The Swim-ABC

Your son or daughter is taking swimming lessons at AZL. When can he or she obtain a diploma? Below we explain what the training for the A, B and C diploma looks like at AZL. On a separate page you can read how we test whether a student is ready for diploma swimming. We have also listed the requirements for the National Swimming Diplomas of the Swim-ABC for you.

At the Swim-ABC, the candidates swim with clothing. For more information on clothing requirements, please see our clothing requirements page.

About the Swim-ABC

The Swim-ABC (Zwem-ABC), issued by the Dutch National Water Safety Council (Nationale Raad Zwemveiligheid, NRZ), consists of three National Swimming Diplomas: A, B and C. Diplomas A and B are important intermediate steps, but the ultimate goal of the Swimming ABC is the C diploma. Only after obtaining the C diploma can a child safely participate in all possible activities on, in or near the water. Although children with only an A or B diploma master valuable swimming techniques, they are not yet able to manage themselves in all situations in the water. With the National Swimming Diploma C in the pocket, the child meets the National Standard for Water Safety.

National Standard for Water Safety

The National Standard for Water Safety (Nationale Norm Zwemveiligheid), in force since January 1, 2018, is based on a practical classification:

  • By obtaining the National Swimming Diploma A, the child shows that he/she has a basic condition and masters the basic skills for safe exercise and recreation in a swimming pool without attractions. The child can save itself if it unexpectedly falls into the water. Swimming Diploma A is the stepping stone to Swimming Diploma B and the complete Swim-ABC;
  • By obtaining the National Swimming Diploma B, the child shows that he/she is in good shape and has mastered the skills to move and recreate safely in a swimming pool with attractions, such as a (wild water) slide, a wave pool and rapids. The child can orient itself well above and under water. Swimming diploma B is the intermediate step to the complete Swim-ABC;
  • By obtaining the National Swimming Diploma C, the child shows that he/she is in very good shape and has mastered the skills to move and recreate safely in a swimming pool with attractions and in open water without currents or large waves, such as recreational lakes and wider ditches/waterways (except in the sea). With the Swimming Diploma C, the child has met the National Standard for Water Safety.

The Dutch National Water Safety Council urgently advises parents to at least allow their child to continue with swimming lessons until the C diploma has been obtained. Only from that moment on are children safe to swim in all types of swimming pools and in open water.


How long does it take to obtain the diplomas?

According to our statistics, obtaining the A diploma takes an average of about 85 lessons, while the B and C diploma require an average of about 20 lessons per diploma. The A diploma therefore takes more than twice as much time as B and C combined! If we take into account the school holidays, public holidays and other cancellations, we can assume 35 to 40 effective teaching weeks per school year. This means that a child who attends all lessons will in practice need 2 to 2½ years to obtain the A diploma. Of course, the time required depends on whether the child is absent during lessons, but also on the starting age: A child that starts swimming lessons on its fourth birthday usually takes longer to obtain the A diploma than a child who does so at the age of five. This has to do, among other things, with the movement development of the young child.

The training up to the C diploma at AZL

Learn to swim in six phases

At AZL, the training program up to the C diploma covers six phases, of which four phases up to the A diploma.

  • Phase 1

During phase 1, your child learns to move in the water in a playful and free way. The natural fear that some children have is turned into fun, through playful and imaginative working methods. At the end of this phase, students can float on their stomachs and backs and jump off the basin edge independently.

  • Phase 2

During phase 2, the four most important swimming strokes (breaststroke, single backstroke (no use of arms), crawl and backstroke) are taught step by step. In addition, coarse swimming movements are practiced to more and more refined ones. During phase 2, the group is still swimming in the shallow pool. Occasionally an excursion is made to the deep basin.

  • Phase 3

During phase 3, we focus on increasing self-reliance in deep water. Children swim the breaststroke and single backstroke as much as possible, with as little support from the instructor as possible. In addition to swimming on the stomachs and backs, treading water is taught and diving and underwater swimming are practiced.

  • Phase 4

Phase 4 is preparation for the A diploma. Students now swim their laps (almost) independently. A few weeks before the pre-test, the students also swim their laps with clothing.

→ After phase 4, the exam for the A diploma takes place.

  • Phase 5

After obtaining the A diploma, preparation for the B diploma follows. At AZL this is phase 5. The distances to be covered are increasing and the technique of the swimming strokes is being further improved. As with the A diploma, the children practice swimming with clothing prior to the diploma.

→ After phase 5, the exam for the B diploma takes place.

  • Phase 6

Phase 6 is the last phase of the Swim-ABC at AZL and prepares the children for the C diploma. Here too, the distances are increased once again and the swimming strokes are further perfected. The clothing package is even more extensive than with the B diploma and there are a few new exercises that contribute to the swimming safety of the children. For example, by means of a somersault from the basin edge, the children learn to orient themselves even better under water, in case they unexpectedly end up in the water with their clothes on. Only after obtaining the C diploma children in the water-rich Netherlands are sufficiently safe to swim!

→ After phase 6, the exam for the C diploma takes place.

After obtaining the C diploma, AZL offers much more, such as the swimming proficiency (zwemvaardigheid) diplomas!

Location and lesson times

Information about the times of the swimming lessons and the swimming pool where the swimming lessons are given can be found on the page Location and lesson times. Not a member yet? Register quickly!

  1. AZL has the National Swimming Diplomas License.
  2. Our rates are among the lowest in the region.
  3. We work with qualified and motivated instructors.
  4. Each group has several instructors.
  5. Your child is central: all our lessons are tailor-made.
  6. We work with a proven child-friendly teaching method (More than 15,000 diplomas are proof).
  7. We do not believe in Turbo swimming courses. Learning to swim is a skill and takes time.
  8. Every complaint will be answered within 3 days. You can expect a tailor-made approach from us.