Blanksby, B. A., Parker, H. E., Bradley, S., & Ong, S. (1995). Children's readiness for learning front crawl swimming. The Australian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 27(2), 34-37.

Very young children (M = 180; F = 146) who participated in learn-to-swim programs were evaluated for number of lessons, age of starting lessons, and time to learn to swim 10 m front crawl (Level 3). Children older than 5 yr. were not considered.

To achieve the crawl stroke standard, children who started as 5 year-olds experienced significantly fewer number of lessons and took shorter time than those who started at younger ages. No matter what age younger children commenced lessons they eventually achieved the Level 3 standard at the same age (5.5 yr.). There were no significant gender differences for the three variables.

Implication. The optimum age for learning to swim crawl stroke among very young children is between 5 and 6 years of age. However, since older children were not evaluated in this study it is not known whether this age is the absolute best age to commence formal swimming instruction.

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