Teaching the science of swimming since 2003!


Welcome to PhD Swim School Survival class information page, here you will find all the answers to your questions about our Survival swim classes.

Survival Class Program Information:

  • 1 student per class (Private/one-on-one)
  • Crawling infant through adult
  • This class is designed to teach independent swimming and survival skills to toddlers and young children and even adults. 
  • ​Pre-walking infants will learn to roll into a survival back float fully clothed.
  • Toddlers who can walk well unassisted will learn a "swim-float-swim" sequence.
  • Lessons are 15 minutes a day, one-on-one, three days per week.  To graduate from this program, children will complete a simulated drowning scenario fully clothed. 
  • After being gently introduced to the water and learning to hold their breath, children will learn to float on their backs to rest and breathe in the event of an aquatic accident. 
  • They will also learn to swim a short distance (depending on age) in between back floats to reach a safe destination
  • For adult survival classes please email phdswimschool@gmail.com

Survival Swim Program

Do they actually learn to swim?
Yes, and quickly!  Most Survival students will master these skills in two months or less.  We are the ONLY swim school in the Triangle that offers baby classes with these results.

What if my child can't put their face in the water?
Breath control is a skill; submerging the head is not.  From the first lesson, children are introduced to submersions and taught to hold their breath safely.  Practicing pouring water on your faces together in the bathtub before your lessons begin may help increase their comfort level with water on the face.  

Why shorter classes?

Young children learn better in shorter classes spread out over many days.  Most children take about 15-30 fifteen-minute lessons to master the skills.  

Will my child cry?

Probably at first.  It is normal for young children to cry when learning difficult new skills without their parents.  A positive attitude from caregivers is very helpful towards overcoming initial fears.  Once they are skilled, many students are so happy to swim all by themselves that they cry when it's time to get out of the pool!

What if my child doesn't like the lessons?  Should I stop?

Please do not begin our program unless you fully intend to finish.  We do everything we can to make learning to swim an enjoyable experience for your child.  Many children take a few weeks to work through their feelings about the water.  It is a new environment where they are being asked to work very hard without Mom or Dad.  Some amount of resistance is to be expected during the learning process.  Please remember that it is not learning how to swim that's fun, but knowing how to swim that's fun.  Just ask our grads; they LOVE to swim!

Can we do once per week? 
No, there is a minimum of 3x/per week due to young children's learning styles.  

Do you use floaties?  Can I use them?  What about goggles?
We do not use any flotation devices in our school and recommend that you do not use them at home.  Flotation devices give children a false sense of security and teach them to swim vertically in the water.  If your child has used one, your lessons may take longer because they must unlearn incorrect postures before we can teach them correct ones.  Goggles may be used in Stroke classes but are not allowed in Survival.  A child who falls in unexpectedly will probably not be wearing goggles and must be able to open their eyes and swim without them.

Does my child need additional lessons? 
We recommend bringing your child back every 6-12 months for refresher lessons if you do not intend to do maintenance classes.  In addition, you should practice your child's new skills with them at least once per week to maintain their confidence.  Skills are taught through muscle memory, so the child does not forget, but they will forget their confidence in the water if swimming is neglected.  They will also need to adjust their swim postures as they grow since children's centers of gravity shift rapidly in early development.  Typically this can be accomplished in 4-8 refresher lessons.  Children who do maintenance classes do not need refreshers.

What is Survival swim class?
This is a water survival program designed to teach independent swimming and
self-rescue skills to infants, toddlers and young children.  We begin by gently introducing your child to the water and then focus on teaching them to attain and maintain a back float from any fall-in situation.  Older children also learn to swim a short distance between back floats to reach a safe location.  At the end of the course, your child will practice their skills in clothing and shoes to simulate a real water accident.  You will also learn how to work with them yourself to maintain their skills and safely enjoy the water together.