The Duckling Awards are designed to help young children explore and enjoy the fun of learning to swim. With the help of an assistant, the Duckling Awards support the National Plan for Teaching Swimming and help to develop and boost the confidence of young children, both in and out of the water. Buoyancy aids (including armbands, floats or a SwimFin etc) can be used in the first four grades as the child learns how to float and gets used to being in the water. The fifth and final grade shows the confidence level of the young swimmers. They have to jump into the water, swim back to point of entry, submerge and blow bubbles, float and swim five metres all without aid.

Duckling 1
  • Make a supervised safe entry with adult support
  • Kick 2 metres on the back with adult support
  • Float on the back with adult support behind the head
  • Blow bubbles at the water surface
  • Wet the head without submersion
  • Travel without assistance 2 metres to a floating object (it is recommended that a baby seat of other buoyancy aid be used)
Duckling 2
  • Make a sitting entry with adult support
  • Blow an object for a distance of 2 metres
  • Using a baby seat or other buoyancy aid, rotate through 180° without assistance.
  • Move 5 metres along the rail or wall without assistance
  • Travel 3 metres using arms and/or legs without assistance
  • Submerge the face with confidence
Duckling 3
  • Jump to an adult
  • Kick 5 metres on the front holding a float
  • Blow bubbles with mouth underwater
  • Float on front OR back without support
  • Travel 5 metres on front to the side of the pool
  • Show a torpedo shape on front or back when pushed to a partner
Duckling 4
  • To jump unaided but supervised in the water
  • Submerge completely
  • Rotate through 360° either horizontally or vertically
  • Show a mushroom or a start float
  • Travel without assistance 10 metres on the front or back
  • Climb out of the water with assistance if required
Duckling 5
  • Show the sequence: jump in the water, turn around, swim back to the point of entry and hold the rail or side.
  • Submerge completely and blow bubbles under the water
  • Push and glide achieving a distance of 2 metres on the front or back
  • Float on the front or back and regain standing/vertical position
  • Swim 5 metres on the front or back using an over water arm recovery
  • Exit safely showing correct use of the ladder (or steps if no ladder available).