Swimming Certification for Your Little Ones – Is It Necessary?

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We strongly believe that swimming is a basic life skill to master from young. In this Expert Series, we speak with SAFRA FINS Swim School to find out more about swimming certifications!

Learning to swim and attaining a swimming certification are not the same thing. So let's look at the types of swimming certifications available for your child and whether a swimming certification is really necessary for your little ones?

This article is prepared with support from SAFRA FINS Swim School.


SwimSafer Programme is the National Water Safety Program launched in 2010, and with a new syllabus (SwimSafer 2.0) introduced in 2018.

SwimSafer 2.0 progressively teaches kids about swimming and water safety, awarding them upon completion of each stage, thus motivating them to continue learning and improving their skills, from feeling comfortable in water to executing various strokes.  


At the end of each stage, each child is awarded a stage completion certification upon assessment conducted by Sport Singapore.

Skill Outcome for the Different Stages[i]

Stage Outcome

Stage 1 - Introduction to Water Skills

Develop confidence and independence in the water, learn general and deep-end water safety. Techniques taught include the forward and backward movement, safe entry and exit, and personal water safety.

Stage 2 - Fundamental Water Skills

General skill development including unassisted step entry into water, sculling, feet first surface dives, personal water safety skills as well as water safety in aquatic environments. One of the goals is to achieve 25 metres of continuous swimming.

Stage 3 - Personal and Stroke Developmental Skills

Entry skills such as the stride jump will be taught. Skills include sculling, underwater skills and putting on a personal floatation device whilst in water and swimming with it. One of the goals is to achieve 50 metres of continuous swimming.

Bronze - Personal Survival and Stroke Improvement Skills

Development of student's stroke techniques is a focus here, along with coordinated breathing in deep water. This stage sees the introduction of throw rescues and more personal survival skills. One of the goals is to achieve 100 metres of a variety of strokes.

Silver - Intermediate Personal Survival and Stroke Refinement Skills

Fundamentals of diving will be introduced. Development of personal survival knowledge will continue with a situational context of swimming quickly away from a sinking boat. Students will be required to demonstrate efficient stroke techniques by swimming a variety of strokes over 200 metres within a given time frame.

Gold - Advanced Personal Survival and Swimming Skills Proficiency

Students will be required to perform a variety of strokes with efficiency over 400 metres within a given time frame for each stroke. Personal survival skills like making use of clothing to make a personal floatation device and swimming with them, putting on a life jacket in water and demonstrating the Heat Escape Lessening Posture technique will be taught.

SwimSafer 2.0 Instructor’s Manual

Singapore Swimming Proficiency Awards (SSPA)

Launched by Singapore Swimming Association in 2013, the Singapore Swimming Proficiency Awards (SSPA) promotes swimming proficiency and provides progression for swimming after SwimSafer.

Strokes are taught in compliance with FINA rules, and the SSPA test allows swimmers to have a taste of an actual competition, spurring them on to reach for greater heights.


A total of 20 certifications and badges can be attained if a swimmer completes all levels of the SSPA through SSA certification conducted by SSA.

Requirements for Different Levels[i]

Expert Series: Swimming Certification for Your Little Ones – Is It Necessary?

[i] Singapore Swimming Association

Certification or Not?

There is little doubt on the benefit of being able to swim, but you may be wondering if it’s necessary for a certification.

There are benefits to pursue the certification – such as learning the proper form and techniques of swimming, being safety-conscious and following safety precautions, and being trained to compete competitively.

With the information above, we hope you will understand the purpose of certification (and the type of certification) and make an informed choice based on the outcome you are looking to achieve.

A Final Look

Expert Series: Swimming Certification for Your Little Ones – Is It Necessary?

*Information is accurate at time of publishing.

SAFRA FINS Swim School

SAFRA FINS Swim School was established in November 2012 with SAFRA Toa Payoh as the home of its first centre.

With a team of professional and competent coaches, children and adults of all ages can benefit from the coaches’ vast swimming experiences. SAFRA FINS Swim School’s coaches strive to bring out the best in students by providing a comprehensive, safe and well-structured curriculum with the objective of cultivating continued development in their journey as swimmers. This is to motivate them to excel mentally and physically as an individual and as a team player both in sports and in life. In addition, the programme is tailored to help students gear towards acquiring SwimSafer Gold and SSPA certifications.

Upon completion of FINS programme, students are able to swim the requirements set out in SwimSafer Gold. FINS certification of achievement will be awarded upon completion of programme.

Find out more about FINS Programmes here.




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This article is prepared by

Malini Pannirselvam
Dedicated writer by day, avid reader by night, language fanatic all the time, and aunt to nieces and nephews every day

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