KNES 1A course syllabus

KNES 001A is the class webpage with the links to homework assignments, how to get a locker and more.

If you are not sure whether this is the right class for you, read a description of typical students and goals of the class at: Novice swimming

Novice Swim FAQ has the cost, etc.

If you think you can’t learn to swim, read Letters from novice students.


This page will be updated closer to the next time I teach the class.



Fall 2019

Novice Swimming

(23543) KNES 1A 01L meets Saturdays 10 a.m. to 11:50. Sept. 28 – Dec. 7, 2019

Some days we will meet in a classroom first before going to the pool. This may be announced in advance during the previous class, announced at the class webpage or there will be a sign at the pool, or if you do not see us at the shallow end of the pool, please go to PE12U.

Holiday Nov 28-Dec 1, Thanksgiving holiday: Campus closed

Office Hours, some of which are fifteen minutes or a half hour at a time, some one full hour, are most Saturdays 1:50 at the pool deck (or more likely in the pool) and by arrangement, sometimes right after the Friday HLTH 57A class at 4:20 p.m. in S56.

Final: written final to be announced at the class webpage.

____________________ _________________________________________________

KNES 1A Prerequisite: None, except to be tall enough to work in water 4 to 5 feet deep.

Novice swimming has many different kinds of swim students.

Some are new to swimming, including some who have never been in a pool.

(Most colleges do not offer a true entry level swimming class; you are expected to already have some swimming skill. If you are afraid of the water, this is the right class.)

Some students in this class will be over their fear and able to swim some, but not quite ready for a beginning swim class in water deeper than they are tall.

Others are self taught, or have not swum for quite awhile and want to relearn from scratch.

Others know breaststroke, but not freestyle and/or treading water.

When I do surveys of students I find many who had some kind of swim class previously, but who just didn’t learn to swim. Others are in a pool or swim class for the first time. I teach from the very beginning. I don’t assume anyone knows how to float, or even how to get into a pool. I do assume many students will be uncomfortable at first.

The teaching assistants and I teach from in the pool, not up on the deck.

____________________ _________________________________________________


1) Enter deep water without fear, swim 25 yards, effectively change direction while swimming

2) Know basic water safety

3) Some ability at treading water

The Student Learning Outcomes for KNES 1A are:

“Student Learning Outcome Statements (SLO)

• Student Learning Outcome: Perform with increasing proficiency forward propulsive movements in prone and supine positions.

• Student Learning Outcome: Apply knowledge of basic fitness concepts to health and fitness.”

In all De Anza swim classes, personal safety, elementary rescues and survival skills are stressed.

____________________ _________________________________________________


Swim cap highly recommended for women and men. A cap makes it easier to learn to swim since it keeps your hair out of your face/mouth, makes you faster and it keeps you warmer. Triathlons and open water swims require swim caps, and some triathletes use two caps for warmth in cold water. Cloth/Lycra types will keep your hair in place more comfortably than latex/silicone, but cloth caps don’t stay on as well as latex. Plus, you swim faster with a tight-fitting latex or silicone cap. Don’t try to fit all of your long hair into a cap, just tie it back or braid it and use the cap over the hair on your head. You can find both styles at most sporting goods stores.

Sometimes I have spare swim caps for people who are cold. If you take one from me, do not return it, it now belongs to you. If you want to buy a replacement it is appreciated.

The cleanliness of our pools is managed by Certified Pool Operators (not just janitors), and you will be spoiled by how nice the water is compared to other places you will eventually swim.

Goggles will not be used until mid-way through the novice class when people are used to water in their eyes. Becoming dependent on goggles sets you up for problems if they leak or slip off, and it is dangerous to wear them in deep water or when diving or jumping into a pool. If I allowed goggles through the whole class, people who became dependent on them and did not get used to water in their eyes would miss out on skills work later in the quarter when we go to deeper water.

Your eyes will not be completely protected from the water by wearing goggles, since all brands can leak. If you think you must wear goggles because you have allergy issues please consult a doctor immediately for some kind of prescription eye drops, since even the best brands of goggles do not completely keep water out of your eyes.

When people are not wearing goggles they do not have good vision underwater, including people with normally perfect vision. You may want to eventually get prescription goggles, but you still will not be allowed to use them until midway through the quarter when students are used to water in their eyes.

Once goggles are allowed, or away from class, you should not wear goggles for diving/jumping into the pool or trying to swim to the bottom of the deeper parts of a pool. The Red Cross warns: Goggles “are not made for underwater swimming. There is no way to equalize the pressure inside the goggles with the increasing pressure outside the body. The air volume inside the goggles tends to compress. This compression tends to “pull” the eyeball out of the socket to effectively reduce the trapped air volume. If swimmers spend time below the surface of the water wearing goggles they may pop blood vessels in their eyes. Goggles should not be worn for underwater swimming … Submerging to a depth of 5 feet or greater has the potential to cause barotraumas to the eye of an individual wearing swim goggles that cannot be pressure equalized.” The Red Cross also warns, in a swim instructor manual safety note “Do not allow participants to wear goggles while practicing any of the diving skills.”

Wearing your contact lenses to swim is dangerous. The Red Cross warns: “Swimmers with contact lenses should remove them before opening eyes underwater.” Pool chemicals can damage some kinds and others will absorb bacteria, leading to infection. All brands of goggles can leak or slip off and do not fully protect contact lenses.

If you decide to wear your prescription eyeglasses some of the time, it could be a good idea to find an older pair, as the pool chemicals can eventually corrode some frames.

You should remove all piercings that protrude from your body (example: you might be safe with a flat ear stud, but not with loop earrings)… optional reading: body piercings and lifeguards:

Dress for success with a swimsuit you can move in. Women: one piece, or two if you can move in it, preferred not strapless. Men: real swim trunks recommended, not extreme bikini style or cutoffs, since cutoff jeans and baggy shorts slow you down. (Warning: white material in racing suits (Speedo, Arena, TYR, etc.) is see through when wet.)

Highly recommended: extra towels and sweatsuit or other coverup for ins and outs of the water and trips to the classroom to watch videos; no-slip flip flops or sandals (the pool deck can get hot).

I have some towels and swimsuits to loan to students who forget theirs. If you borrow one, do not wash it yourself, return it to me so I can wash it in hypo-allergic soap. Despite my best efforts I might not clean them perfectly so you have potential risk if you borrow something from me.

Do not use noseplugs or earplugs. In deep water earplugs can be forced by water pressure into your ear. The Red Cross warns: “Do not wear earplugs; pressure changes make them dangerous.”

No bouyancy devices are allowed.

Waterproof sunscreen, applied one half hour before swimming (most kinds will wash right off and just make an oil slick in the pool if you apply them right before getting in). A sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 means you can supposedly stay in the sun 15 times as long as without using it, but it rarely works that well. If you are worried about getting too much sun you should be using suncreen of 30 or even 60 regularly, not just at the pool.

Read the instructions: do they say you have to wait 30 minutes after applying the sunscreen before you can get in the pool? (Most kinds will wash right off and just make an oil slick in the pool if you apply them right before getting in). I use a brand that allows me to get in the pool right away.

Test a little before you use any extensively; some people are allergic to some kinds.

If you use sunscreen, any other toiletry or over-the-counter medications or eat/drink anything given to you by anyone in the class, or borrow a towel or swimsuit you take full responsibility and hold harmless the person(s) who gave them to you, if the sunscreen/medications are not effective or you develop an allergic reaction, or any other malady.

You can get a swim shirt from a company that makes sun-protective clothing, FDA approved as a medical device with a SPF of 30. (A dry cotton t-shirt is about SPF 7, wet is less.) The phone number to get a catalog is 1 (800) 882 7860. Various other stores also sell sun-resistant swim clothes.

— You may want to bring snacks (just be sure they’re not in glass containers; if one of them breaks we will never find all the little bits of glass and people have bare feet on the pool deck!). Most people don’t get stomach cramps from having a light meal before they swim. A plastic water bottle at the pool is okay.

Remove jewelry

Chlorine in the water can damage your gold jewelry, and if you chip a stone off a ring in the pool, we will never find it.

A necklace could get wrapped around the hand/arm of a lifeguard or teaching assistant trying to help you. If you must wear a necklace, you must cover it with a tight enough fitting rash guard that this can’t happen.

Rings and bracelets with stones could scrape another person in the class, either a partner you are working with or a teaching assistant, so you must remove them.

Lockers in the locker room are first come, first served, so get one on the first day of class. Email the people mentioned at How to get a P.E. locker at De Anza College. Be sure you let them know how many P.E. classes you have, and when they are. You provide your own lock.

Normal anti-theft precautions apply in the locker room or on deck. Take off expensive watches and jewelry in your car instead of in the locker room. Don’t let people watch over your shoulder as you dial in your lock combination. Don’t leave things out on a bench in the locker room while you shower. A thief will assume your bag that only has towels in it has your wallet, and you’ll have to buy a new bag and towels. People have been known to steal curling irons, etc.

There are stairs directly from the locker rooms to the pool deck through the pool deck tunnel. From the pool deck men go up on the left, women on the right. Pool deck level restrooms are just off the tunnels. Use the locker room to change clothes, not the restrooms, the tunnel, or the pool deck.

But…the locker rooms are not open much on weekends, so if you store your swimsuit in your locker you will not be able to get it, so weekend students usually bring their gear with them each day. Some quarters we have home Football, etc. games that take over the locker rooms and you will find them closed.

Warning: we have had problems with slipping in the locker room/restrooms. Please towel dry completely after swimming before you go to the locker room or restroom and after taking a shower (while standing on the rubber mats at the shower entrance).

A Dean asked faculty to encourage “students to minimize their showers to 3-4 minutes or even rinse, turn off the water, soap up, and then rinse,” to save on water consumption.

Instructor: Mary Donahue

E-mail I don’t always have the time return e-mails that can be answered in class, but you can give me notice that you need an answer by e-mailing before you ask in class.

I’m a Red Cross certified lifeguard, swim teacher, lifeguard instructor, CPR, First Aid and Automated External Defibrillation instructor (and other Red Cross instructor certifications). I was on swim team in high school, and as a student at De Anza was sports editor of the newspaper. I have taught at De Anza, first in Physical Education and then in Biological and Health Sciences as well, since April, 1988.

I first became a volunteer in Yosemite National Park in 2006 and have been a volunteer on and off for 10+ years, including five years with Preventative Search and Rescue when it was was funded in the park.

I have been a lifeguard, lifeguard captain, or in charge of the swim at 53 triathlons or open water swims.

I’m also senior faculty advisor to the De Anza Outdoor Club; there is info on my website at Outdoor Club Coming Attractions.

Attendance policy

Students are expected to attend all class meetings and fully participate each time.

When a class will be in a classroom, the class webpage tells which classroom and often has a map. If there is no such announcement, we are in the pool, or there will be a sign telling people where to go.

As it says at the De Anza webpages “Attendance at the first class meeting is required. If you do not attend, the instructor has the option of dropping you from the class to accommodate students on a waitlist.”

Roll will often be taken by the instructor or an assistant as you turn in homework. If you do not turn in an assignment there will be a clipboard for you to sign saying which assignment(s) you did not complete that day.

If you want to turn in homework and then leave class without participating you must make that clear when you do so. If you leave early you must check out and be sure the time you leave is noted. Checking in and then leaving without telling us is dishonest, and will be reported to a college administrator.

If you have the flu or are so sick you can’t swim, you should stay home, rest and get better faster (and not spread germs).

On the first occasion that you can’t participate in the water due to injury or poison oak rash/etc. or other minor condition, (maximum two ‘hours’/ two fifty minute sessions / 100 minutes) you can observe the class and your attendance in class will count. When you check in, tell us that you are not participating and have us make a note of the credit for the first two hours of non-participation. If you decide to leave you must check out.

When we go to deep water, students without sufficient swimming skills to safely participate can observe the work instead of participating and get full credit for the hours/partial hours.

If you come to class with a problem that you think is serious enough to keep you out of the water or keep you from fully participating in class (examples, but not limited to: pulled or sore muscle/joint, eye or ear infection) I will need a note from your doctor, on their official stationery, at the next class session in which you want to start participating again. It should tell me that you are either fully okay to be in the class, or describe what restrictions you have been told to follow.

You are responsible for following any orders from your doctor. Your instructor and the teaching assistants/lifeguards will not be held responsible for making sure you don’t re-injure yourself. Likewise, you might tell one of the instructors or teaching assistants about a medical condition or disability that will prevent you from taking part in some of the skill practice sessions, but we are not responsible for making sure you do not injure yourself, you are responsible.

If you have a disability (for example knee/hip replacement that does not allow you to move fully), and can not use the ladder to get in the pool, you will not be able to fully participate in all class activities. A De Anza disabilities counselor told me to recommend that you talk to a De Anza disabilities counselor about enrolling in Adaptive Physical Education aquatics classes.

Sometimes the class gets to the official end and I do not notice. If you need to leave right at the end of class please watch the time, and if possible, give me a ten minute warning that class is finishing, or at least let me know when class has finished. (Many students stay after class for the “office hour” that I often have after class; some days no one chooses to leave class right away.)

Drops: There is a deadline for drops. After the deadline neither you nor your instructor can drop you.

You are responsible for dropping classes you do not want to take.


In the case of long-term illness, injury, or other multiple excusable absences, arrangements can be taken to receive an ‘incomplete’ in the class rather than a low grade. The instructor and student must make arrangements and sign a contract to do this. An ‘incomplete’ grade is only appropriate for verifiable unforeseen illness/injury or other unforeseen emergency situations, not doctor’s appointments you forgot you had and did not reschedule, jury duty you could have requested to do after the quarter is over, or because you forgot to drop in time.

Makeups can be done in any other class I teach that you have sufficient swimming skills to attend, or during “office hours” in the pool. During quarters when I am teaching more than one swim class, I will not know in advance of any given class if there will be room in the pool for extra people, so if you email me to ask if you can come to both classes I will not be able to tell you.

Makeups can be done in advance, even if you do not yet know you will need them. Wise students do a few hours of makeup just in case, especially if they miss a full class, so that they won’t be in trouble at the end of the quarter if they have to miss a second class.

If you stay after class be sure to get the number of extra minutes you stayed after recorded so we have a record of your ‘makeup.’ There will be a clipboard for people to write on if you stayed after for more than ten minutes. If you attend an earlier or later class of mine, you also need to get the times you attended recorded. Please have a teaching assistant get the clipboard and record the number of extra minutes.

Observing a class does not count as makeup hours.

If you do a makeup with a different instructor you will not be taught the same material, and as of fall quarter 2019, there are no other swim classes with shallow water appropriate for KNES1A swimmers.

(When there are swim classes available for makeups, makeups in a swim class with a different instructor are limited to two 50 minute session classes. Details about how to do makeups with other instructors are at: make-ups.)


De Anza requires that swim students are taught strokes, treading water and underwater swimming, (and in higher level classes, turns and diving), and because De Anza swim classes are part of the general education requirements they require some reading, writing and critical thinking.

The curriculum says that novice 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.

Examine body position as it relates to individual stroke components.

Combine stroke components into whole swim strokes.

Demonstrate the ability to perform one major swim stroke for a distance of 25 yards.

De Anza also specifies that there will be assignments in every swim class, 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 this class 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.

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

2.One short essay on the history of swimming or swimming in the student’s home country

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 them. Only some are required for a passing grade; do more and you can earn a higher grade. (Sorry, you can’t just swim and not do homework or vice versa.) Homework is to be completed by each individual, not as a group project.

Sometimes the servers for websites do not function properly, so don’t put online homework off until the last minute. If you do not have a computer with online access there are many in the basement of the De Anza Learning Center, and most public libraries have a few. You can usually get a public library card quickly, often the same day you come into the library.

I accept some assignments late, but if you wait to do the homework until late in the quarter the burden may seem to be too much. Most students complete the homework on time.

Please note: you are responsible for keeping a copy of each assignment in case the one you turn in is lost.

If you forget to get your homework printed, I will not accept just looking at it on your laptop or other electronic device. The reason for this is that if, for example near the end of the quarter, ten students had not printed their essay, and wanted to show it to me, taking time during class for me to look at cell phones and read all of them could leave us with little time for swim work. What seems like a simple courtesy could waste a lot of class time.

I do not accept early or emailed assignments. I used to accept emailed homework, but at the end of one quarter a student insisted that he had emailed in all the homework. He had not and it was time consuming for many people to determine this. I decided it would be easier to take in only hardcopies of homework, log them in as they are handed in, and occasionally go over each student’s record of homework as they turn in their work to be sure they know what they are missing. Previously a student emailed homework after the class was over, that is, after the final deadline of homework being in my hands, (not emailed and not in a mailbox), by the last of the last class. He then tried to claim that “proved” he had done it all. Since I do not accept emailed homework, I will not read it and you will not get credit towards your grade.

No homework assignments, including the final, will be turned in online or completed online.

All homework must be in my possession (not in a mailbox, etc.) by 1:50 p.m. Dec. 7, 2019, and I do not accept emailed homework.

A previous student was caught with the roll sheet clipboard, trying to write in his completion of homework assignments he had not done. Now the table / poolside bench where the instructor’s paperwork, clipboards and gear is located is off-limits to everyone except teaching assistants.



If you choose to ask for a pass/no pass instead of a letter grade, please note: No more than 30 units of credit with a “P” grade can be applied toward an Associate of Arts degree. And ordinarily, no “P” grade may be applied toward a student’s major requirements unless the major lists a pass/no pass. You will need to apply for a pass/no pass at the Portal early in the quarter. Do not give the P/NP paperwork to your instructor, do it at the Portal. To earn a ‘pass’ you must do at least the work required for a ‘C.’

The class has a total of 100 points. A+ = 97 points, A = 90, A- = 87 B+ = 84, B= 80, B- = 77, C+ = 74, C= 70, (no C- grades are given at De Anza), D+ = 64, D = 60, D- = 57, (no F+ grades are given at De Anza), F = less than 57 points.

60 points of class grading is skills :

(60 points) active participation and steady improvement in water awareness and swimming skills, efficiency and speed improvement.

including 2 points:

Demonstrate the ability to perform one major swim stroke (usually freestyle) for a distance of 25 yards.

Since ‘attendance’ (just being in class and not doing anything) is not a standard for grading college classes, we need to measure your active participation and steady improvement. At the end of each class we might have a mini-test of a skill/your swimming speed or we will note what progress the class as a whole made and you will be writing the personal practice journal in which you can include briefly writing out what improvement(s) you made.

De Anza swim classes during fall, winter and spring quarters have twelve (considered two-hour) weekend class sessions or twice that many weekday 50 minute (considered an hour) class sessions (not counting holidays). Summer quarter has fewer, longer sessions. Your first two ‘hour’ (that is two 50 minute sessions, 100 minutes) absence/lack of participation and improvement in class will not affect your grade, no matter the reason for it. Each 50 minutes after that will lower your grade 10 points, unless it is made up. After the first week if you are more than ten minutes late, the time not participating/improving will count towards lowering your grade.

Summer Quarter: If you are truly an adult non-swimmer you must fully participate in the first session of summer quarter. Since we only meet five sessions, missing the first four hours of class will leave you unable to catch up.

40 points is written: online homework assignments, open book final exam, personal practice journal.

More about the written assignments (links to each are at the class webpage.

3 points each: online reading assignments, read about various subjects and write up a little about what you learned or in some cases, take an open book quiz. Relax, none of the writing in this section requires paragraphs and paragraphs of verbose prose. The first reading assignment of the class safety rules is required for all students. The seven other reading assignments with short write-ups are: swimming vocabulary (for lower level classes, or swimming workout vocabulary for upper level classes), nutrition, history of swimming, skin cancer, How to rescue a drowning victim using a reaching assist or shepherd’s crook, and water safety.

2 points: open book do-it-at-home final exam. (The answers to one question on the final exam can be found at my website in the section Sneaking exercise. The rest of the material will be from the required online reading, brief lectures in class and from reading the textbook.)

4 points: (250 word minimum) writing assignment. Essay on one of the five components of fitness based on the textbook “Fit and Well” by Fahey et al.

4 points: a short essay (250 words) on the history of swimming or swimming in the student’s home country. (Previous students decided the 250 word length.)

6 to 8 points: personal practice journal (1,000 word minimum, total 1,000 words, not 1,000 words per day) writing assignment. (Previous students decided the 1,000 word length.)

Keep a written record of your experiences and progress in the class. Start with an assessment of your skills before class started. Then add: What did you accomplish each day? What was hard, what was easy, what was new, which techniques and drills were best for you? If you made any sudden improvements, why do you thing you did? You can also include your times / distances of timed swims. You will learn a lot from it (and your instructor will learn as well). It should have a few paragraphs for each session of class, written as the class goes along. (A few pages of notes put together quickly at the last minute or a calendar of events with no discussion of your skills and improvements will not earn credit.)

There is potential extra credit (2 points) for a truly complete (in the opinion of your instructor) journal.

If you opt at the Portal for a pass/no pass grade, please note that to earn a pass you must do the work of a C grade; below that number of points you receive a no pass (fail).


Because the swim class structure does not allow for adequate lecture time to cover all the information in the text, many instructors make the students responsible for reading the text and put appropriate questions in the written final.

A previous P.E. Division dean picked out a textbook. The official textbook for De Anza College swimming classes (and most other general education Kinesiology classes) is Fit & Well, Core Concepts and Labs in Physical Fitness and Wellness – brief edition- (12th edition)- Fahey, Insel and Roth, Mayfield publishing company). This edition has chapters 1 through 8 of the 15 chapters offered in the full text Fit & Well. It is therefore much lower priced than the full version.

You do not need to buy a textbook for any class I teach. (The text costs $128.60 at the bookstore as of winter 2017.) There are some copies of the text for this class on reserve in the Learning Center. Students can share a book. If you have already purchased any version of the series, or choose to buy an older version, any version will work for this class. We will talk about this in detail the first day of class, so please put off buying the text until after the first class session.

You can also rent this and many other De Anza textbooks. See more info at: and click on textbook rental info.

To check out copies of the text at the Learning Center you need to get a De Anza library card, which is also the photo student ID card or DASB card. The cards are usually processed in the lower level of the Campus Center, see map.

You need to bring a photo ID (driver’s license or passport), and proof of registration and fee payment. If you don’t have a driver’s license or passport, you can get a photo ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles by bringing in a birth certificate, Social Security card and a small payment. Hours to get a DASB card are listed in the schedule of classes. Once you have the student ID, you can use your student ID as a library card, or to get online at the Internet lab. Various local businesses also give discounts to card holders.

If you would like to do some reading about swimming strokes, or swimming in general, try American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety. Its public libraries number is 797. This is the text for the Red Cross swimming teacher certification Water Safety Instructor.

The American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety Manual

might still be downloadable for free at:

(This had no index, so I wrote one: Swimming and Water Safety 2009 index).


After some of our class sessions I will be responsible for locking up the pool complex entrance gates. If you are in a restroom or the locker room when I lock up you need to know which exit (door/gate) you can use to get out of the complex. The doors/gates between PE buildings PE1 and PE2 are locked from the outside but have bars you can push on from the inside to get out. See buildings PE1 and PE2 at this map:

Your friends or relatives who want to watch the class can do so from the bleachers. Visitors are not allowed in the pool, but, for example, if you are having babysitting problems, quiet, well-behaved kids can occasionally come with you, but can NOT get in the pool or be on the pool deck.

The teaching assistants are here to help tutor you, not to do chores, so your participation is expected. Your assistance in removing lane lines as needed will help get the class going faster.

Photographing, video or audio taping of this class is not allowed, (with the exception of someone taping you (and no one else) near the end of the class – jumping into the deep pool, for example). Besides that this is a class rule, California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including conversations in a classroom without the consent of all parties to the conversation. Our “classroom” is not just a room we might be in, but is also the entire pool area where we might be in the water or on deck.

If you want to have someone photograph you in the pool, they can come down to the pool deck and ask the instructor when it would be okay, but they should not just photograph from the balcony above the pool deck, as many people in the class do not want their photograph taken.

Please turn off ringers on cell phones or pagers during class, unless you are having an emergency at home, in which case let me know at the start of class that your phone might ring. No, I do not subtract points from your grade if your phone rings during class, but some instructors do. See: syllabus examples

De Anza has large classes. Some people feel they do not get enough individual attention in such a big class, even though we often have extra teaching assistants or instructors to give extra attention. Some really ought to find private lessons. Some students make the mistake of not having regular attendance. We go through a lot of material each day and the teaching assistants and instructor usually do not have the time to ‘catch-up’ people who miss class.

Please note these policies:

“It is recommended that all students consult with a physician regarding their participation in this physical education class.”

Students should not enter the pool until their instructor or the lap-swim lifeguard is supervising them on deck, or until they have permission of an instructor whose class they wish to join for makeups. For your personal health and safety we require there be no smoking, gum chewing or spitting on the deck or in the pool. No diving is allowed into the E, M or W pool areas (the big racing pool) because the water is too shallow. The 3 meter diving boards and starting blocks in the racing pool are off limits; the one meter diving boards and starting blocks in the diving well are to be used with permission only.

You will be required to comply with all rules and regulations as outlined in the De Anza College Student Handbook (I have not yet found a link to the Student Handbook on the new system), (especially the section on academic integrity as well as any in the De Anza College Catalog

All information in the student handbook(s) applies in this course and students will be held accountable for this information.

In the handbook you will find descriptions of cheating and plagiarism: “Cheating is the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for academic work through the use of dishonest, deceptive or fraudulent means… Plagiarism is representing the work of someone else as your own” (and the Student Handbook gives many detailed examples),

and these statements: “It is the students’ responsibility to know what constitutes academic dishonesty…When students are caught cheating or plagiarizing, a process is begun which may result in severe consequences.” The consequences can include “receiving a failing grade on the test, paper or exam…receiving a grade of F in the course…being placed on disciplinary probation…suspension.”

If disruptive behavior occurs in a class, “the instructor may remove the student from his or her class for that day and the next class meeting if the student interfered with the instructional process,” and the behavior will be reported to the Office of Student Development for possible disciplinary action/reprimand/suspension.

You can be subject to being dropped on the first instance of any such behavior. Some of the more dangerous behaviors, including not following class safety rules in this syllabus or at swim class safety rules, faking drowning and/or injury, could get a student removed from class and reported to the college and campus police.

(A previous class put together this world’s-longest-list of disruptive behaviors. All of the disruptive behaviors listed below had been experienced by at least one student, if not multiple students, in another De Anza class.)

It would be impossible to list all the ways a student could be disruptive, but the basic definition is: a disruptive person is one, who through his/her behavior, speech or actions, interferes with academic activity. This can be as obvious as physical or verbal abuse; willful damage to person or college property; disorderly conduct; lewd, indecent or obscene behavior or use of illicit drugs or misuse of prescription drugs & alcohol.

Disruptive behavior also includes anything that distracts or intimidates students or disrupts teaching, including disruptive noise making, inappropriate body language, engaging in private conversations; inappropriate language (profanity or vulgarity) or gestures; requesting excessive (in the opinion of the instructor) breaks; taking breaks of your own choosing; overt inattentiveness, inappropriate physical contact; refusal to comply with instructor’s directions; open and persistent defiance of the authority of the instructor or a lifeguard.

Disruptive behavior also includes inordinate demands for time and attention, including, but not limited to, monopolizing discussions; persistent questioning; wasting class time by repeatedly asking unnecessary questions, such as those that have been answered in class or class materials; giving excuses for not doing homework; attempting to debate with the instructor over teaching style, what you think should or should not be taught, the need for required homework, attendance, attention, rules in the syllabus; interrupting the flow of class with interjections or questions; incoherent comments and off-topic discussions; interrupting the flow of class by not staying organized during drills, especially not following along with simultaneous practices, or failing to follow instructions during drills.

Each student can decide what level of proficiency they are satisfied with in their swimming strokes. Getting a freestyle that you can be competitive with can take years, and many students decide they are happy to just be able to make forward momentum without speed. Some concentrate on developing more endurance, not a mechanically perfect stroke.

For example, it can take many months for people first learning to swim (or re-learning to swim if they did not have good instruction) to get a proper entry of their hands/arms into the water on their freestyle stroke. The best entry is one which your arms are straight from your fingertips to your elbow, and your elbow is high when your hand enters the water. (See photos on pages 95, 96 and 97 of The American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety Manual
(which might still be downloadable for free at:

Many, if not most people starting to learn to swim, end up dropping their elbow and their entire forearm hits the water at once, instead of keeping their elbows high. Some bend their hand at the wrist to even a 90-degree angle and do succeed at getting their fingertips in the water before the rest of their arm, but their elbows still drop. This is quite common and normal, and some people decide they are happy with that form, since they are swimming, sometimes with good speed and can develop endurance.

One previous student decided that even though the Red Cross / USA Swimming videos /textbooks show high elbows, it would help him “catch the water” better if he continued to bend his hand at the wrist at a 90 degree angle, and continually argued with the instructor and teaching assistants that his preferred way was better. He even tried to “teach” it to others in the class.

If you have been told that part of your stroke is not up to standards of the American Red Cross and U.S.A. swimming programs you can decide to not try to make improvement, but it is disruptive behavior to repeatedly argue over the proper mechanics of strokes and especially to try to teach your incorrect, preferred way of swimming to others.

The class will sometimes be assigned to all do the same drills / projects. Other times there may be more than one group working on a skill and as people learn one part, they will move on to another group working on a second or third part. Debating with the instructor which group you should be in, or that you want to work separately on drills / projects of your choice, is also disruptive.

If you have visible tattoos with photos, drawings or words that would, in the opinion of your instructor, be distracting to her and other students, you will be expected to get a rash guard or similar clothing thick enough to cover up the tattoo(s). Clothing (a t-shirt, for example) with photos, drawings or words that would, in the opinion of your instructor, be distracting to her and other students, will not be allowed in the classroom, which is, in effect, the entire pool and pool deck.

At the pool disruptive behavior also includes, but is not limited to: submerging when the instructor is talking or it could be normally anticipated the instructor would talk; swimming in a direction opposite to the flow of a drill and risking hitting other swimmers; swimming out of bounds of the class; entering the water before the instructor says to; not staying on your side of a lane or circle swimming improperly; public displays of affection; changing clothes on the deck; prolonged breath holding or submersion without permission and a lifeguard watching you; floating and/or not moving without a thumbs up signal; breaking safety rules, such as climbing over the wall instead of using the stairs, running on the deck, pushing others into the pool, using kick boards or other pool devices without permission, using hand paddles when sharing a lane.

It is self-defeating, and disrupts the class as well, to say out loud (or even to think to yourself) “I can’t do this.” Give yourself the time to try each step repeatedly until you succeed! Keep thinking “I WILL be able to do this” until it happens. Your personal positive attitude really can affect the outcome. Balking or refusing to participate in class practice or skills testing is also disruptive to the class as a whole and can lead to your being dropped.

There is essentially no privacy in this class. Anyone in hearing range will know if you are having trouble with skills, are late, are not completing homework or are in trouble with your grade. Homework/quizzes may be exchanged and graded by other students.

These are more likely to occur in a classroom than in a pool, but are still disruptive:

using cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices other than those approved by me or allowing them to ring; using a laptop during class to do homework, email friends, etc.; inconsiderate personal hygiene habits including, but not limited to: noticeably offensive body odor, cologne or the use of chewing tobacco; smoking in or near the classroom; wearing/using headphone or earbuds-type music/tape playing devices; packing up early; disruptive noise making, including but not limited to uncontrolled laughter, pen, pencil or foot tapping, loud gum popping, loud or attention-distracting drinking and paper/book rustling; inappropriate body language, including, but not limited to propping feet up on a desk, refusing to remain seated, glaring or making faces; day packs and other gear should be left on the floor, not the desk top, so you won’t be tempted to hide your cell phone from view of the instructor while you text message a friend.

Disruptive behavior also includes overt inattentiveness and engaging in activities inappropriate to learning, including, but not limited to: sleeping (or appearing to sleep, as in eyes closed); reading non-class related materials (newspapers, magazines, etc.); reading class materials at inappropriate times, such as when attention should be focused on videos, lecture, discussion or skills practice; completing homework during class time; applying makeup; grooming hair; knitting; staring out the window.

Wearing ear buds, even if they are not attached to a device, makes it look to everyone as if you are not paying attention in class. No sunglasses are allowed in the classroom.

No cheating, plagiarism, dishonesty or behavior that would lead a reasonable person to assume that these activities have taken place will be tolerated. When I give written tests I like students to sit far apart from each other so if they look around while thinking no one will think they are trying to cheat. No one should talk during exams, except to the instructor or a teaching assistant. Unless an assignment is given as group work I expect that all work will be your own.

The De Anza Health Policy says (in part) “A De Anza student will:

Not attend college if he/she has a contagious condition (i.e., T.B., measles, hepatitis, etc.).

Not attend college if he/she is under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs.

Obtain a physician’s note and cooperate openly and honestly with college officials about medical problems that may threaten the health and/or welfare of self and others.

Adhere to safety regulations and use safety equipment and protective devices as required.”

Do not enter the pool if you have had diarrhea or conjunctivitis (pink eye) within the past two weeks (unless you get a doctor’s release, on their official stationery, saying you are okay).

Report any injuries and equipment or facilities problems immediately to your instructor.

In case we have an accident in class I will describe during class the first day how to call Campus Security from the land line phone on the wall at the diving board end of the pool at 5555 (non-emergency) or 911 (emergency). Cupertino police/sheriff can be direct dialed from a cell phone at: 1 (408) 299-2311. De Anza emergency can be directly dialed from a cell phone at 1 (408) 924 8000.

When you swim in deep water you must equalize the pressure in your ears to that of the water, often referred to as “clearing” your ears. I will describe ‘clearing’ your ears the first day and again a few times as the class goes along. Please talk to me personally if you don’t understand how to do it, or if it doesn’t seem to work when we try it in the water.

When you swim to depth, or occasionally even in relatively shallow water, if you are dizzy or have ear pain you should immediately surface. Upon surfacing if you still feel pain, or are dizzy, you need to see a doctor as you can lose hearing from not clearing your ears properly.

If you have even milder symptoms such as tingling in your ear, you should also have a doctor look in your ears to be sure you have not accumulated an excess of ear wax or have some other problem that can keep you from clearing your ears properly.

Don’t hyperventilate (multiple, rapid, deep breaths) before you swim under water. You can’t store extra oxygen that way, and you can possibly pass out under water.

I will have some special demonstrations, which cannot be repeated, at the beginning of many class sessions. Therefore, if you have scheduling problems, it would be better for you to leave class early on occasion than to be late for class. (You must check out if you leave early.) And your prompt attendance will be appreciated by the other students, so that we can do as much as possible this quarter. We will watch Red Cross stroke videos and/or I will give detailed descriptions of strokes, and some health and safety lectures.

Please pay special attention to safety notes, and follow our instructions. If you don’t perform activities correctly there is the possibility of injury. If you feel you will need a friend to translate, please have them sign up for the class, or find a student currently enrolled in the class to help you. I do not consider quiet translating an interruption of the class.

We don’t take class time to stretch, so if you like to, come a bit early and go for a walk, then stretch. After class, some people stretch in the pool or on deck or in the locker room.

Failure to perform activities correctly can result in injury.

FLEA MARKETS are held on the first Saturday of each month and they take up a lot of room and parking spaces. There will be parking attendants asking for ten dollars to park, but if you have purchased a quarter-long permit and tell them you are there for a swim class, they should let you in without paying extra. DO NOT try to park in the lot on the east (Stelling road) side of the campus, there is almost always much more room, and less hassle if you park in lot E, on the other side of the PE quad. Find Lot E at: OR try the Flint Center parking garage, at the Stevens Creek and highway 85 corner of the campus, as even the top floor has space most Flea Market days. You will need to plan time for the walk from there, but that could be faster than driving around and around looking for a parking space.

The most important things you can do to be successful in this class are:

Stay safe. Swim class safety rules.

Attend and participate in every class. You may not ‘keep up’ with others in the class (or they might have more skills and stamina than you do to start with), but be here trying anyway. Your instructor knows that some people take longer to learn some of the skills, and she is not worried that anyone might ‘get behind,’ so you do not have permission to feel behind.

Don’t put off the homework until the last day, especially the personal practice journal.

Quit smoking.

Start drinking more water, 2-5 liters a day is recommended depending on how hot it is and how hard you are working. Drink before class and after.


This message is from De Anza College Disability Support Services:

“Students who have been found to be eligible for accommodations by Disability Support Services (DSS), please follow up to ensure that your accommodations have been authorized for the current quarter. If you are not registered with DSS and need accommodations, please go to the DSS office in the Registration & Student Services Building (RSS) – Room 141 for information on eligibility and how to receive support services. You can also go online to for additional information.”


Please read this syllabus carefully and completely.

Unfortunately, almost every quarter people try the last day of class to turn in a one page personal practice journal put together at the last minute instead of the journal they should have been keeping all quarter. Then it is too late to get the high grade they wanted.

Some De Anza instructors do not answer student emails. Most of the emails we get from students are to ask questions that they could have found the answers to in the course syllabus or at a class webpage. (It is easier for a student to email and ask than to take the time to read and understand the syllabus. One “simple question” from a student might not seem like too much for a instructor to answer, but multiplied by hundreds of students, and occasionally multiple emails from one student, it can truly be too time consuming.)

I ask students to read the course syllabus the first day of class, and I go over it in person during the first class.

Reading it is also a “homework” assignment.

Any questions people have about the class work / course syllabus are better answered in class. If people email me questions that can be answered by more carefully reading the course syllabus / class webpage, they will be referred to the course syllabus / class webpage.

This syllabus is subject to change as needed, even after the quarter has started.