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The Duckling Awards

The Duckling Awards are designed to help children over the age of 18 months explore and enjoy the fun of learning to swim. They can help you shape your swimming lessons by giving set outcomes and provide a foundation level for the ASA Learn to Swim Framework.


Each grade of the Duckling Awards contains six components that must be passed before the Award is given but the outcomes may be accumulated over a number of sessions. These are:

Duckling Grade 1
1. Make a supervised safe entry with adult support
2. Kick 2 metres on the back with adult support
3. Float on the back with adult support behind the head
4. Blow bubbles at the water surface
5. Wet the head without submersion
6. Travel without assistance 2 metres to a floating object.
(It is recommended that appropriate buoyancy aid be used).

Duckling Grade 2
1. Make a sitting entry with adult support
2. Blow an object for a distance of 2 metres
3. Using a baby seat or other buoyancy aid, rotate through 180degrees without assistance
4. Move 5 metres along the rail or wall without assistance
5. Travel 3 metres using arms and/or legs without assistance
6. Submerge the face with confidence

Duckling Grade 3
1. Make a supervised jump to an adult with or without support
2. Kick 5 metres on the front holding a float (the adult may hold the other end of the float)
3. Blow bubbles with the mouth underwater
4. Float on front OR back without adult support
5. Travel 5 metres on the front to the side of the pool
6. Show a torpedo shape on front or back when pushed to a partner

Duckling Grade 4
1. Jump unaided, but supervised, into the water
2. Submerge completely
3. Rotate through 360° either horizontally or vertically
4. Show a mushroom OR a star float
5. Travel without assistance 10 metres on the front OR back
6. Climb out of the water with assistance if required

Duckling Grade 5 (without the use of buoyany aids or adult support)
1. Show the sequence - to jump in the water, turn around, swim back to the point of entry and hold the rail or side
2. Submerge completely and blow bubbles under the water
3. Push and glide achieving a distance of 2 metres on the front or back
4. Float on the front or back and regain standing/vertical position
5. Swim 5 metres on the front or back using an over water arm recovery
6. Exit safely showing correct use of the ladder (or steps if no ladder is available).

Don't forget a child who can complete all of these outcomes is eligible for the Kellogg's ASA Duckling Awards for the appropriate stages.
You might also like to consider using the Kellogg's ASA Rainbow Distance Award 5m to supplement achievement at Duckling Grade 5.


"Bath time" is a great game to use at this stage as it encourages your pupiils to get their face wet.

The teacher should lead by suggesting actions that might happen at bath time. For example,

  • Wash off the soap: splash water over the face
  • Wet your hair: sprinkle water using hands to rub in the shampoo
  • Rinse the shampoo off: head in the water and shake it from side to side

Tips for Duckling Awards 

If children in your lessons are proving shy/timid or they have a disability consider providing smaller stepping stones for developing confidence. The Kellogg's ASA Alpha Step Awards reward the development of the early stages of buoyancy, coordination, spatial awareness, breathing, and entering and leaving the pool.

>>Go to Stage 1 of the ASA Learn to Swim Framework

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