Danila Novikov
All-American swimmer and founder of NYC based swim school.

What is iSR swimming lessons? ISR vs Traditional swimming lessons.

Hi, my name is Dan. I am an All-American swimmer & owner of a NYC-based swim school for adults and kids.

I've been teaching infants & older children aquatic safety & survival skills for over a decade. In this blog post, I'll help parents choose the swim program for their kids.

You'll learn:

  1. What is isr lessons
  2. ISR vs traditional swimming lessons
  3. Pros and cons of ISR lessons

Let's dive right into it.
what is isr swimming lessons

What are ISR lessons?

ISR stands for infant swimming resource and was developed by Harvey Barnett, a former swim instructor who specialized in working with children. ISR swim classes are delivered daily to reinforce the skills and are designed to drown-proof young children. ISR instructors work one-on-one with a child to teach them essential survival skills like the swim-float-swim sequence.
infant swimming resource

ISR vs Traditional Swim Lessons

Infant swimming resource (ISR) had lots of success in recent years. Dozens of viral videos of infants floating made ISR swim lessons one of the most popular swim programs for young children. Many parents come to our swim school, wondering what classes best suit their toddlers.

Both traditional swimming lessons & ISR lessons have their benefits & ultimately help young children learn self-rescue skills.

Let's break them down, and see what will fit best your child's age & learning style.

Infant swimming resource: overview

  • Duration

    ISR lessons are typically more intense. Children learn survival skills in the short, 10-15-minute one-on-one lessons, Monday-Friday. The frequency of the classes reinforces specific water safety & survival skills at a faster pace.
  • Intensity

    ISR is a self-rescue program, and its primary focus is to teach your infant essential drowning prevention techniques. Lessons are short but intense, and your kids will be submerged under, and, sometimes, will be placed in real-life scenarios like performing self-rescue fully clothed in the pool.

    While the certified ISR instructor follows numerous safety protocols, that learning environment is not for all toddlers. Many kids don't respond well to those teaching methods, and develop fear of water.
  • Approach

    ISR lessons focus on drowning prevention & self-rescue skills. Every child learns a survival sequence that consists of swimming for a short distance and floating on their back. This sequence is performed over & over until your child reaches a skill level that will allow them to successfully get back to safety.
ISR vs Traditional Swim Lessons

Formal swimming lessons: overview

  • Duration

    Traditional swimming lessons are typically longer, with a focus on sensorimotor learning. The instructor slowly introduces kids to the pool and progressively teaches them complex swimming skills like kicking and paddling.
  • Intensity

    Both ISR and traditional swim lessons promote water survival skills, but traditional classes are less intense. There, instructors ensure that all students are comfortable performing exercises at each lesson, making learning environment less scary. That helps young children develop a healthy perception of the water & enjoy swimming for years ahead.
  • Approach

    Traditional swim lessons are uniquely tailored to your child's age & teach kids age-appropriate swimming skills. It's not a week-long program and will require children to attend classes consistently, and progressively master swim techniques that will allow them to swim confidentially in the long run.
self-rescue lessons

Find swim lessons that work best for your children

My best advice for parents is to have realistic expectations for their kids. While drowning is a leading cause of unintentional death, recent research shows that children are not developmentally ready to learn & perform complex swimming skills until they're 4,5 years old. Thus, even if your kid learned to swim, adult supervision is required at all times until your children get older.

However, early swim lessons are a great step towards drowning prevention.

ISR lessons are an excellent first introduction for your child, only if your child responds well to the instructor. If your children don't respond well to the instruction, if they're constantly crying, or if they start resenting the swimming pool, you should consider stopping ISR swim lessons. It can become a very traumatizing experience, and your child may develop a fear of water later down the road.

I encourage parents to shop around and find lessons & a swim instructor that your child responds to best. It might be not ISR swim lessons, and you might need to wait until your child grows up a little. Children of older ages are physically and mentally ready to learn, and they will be more receptive to instruction and will learn at a quick pace.
not one more child