There was a lengthy debate at the National Aquatic Summit several years ago on the true definition of swimming.
Swimming is the ability to move through the water harmoniously on one’s own accord.
This can take place in stages, first moving through the water for short distances using kicking as a primary mode of propulsion. In the next stage, the child will eventually be able to jump in, turn around and swim back to the pool’s side.
So, when babies do the “crawl stroke,” they are not really “swimming” because they are not moving through the water on their own.
Babies who start swim lessons prior to their first birthday are often swimming comfortably holding their breath over 20 seconds covering long distances by the age of 25 months. Reaching this point for these babies took hundreds of hours of practice and very gradual lengthening of the swims. Babies should finish each swim happy – not panting or taking in any water.