National Assistant Swimming Teacher Award




To ensure people are qualified to assist qualified WSI Swimming Teachers.
To introduce candidates to the goals and aspirations of WSI.
To give candidates a basic technical knowledge of swimming.
To provide candidates with an understanding of health and safety issues in swimming pools. This to include the concept of risk assessment.
To provide a basic knowledge of the skills necessary to give a safe and productive swimming lesson.
To ensure candidates understand effective methods of communication within the swimming environment.
To ensure candidates know the benefits of swimming as an exercise and life skill.
To introduce aspects of motivation relevant to a long-term interest in swimming and life saving.
To ensure candidates have a basic understanding of the four principle swimming strokes and other aquatic and water safety skills.
To ensure candidates have a basic understanding of stroke analysis.
To ensure candidates are familiar with best practices when dealing with children.
To ensure candidates have a brief understanding of the principles of Long Term Athlete Development
To ensure candidates are familiar with the role of IWS within the IFSTA.





Swimming Teachers’ Life Saving Award or Safety 4 of WSI or equivalent.

Note: All candidates must have achieved the stated life saving criteria before the qualification can be used.

Minimum age of 16 years.
Have completed a course under recognised WSI Swimming tutors.
Candidates must have a satisfactory attendance.
Courses must consist of a minimum of 24 hours theory and 8 hours poolside practice. Candidate experience will influence the delivery time.
Pay the requisite fee.




An WSI Certificate to indicate that the holder is qualified to teach up to four pupils, under the supervision of a fully qualified Swimming Teacher.




To remain valid, holders must be able to provide proof of having attended a minimum of two IWS or swimming related seminars/courses within a five year period. To be relevant a seminar/ course must address topics outlined within the WSI syllabus.




1. Complete an official course application form, if required.


2. Submit the required course fee/deposit to the course organiser.




It is strongly recommended that all holders of the Assistant Swimming Teachers Award become members of WSI. To become a member, applicants must


Attend an WSI Code of Ethics seminar
Complete a membership application form
Forward the completed application form to WSI via your local Water Safety Ireland Area Committee contact.
Send completed Garda Vetting Application Form to 


Authorised Signatory (Garda Vetting), c/o Water Safety Ireland, The Long Walk, Galway.


Important Note: Holders of this award who are under 18 years of age must also submit a Garda Vetting Application Form, as above, accompanied by the appropriate parental consent form.





Assessments may only be carried out by WSI qualified examiners, who also hold a full swimming teachers’ qualification.


The assessment has four parts.


Practical: A full 20 minute lesson to a class of 3-4 pupils, which incorporates a main theme on one aspect of either Front Crawl, Back Crawl, Butterfly or Breast Stroke  AND a contrasting activity from either Sculling, Treading Water, Surface Diving or Water Safety Strokes.

      The content of the lesson must be adopted to reflect the ability of the class e.g. beginners.




A 20 minute lesson for a class of 3-4 timid pupils or non- swimmers.



The External examiner may decide the contents of the lesson plan.


He/She will assess the candidates’ practical application of safety principles, presentation, organisation, time management, demonstrations, communication and motivation. The final assessment sheet will be discussed with all candidates, who must countersign the sheet if satisfied.


Log Book: A completed WSI Assistant Swimming Teachers log book must be presented for assessment at the end of the course. This must meet the satisfaction of both the course tutor and the examiner.


The Log Book must contain a minimum of eight complete lesson plans, a complete personal details section, a signed Child Protection acknowledgement form and a summary sheet of tasks completed.


Continuous Assessment: This will be ongoing during the course, by the course tutor.
Attendance record.




The following list of items will act as guide for course tutors. The amount of time spent on each element shall be relevant to the candidate’s experience and qualifications. Course content is as follows:


WSI qualification procedure.
Insurance matters, including recommended class ratios.
General principles of learning and skill development.
Basic underlying scientific principles of swimming.
Types and uses of buoyancy and teaching aids.
Pool organisation for a lesson, including the management of time and space.
Teaching methods, including whole-part-whole, guided discovery, multi-stroke, single stroke, shallow water method, deep water method and the use of games.
A knowledge of necessary changes to planning, if teaching at outdoor venues i.e. outdoor pools, river, lake or beach.
Poolside communication i.e. verbal, visual, demonstrations, manual handling.
Equity in swimming.
Disability awareness
Health and Safety issues, including NOP and EAP.
Safe methods of swimming pool entry and exit.
Simple rescues and the use of rescue equipment.
Personal hygiene and personal presentation on the pool side.
Basic Lesson Planning, including practices and teaching points.
Child safety and protection policies.
A basic knowledge of the principles of Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) and their implications when teaching swimming and life saving.
Knowledge of and an ability to plan the teaching of aspects of the four principle swimming strokes i.e. Frontcrawl, Backcrawl, Breaststroke and Butterfly.
A knowledge of and an ability to plan the teaching of early stages diving, head first and feet first surface dives, treading water, sculling, side stroke and rescue backstroke.
A basic understanding of Swimming Stroke Analysis and its relevance in the learning environment.
Methods of motivation, including WSI awards, praise and feedback.
Record keeping – legal and progress reasons.
Benefits of aquatic activity, including social, psychological, general health, fitness, enjoyment, water safety, rehabilitation,  access to other water sports and careers.
Other aquatic based organisations, including the role of WSI within the IFSTA.
Continuing Professional development (CPD).







The course tutor and / or examiner will give verbal feedback, notify the candidates of their results and provide feedback.

A copy of the official examination sheet must be signed by both examiner and candidate.




Water Safety Ireland have a clearly defined appeals protocol. This process is outlined in the recommended course textbook and on Water Safety Ireland’s web site.



Recommended Reading:  The WSI publication, “Swimming Teachers’ Training Manual”.


Note: It is recommended that holders of the WSI Assistant Swimming Teachers Certificate register for the full WSI Swimming Teachers Course within two years


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