level 3
The Kickers level focuses on independence and technique. The skills associated with "Kick-Float-Kick" and "Monkey, Airplane, Rocket" will help to develop a student's independence and confidence in the pool. Additionally, several body-positioning drills are introduced to focus on technique and form. In this level students will really start to master their flutter kick, learn some foundational swimming positions like the "Streamline Position Kick" and start to learn the basics of the arm pull. "Independent 15 yard Swim" will demonstrate how much more independent and confident the student has become. While technique and independence are the main focus of the Kickers level, our students will also spend time honing their Safety Skills and practicing to be ready for any unforeseen circumstances.
Streamliners – Level 4
In the Streamliners level our students will begin to develop their freestyle and backstroke. All of the skills and drills they have mastered so far will help them to maintain proper technique as they begin to learn the strokes. "Catch Up Stroke" is introduced in this level before the full freestyle to encourage proper technique and good habits. Our students will learn proper and efficient lateral breathing with "Sidekick" and "Sidekick Roll to Stomach." They will learn how to swim backstroke with long, straight arms by doing "1 Arm Pulls" and "Double Arm Pulls" while still focusing on technique and efficiency.
Freestylers – Level 5
In the Freestylers level, focus will remain on further developing freestyle and backstroke while beginning to learn the components of breaststroke and butterfly. "One Arm Pulls w/ Opposite Arm Down" and "Superman Catch Up" will start to build upon drills from previous levels and thereby adding to our students swimming repertoire while bringing their freestyle and backstroke towards a more competitive form. Students will learn the fundamentals of the breaststroke kick with "Wall Breaststroke Kick" and "Streamline Position Breaststroke Kick" while always keeping an eye on proper form. A key drill "Assisted Dolphin Kick" will help our students learn the form and timing of the butterfly stroke.
Gliders – Level 6
The focus of the Gliders level is to continue improving upon proficiency in the freestyle and backstroke by introducing more complex drills and mixing them into the full strokes. Some of the important drills taught and practiced in this level are "Backstroke w/ 4 & 2 Count Hesitation" and various "Body Rotation Drills." We will also add additional drills to breaststroke and butterfly to help with the progression of these two strokes. Swimmers will learn the arm stroke progression for breaststroke and butterfly as they practice their "Basic Front Skull" and "Butterfly arms w/Flutter Kick." They will also continue to focus on good technique and proper body position.
Flyers – Level 7
The Flyers level is the last and most advanced level in the SwimRight® method. The goal of this level is to perfect all of the strokes. We believe that proper stroke technique is developed through a progressive series of drills. In the Flyers level, drills become more advanced and help swimmers to further improve on their technique. By the end of the Flyers level our students will be able to swim all four competitive strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly) with good technique and can now easily transition onto a swim team. Some advanced drills like "6 Count Switch w/Armpit" and "Kick w/One Arm Above Water" will continue to bring our students to more of a competitive level. With butterfly and breaststroke being timing stokes, "Breaststroke Glide Drill," "Pull-kick-Glide" and the "3 Kicks, 1 Pull" drill for butterfly will help to improve that all-critical timing aspect.
All campers will be evaluated during their first few days of camp to determine what level they should be placed into. Those campers who participated in LKSA program in previous summer, will also be evaluated. Their levels from last summer will be taken into consideration. Depending on the schedule and staff availability there is a possibility that some of the evaluations can be performed at your JCC prior to the beginning of camp.
We recognize that many campers might know how to swim but our program is really based on teaching PROPER body alignment to truly master the strokes. Therefore, during evaluations, campers might be placed into a lower level in order to reestablish and solidify proper body alignment which will help with overall improvement of the strokes.
Campers can graduate to the next level at any time during the summer once they master all the skills in their current level. Instructors will determine if a camper is proficient with all the skills and thereby ready to move up to the next level.
Each swimmer is given a color-coded cap to clearly identify their specific level. Each level in the program has a distinctly different color. Color coded-caps are used to enhance safety and to help lifeguards and other staff to easily identify a campers' skill level and also serves as an incentive for the kids to graduate to the next level and thereby receive a new color-coded cap. This system is similar to the color-coded belts used in Karate – in LKSA the Blue Cap is the goal!
Results are measured by analyzing a camper's progress from the start of the summer through the last day of swimming. Of course each child learns at a different pace so some will move up faster than others. However, EACH CAMPER exposed to our program will achieve skills mastery throughout the summer. Additionally, and most important, each skill has a water safety component incorporated into it which enhances the ability of each child to become water safe. Our program is driven by the quality of instruction and assuring that every skill learned is solidified by a swimmer's proper demonstration every time they are performing the skill.
Before the start of each summer season we require that all instructors complete twenty (20) hours of training in the SwimRight® method curriculum. The training course is usually led by our Head Instructors at the campgrounds site. The training course includes in-water training as well as classroom training components where the course instructors will review training videos with the prospective swim instructors. During training there will be a few written tests to assess knowledge and understanding of the SwimRight® method progression of skills.
Our goal during training is to communicate our mission of "Teaching Swimming One Stroke at a Time" and provide a platform where everyone understands and is in harmony with the mission. All instructors associated with the Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy are constantly reminded of their very important role in teaching young children water safety and the importance of this is emphasized throughout the training process.All instructors are given access to the instructor-training component of the LKSA websites before the summer so they can begin familiarizing themselves with the method and teaching philosophy. The training website is a great tool to enhance knowledge of the SwimRight® method curriculum; it includes teaching manuals, videos of each skill in the curriculum, examples of lesson plans, as well as an instructor forum where staff can discuss any topics pertaining to the method, teaching scenarios, or anything else that comes up during lessons.