SwimMark Club

The Academy waiting list is open for swimmers aged 5-10 years old. Please use this form to be added to our waiting list. Older swimmers will be expected to swim further, and more strokes, than younger swimmers - please see the stages below for guidelines.

Spring term 2024 starts Wednesday 10th January and finishes Sunday 24th March  
Lessons for all stages in Academy are at Ernest Bevin college, Tooting. 
Lessons continue through half term
Leander Academy is the teaching side of the club, where we aim to teach children of primary school age the correct technical ability to pursue competitive swimming, or simply be proficient in a vital life skill. We have over 300 swimmers currently being taught at Leander, many of whom progress to competitive swimming within our squads.

Leander’s Swim Academy Program

At Leander we offer children a fun, exciting and effective pathway to swimming excellence, inspired by the Swim England Learn to Swim Framework but adapted to ensure that swimmers are able to reach their best potential.

The Leander Academy Program follows the academic year from September to July. We assess swimmers regularly to ensure that they progress through the stages as their ability improves. The skills we develop throughout the carefully structured plan are geared towards competitive swimming but can be transferred to any other aquatic sport. They enable children to be confident in water and the many activities it has to offer, giving them a skill for life.

Whether you wish to join for the safety or the competitive element, the Academy will establish a proficiency in swimming that arguably only a competitive swimming club can achieve. All of our teachers are not only suitably qualified, but also have a competitive swimming background.

Trials are held throughout the year, although due to popularity spaces are often limited.

Please note that for all stages there is also a £40 yearly membership fee in addition to the fee for the term (see individual stages).

Stage 1: (Optimum Age: 5yrs)

Being introduced to the water can often be a daunting experience for children. Stage 1 of our Academy Program aims to quickly build the confidence in young non-swimmers, using lots of fun to help children explore this new environment. Children participate in teacher led games and exercises in order to accomplish the foundational movements which are the building blocks of swimming.

This stage will help to establish water confidence and a sense of water safety rules, as well as ensuring that the pool becomes an enjoyable environment. Soon they will be able to kick with aids up to 10m on their front and back, float on the water using aids and support, understand breath control and be able to submerge fully. They will also be able to enter and exit the water safely, whether they are climbing or jumping into shallow water.

Stage 2: (Optimum Age: 5yrs)

Swimmers will eventually be able to swim independently on both their front and back for up to 15m without stopping, unaided by floats and unassisted by our teachers. We now start to really focus on swimming, practicing front crawl and backstroke drills and lots of push and glide to get positioning right. These drills will begin to build the foundations of a good technique. As they progress and the swimmers begin to gain more confidence, strokes begin to improve.

Stage 3: (Optimum Age: 6yrs)

Now that confidence and the ability to swim has been achieved, we start to focus on learning the correct techniques on both front and back establishing a solid foundation for the next stages. Swimmers learn through not only the correct arm and leg movement, but also the correct body position and breathing techniques for frontcrawl and backstroke so that they are eventually able to swim 25m unaided and unassisted in both shallow and deep water.

Stage 4: (Optimum Ag: 6-7yrs)

In stage 4 swimmers practice strokes over 25m distances for their whole lesson. Breaststroke is introduced, working towards mastering a new stroke whilst also continuing to improve their front crawl and backstroke techniques with various drills. We dedicate a portion of every lesson to diving from the side, as well as learning the correct underwater sequences to be used after diving. As they develop a truly technical understanding of three individual strokes, they will also increase their strength and stamina. Once swimmers have the correct breaststroke timing and corrected any 'screw' kick they will be moved to stage 4B.

Stage 5: (Optimum Age: 7-8yrs)

Stage 5 enables swimmers to swim up to 50m continuously while focusing on specific drills to improve their technique and build their stamina. Butterfly is also introduced, allowing the swimmers to understand and build techniques for all 4 strokes. Lessons focus primarily on one stroke at a time in order to analyse techniques and make corrections required. Personal feedback is given to individuals throughout the 30 minute lesson.

Lessons focus primarily on one stroke at a time in order to analyse techniques and make corrections required. Our small groups of up to ten swimmers mean that teachers can give personal feedback to individuals throughout the 30 minute lesson.

Stage 6: (Optimum Age; 8-9yrs)

Now in the more advanced stages of the Academy program, swimmers are taught to understand the importance of swimming with precision technique to produce a quality performance. Focus is still primarily on technique and there is more focus on developing legal turns (including tumble turns) and starts from the block. In addition swimmers start to learn the elements of Individual Medley, which incorporates all four strokes and the correct turns between each. The more advanced stages require more swimming, combining the control of technique and the demands of stamina as they swim more than 500m per lesson.

Swimmers are usually required to swim twice a week and commitment to sessions is expected for them to develop to their full potential.

Pre-Squad: (Optimum Age; 9yrs)

Pre-squad is seen as the start of the entry to the competitive side of swimming at Leander. Swimmers are helped to perfect all of their strokes and turns. We focus heavily on technique – using drills as well building stamina. Sessions incorporate all strokes as well as Individual Medley, sometimes working from the clock. Whilst swimming, they will be provided with feedback on all strokes which need improvement.

Swimmers are usually required to swim twice a week for 45 minutes per session and commitment is expected to these sessions for them to develop to their full potential. When appropriate they will be given the opportunity to trial for Leander squads.

At the end of this Stage teachers will assess each child according to ability, commitment and attendance, and where possible, will offer a place in our competitive squads In some cases, where appropriate, we may suggest other clubs, depending on what would be most suitable for your child.