We offer the opportunity for children to learn how to swim and also for young swimmers who are interested in becoming competitive swimmers to start competitions as soon as they are ready. We offer learn-to -swim classes in English and German, starting from the age of 5. Your children will learn how to swim in the American style of training. Starting with the back-stroke and learning all four strokes (Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle). Our coaches are able to speak both English and German.

As soon as your child is capable of getting around independently he will also be capable of getting into water with the risk of drowning! Therefore swimming lessons should begin as soon as possible. Very young children will not learn to swim per se but they can learn some skills to keep them SAFE. For logistic reasons the Bear-a-Cudas' Early Swimmers Program can only offer classes as of the age of five and up.

The child is taught to 'front glide', 'roll over on his/her back', 'float' and 'yell for help'. To do so, the child needs to overcome his/her fears of putting his/her face/head underwater as well as requires the skill to exhale used-air under the water and inhale new-air when above the water surface. This ability to breathe effectively not only can save lives but is the basics of learning how to swim for the rest of his life.The child will also learn other skills, for example: to glide (front and back), to jump from the side of the pool, to pick up objects from the pool floor, etc. A very young child or a child who is uneasy in the water will require more time to conquer these phases.

The next steps are more technique oriented irrelevant of the stroke chosen by the instructor (freestyle, breaststroke or backstroke) and the child will progress through every skill at his/her own pace until he/she can swim on his/her own and in good style.

Upon mastering the above the child (if he/she wishes to) will be ready to complete the first German Swimming Certification "Seepferdchen" (Sea Horse) test followed by the more advanced "Freischwimmer" Certification (Bronze, Silver, Gold). Passes and badges will be distributed upon successful completion of the testing at a cost of Euro 2,00. If you may have further questions concerning this program feel free to contact the instructors giving the courses or send an e-mail to our Registrar.

You can also read a more detailed curriculum of Early swimmers classes (what are we teaching in beginners, intermediate and advanced classes).


Early swimmers classes are organized by the Bear-a-Cudas Swim Club to provide English speaking swim classes for JFKS children (and other children if there are free spots) and to enable swimmers to graduate and become members of the swim team Bear-a-Cudas.



In Early swimmers, there are 3 levels, usually taking about a year to complete:


  1. Beginners (from beginner to Seepferdchen)
  2. Intermediate (from Seepferdchen to Bronze)
  3. Advanced (from Bronze to Silver and Gold)




Beginners/Seepferdchen Group


feeling good in water world

blowing bubbles

holding breath

putting face in water



leads to

front float

back float


leads to

front glide

back glide


leads to

kicking front glide

kicking back glide

pulling w/ arms (front crawl)

pulling w/arms (fish fin arms) on back


At the same time:

safety rules



jumping in progression to deep water


retrieving objects from shoulder deep water



At the end/during the class, children také the Seepferdchen test and get their badge. Here are the requirements:


German Early Swimmer Exam "Seepferdchen" (Sea Horse)

Jump from pool edge and swim at least 25 m

Pick up an object from the bottom of the pool (with hands) at a water shoulder depth




Intermediate class (Seepferdchen to Bronze)



Laps in the big pool, using freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke


Kick with board and stay on surface


Breathing technique for front crawl


Jumping from the side of the pool, then dive of the block


Dive, do rolls underwater, handstand



At the end/during the class, children take the Bronze test and get their badge. Here are the requirements, translated from German:


Exam Bronze: Deutsches Jugendschwimmabzeichen - Bronze

Jump from pool edge and swim at least 200 m in less than 15 minutes

Dive from water surface and pick up and object from 2m depth

Jump from 1m diving board or starting block

Knowledge of swimming rules



Advanced class (Bronze to Silver/Gold)


                                                                                                                                        Progress Report

swim laps, to achieve 16 laps in 25 minutes


Three strokes: front crawl, breast, back


Racing dive


Dive for 10 meters


Flip turns



At the end/during the class, children také the Silver test and get their badge. Here are the requirements:


Exam Silver: Deutsches Jugendschwimmabzeichen - Silber

Start dive and swim at least 400 m in less than 25 min (300 m front stroke and 100 m on back)

dive twice from water surface and pick up object from 2m depth swim underwater for a length of 10m

jump from 3m

knowledge of swimming rules and self rescue techniques



Exam Gold: Deutsches Jugendschwimmabzeichen - Gold

must be at least 9 years old

swim 600 m in less than 24 minutes

swim 50 m breaststroke in less than 70 sec

swim 25 m crawl

swim 50 m backstroke with breaststroke kick without use of arms or 50 m normal backstroke

dive from water surface to pick up 3 rings from 2 m depth in 3 attempts within 3 min)

swim underwater for a length of 15 m

jump from 3 m 50 m transport swimming: pushing or towing another swimmer on his back

knowledge of swimming rules knowledge about helping in cases of swimming, boat and ice accidents (self rescue and simple rescue of another person)