Swimming Lessons

Everything you need to know about learning to swim with Mid Devon Leisure's 'Swim like a fish' swim school.

Please Note: Our swimming lessons run for 50 weeks of the year.

Swim like a fish

Our aim is to teach not only swimming but a variety of aquatic disciplines to anyone, regardless of ability or age in a fun, safe environment. All of our instructors are qualified to the Swimming Teachers Association (STA) or Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) standards and have an enhanced DBS check

We follow the STA International Learn to Swim Programme (ILSP) The ILSP recognises that pupils learn to swim at many different ages and progress at varying paces. The ILSP consists of five progressive schemes which are interlinked. There is a standalone scheme for people with disabilities, supporting awards for the more competent swimmer and diver, as well as an introduction to the First Aid award. The ILSP offers a fun, comprehensive and engaging learn to swim programme supported by vibrant eye catching certificates, with accompanying success tracker books for children and parents to track success and stay motivated throughout the programme. This helps children recognise that great sense of achievement.

Pre-school swimming lessons

Learning to swim in a fun filled environment with STA and ASA qualified swimming instructors, through song, rhyme and games. It’s a lot of fun. Max ten children to two instructors and lessons are 25 minutes duration, running 50 weeks of the year

Did you know?

  • Swimming improves eating and sleeping patterns
  • Swimming babies & toddlers are more alert
  • Swimming helps develop the brain structure
  • Early swimming develops healthy heart & lungs and other muscles
  • Swimming develops a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their lives

Babies who develop their swimming abilities are often more physiologically and psychologically advanced for their age.


Adult and toddler swimming sessions - this is a drop in session.

Please Note:

Entry is for 1 adult and up to 2 children under five.

Free: for parents who have a Lifestyle Plus membership with children under 3. Or child has a Junior Lifestyle or Junior Lifestyle Plus membership

Fun and learning in the teaching pool with a qualified swimming instructor. With toys and games this is a really great way to have fun with your little water babies and help them develop essential water skills.

For days and times please contact Exe Valley or Lords Meadow leisure centres

  • No need to book
  • Buggy park available
  • Changing facilities available
  • Swim nappies for sale

Aquababies and Aquatoddlers

6 months - 3 years at Crediton

4 months - 3 years at Tiverton

Learning to love the water in a fun filled environment for young swimmers, with STA Baby and pre-school or ASA Adult and child qualified swimming instructors.

Our lessons will help you to help your child learn water confidence and have fun in the water. We will teach you and your child about basic water safety, safety skills, safe entries, exits and submersions.

Your child will gain independence while moving around the pool. We will help you to understand how to develop and nurture your child’s skills on their journey to becoming a safe swimmer.

Aquababies and Aquatoddlers are structured lessons taken by a fully qualified instructor. Each lesson consists of about 20 minutes of progressive led activities with about 10 minutes of recreation. This allows for some individual time with the instructor. When you can ask any questions.

One competent adult over the age of 16 years needs to accompany each child in the water.


6 months - 18 months at Crediton

18 months - 3 years at Tiverton


18 months - 3 years

An image of the STA's Starfish 1 badge

Starfish Series

Introducing babies into the water in an adult and child setting. Adult and child develop water confidence, basic swimming and safetyskills together through fun, games and songs

Aqua 1 and Aqua 2

3+ years at Crediton and Tiverton

Aqua 1

working towards STAnley 1,2

  • To work independently from adults
  • Free movement around the pool
  • Aquatic breathing, blowing bubbles, and partial submersion
  • Standing from front and back
  • Safe entry and exit from the water
  • Introduction to front and back paddle
  • Poolside safety

Aqua 2

working towards STAnley 3,4

  • Further movement through the water
  • Swimming/body position front and back
  • Aquatic breathing (full face going in)
  • Full submersion practises
  • Further experimentation with rotation, horizontal and vertical
  • Jumping from poolside
  • Poolside safety


What if my child has S.E.N. or an impairment?

The courses are fully inclusive and suitable for all babies and children - please inform the instructor on your first visit.

What should my baby wear?

It is recommended that babies are double nappied with a swim nappy and a neoprene nappy over the top.

A swim nappy is a must and are available from reception.

Should I feed my baby before they swim?

Babies can be fed an hour before they swim.

If my baby has a cold can they swim?

No. If they are congested this could lead to permanent ear problems.

Is there anywhere to leave my pushchair?

Yes, they can be left in the pushchair area of reception at Lords Meadow but are not secure. Buggy park in reception is lockable at Exe Valley but please put all belongings in a locker.

Childrens Swimming Lessons

Aqua 1 - 10

An image of our swimming lesson progression chart
An image of the STA's Starfish 1 badge

STAnley Series

Learners develop basic swimming strokes and water safety skills with or without an adult in the water. Classes are fun, engaging and develop water confidence.

An image of the STA's Starfish 1 badge

Octopus Series

Essential movement and swimming skills are developed alongside water safety. Working towards the removal of aids and 5m distance award.

An image of the STA's Starfish 1 badge

Goldfish Series

All strokes are developed further including breathing techniques. Other aquatic skills are introduced. Working towards 10m and 15m with correct stroke distance awards

An image of the STA's Starfish 1 badge

Angelfish Series

Working towards 20m and 25m with correct stroke distance awards and refining stroke techniques. Skills such as sculling and entries into the water are performed.

An image of the STA's Starfish 1 badge

Shark Series

Developing finer stroke technique alongside personal survival and water safety skills. Working towards 50m and 100m with correct stroke distance awards. Introducing basic rescue skills to create a fully competent swimmer

An image of the STA's Starfish 1 badge

Dolphin Series

Comprises 2 awards covering personal survival skills. It is recommended that this series is only undertaken by learners who have completed the Shark Series Level 4.

An image of the STA's Starfish 1 badge

Kingfisher Series

3 awards developing diving skills. It can be used to complement a learner’s development whilst they are working towards Goldfish, Angelfish and Shark awards.

An image of the STA's Starfish 1 badge

Advanced Series

Comprising of three levels; bronze, silver and gold (optional). Working through this series learners further refine their stroke technique. Competitive elements as well as rescue skills will be introduced from synchronised swimming to water polo skills.

An image of the STA's Starfish 1 badge

Rockhopper and Emperor Series

Recognising the importance of swimming and water safety for people with disabilities, STA’s Rockhopper series and Emperor series are the most comprehensive and progressing programmes for people of all ages with disabilities.

For more information on the STA International Learn to Swim Programme please visit the link below:


Levels and Awards covered

Culm Valley Sports Centre - Opening Times
Swim Like a Fish Swim School STA - International Learn to Swim Programme Awards covered
Aqua TotsDrop in session
Aqua BabiesStarfish 1,2,3
Aqua ToddlersStarfish 4,5,6
Aqua 1STAnley 1,2
Aqua 2Octopus 1, STAnley 3
Aqua 3Octopus 2, STAnley 4, 5
Aqua 4Octopus 3, STAnley 6, 7
Aqua 5Goldfish 1,2
Aqua 6Goldfish 3, Kingfisher 1, Angelfish 1
Aqua 7Angelfish 2, Kingfisher 2, Angelfish 3
Aqua 8Shark 1, Kingfisher 3, Shark 2
Aqua 9Dolphin 1, Shark 3
Aqua 10Dolphin 2 Advance Swimmer Bronze, (Silver optional)
Junior Stamina (Exe Valley Only)Advance Swimmer Silver & Gold
Barracuda (Lords Meadow Only)Junior Lifeguard
Rookie (Exe Valley Only)Rookie, Bronze, Silver, Gold


What do the lessons cost?

Payments are made by monthly direct debit, with the child having a Junior Lifestyle or Junior Lifestyle Plus membership. Please see the leaflet all you need to know or ask at reception.

How long is a course of lessons?

Children are continually assessed which means they are moving up and down stages depending on ability. Due to this there is no "course" of lessons, it's just a case of paying for your child's membership for as long as they would like to continue.

Is there a waiting list?

Both Exe Valley (Tiverton) and Lords Meadow (Crediton) have waiting lists. If there is no availability at the time of booking, we can take your information and give you a call as soon as there is a space available.

One to One Swimming Lessons

One to one swimming lessons are available subject to the availability of swimming instructors time. They will arrange with you a mutually convenient time to have the lesson, during public swimming times.

One to one lessons are beneficial in many ways:

  • Arranged at a time to suit you
  • There is no commitment, have just one lesson, or many
  • The instructor can teach from either poolside or in the water depending on personal preference
  • Lesson content is geared specifically to the swimmer’s ability level
  • It is a very useful way to work on a particular aspect you need extra help with in order to progress
  • Lessons operate on a pay-as-you-go basis
  • You may request a particular instructor
  • Teaching styles are geared specifically to the swimmer’s learning needs
  • They are a great way to build confidence in the water, especially for adults