beginning swimming at De Anza College

Taking a lower level swim class is not a strict prerequisite for a higher level, (such as taking KNES 001A before you can take KNES 001B) you just need the skills of a better swimmer.

KNES 001B the beginning swimming class formerly known as PE 26B, at De Anza, requires some swimming skill. If you can’t tread water for a long time, be sure to notice where the beginning class is held.

EPOOL refers to the east end of the De Anza Olympic sized pool. This is the shallow end with water 4 to 5 feet deep. Novice swim classes, a few beginning swim classes and water exercise classes are held there. For my shallow water beginning classes, usually offered fall and winter quarters, you do not have to know how to tread water but should be able to swim some freestyle and backstroke.

MPOOL is the middle section and WPOOL is the west end of the pool. Both are in water that is at least 6 to 7 feet deep. If you can’t swim back and forth in a pool in deep water you should not enroll in a swim class held in M or W pool.

Most beginning swim classes at De Anza are held in deep water, with the exception of Saturday Fall and Winter quarter classes I teach that use both shallow and deep parts of the pool(s).

The Novice swimming class (KNES 001A) at De Anza is the class for adult non-swimmers, either those who are afraid to get in the pool, have never been in a pool, or are just not ready for beginning swimming. Has it been quite awhile since you last swam, or did you forget how to swim? Are you self-taught? Are you uncomfortable in deep water? Then KNES 001A could be the right class for you.

For info about the De Anza College novice swim class click on these links:

Novice swimming has the goals

Novice Swim FAQs has more details

Letters from novice students written for people who are afraid of the water, or just have never been in a swimming pool.

For answers to frequently asked questions about swim classes, click on this link: Swim classes FAQs

KNES 001C is the intermediate swimming class at De Anza. KNES 001D is the advanced swim class. KNES 002A is the aerobic swim class. They are regularly taught together.

Since you can’t repeat any De Anza class unless you got a D/F or W grade, many good swimmers start with beginning or intermediate instead of advanced so they will be able to get swimming instruction more quarters.

I expect that even in a C or D class, many of the students will not have been doing a lot of swimming recently and might be out of shape, so there is no 500 yard prerequisite swim test. I also don’t expect all the strokes from higher level swimmers, as it has been my experience that most C/D swimmers don’t have a butterfly, for example.

For some classes it lists a prerequisite, such as KNES001 A as a prerequisite for KNES001B , but it only really means that someone have the skills of a KNES001A graduate.

Most B, C and D classes have students with a wide variety of skills. Sometimes people take a different level of swim class just because it is held at the right time for their schedule. Sometimes really good swimmers take beginning because they are afraid that C or D might be too much work.

Many KNES001 B swimmers might only have a couple of strokes.

high elbow freestyle border:

Part of an email I got from a KNES001B beginning level swimmer:

“I wanted to thank you for an excellent Beginning swimming class. Prior to taking your class, I attended a swimming facility for over 9 months. The second day of your class was essentially equal to the 9 months spent at the other facility. Your style of teaching is unique. Not only are the students physically in the water practicing their form but also being challenged mentally with the readings, films/movies, and the assessment of the video of our swimming performance…. Your constant focus on safety is commendable and I like that.”


Practice on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) is optional, and not always a part of the last day of class:

woman in a lifejacket on a stand-up paddleboard at a swimming pool


All swim classes at De Anza share the same curriculum, (the course content, designed by De Anza College).

Every instructor must give a final and assign the same short essays and personal practice workout journal.

Each must teach the same set of skills and knowledge about swimming and water safety, but each instructor can go about reaching the goals listed below in different ways.

I videotape at least the freestyle of each of my swim students and we go over what we see looking for ways to improve (except if someone doesn’t want to be taped, but that is really rare).

De Anza requires that swim students are taught strokes, treading water and underwater swimming, (and in higher level classes, turns and diving), and the curriculum says that beginning swim students will:

Examine the global and historical development of swimming from survival to competition.

Experiment with the laws of physics as they apply to basic swimming skills.

Apply basic exercise physiology and nutrition to swimming.

Analyze causes of drowning and apply safe water practices.

Develop and practice stroke components.

Combine stroke components into whole swim strokes.

Demonstrate major swim strokes for a distance of at least 50 yards.

Demonstrate beginning skills for deep water and head first diving.

De Anza also specifies that there will be assignments, such as:


1. Assigned readings from the text book ‘Fit and Well” by Thomas Fahey et al.

2. Review instructor generated handouts on basic swimming skills and water safety. (For my classes the “handouts” are online and we will watch Red Cross/ USA Swimming how-to-swim videos.)

Writing –

1.Essay on one of the five components of fitness based on the textbook “Fit and Well” by Fahey et al. (You do not have to buy this book. We talk about options the first day of class.)

(The five components to choose from are: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition, each a chapter in the text.)

2. Establish a personal practice workout journal to compare pre- and post skill acquisition.

3. Graded comprehensive final exam based on textbook readings and handouts

These areas would require hours of lecture to cover them as required. In an effort to be able to spend more time in the water I have developed some short online reading assignments to cover most of them.

Relax, these are short assignments.