Red Cross AWSI Course Lesson Plan:

The Red Cross is the leading provider of a number of safety and injury prevention courses. These courses range from life-guarding classes, first aid and CPR rescues for adults, children and infants, and water safety training. This article will focus on the water safety component of Red Cross programs.

The following post is on the Red Cross AWSI Fitness component of the assistant water safety instructor course:


1. Identify how fitness relates to swimming.
2. Identify the components of fitness, the F.I.T.T. principle, and the purpose of using the target heart rate zone.
3. Identify methods for building endurance.
4. Ensure candidates are introduced to the fitness components of the Red Cross Swim programs and the fitness content contained in the Red Cross Swim Journal.
Evaluation Criteria:

1. Identifies why fitness is important in the Swimming and Water Safety Program.
2. Identifies the components of the F.I.T.T. Principle and the relevance of target heart rate monitoring.
3. Identifies two methods of building endurance
4. Identifies how physical principles affect the performance and teaching of fitness activities.
Time: 2 hours (1 hour class; 1 hour pool)

Materials: Scenario cards, flipcharts, pens, paper, newspaper.
Activity: Role-Play (30 min dry)

Candidates will be asked to group together and discuss the scenario card they receive. From the scenario, the group must then provide a role-playing scenario for the rest of the candidates that will provide a solution to the scenario on the card.

> Parent approaches you, the instructor, and wants to know the importance of his/her child maintaining physical fitness.
> A swimmer in your lessons asks you to re-teach him about the F.I.T.T. Principle – particularly what it stands for.
> A co-worker asks you to provide a list of sample activities to maintain cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility in the water.
Ø An adult asks you what is the purpose of the Target Heart Rate Zone.



Take a Red Cross CPR and first aid course to make sure you can keep you lesson safe.

Activity: Methods for Building Endurance (30 min dry/ 15 min wet)

Take candidates through a sample of various endurance activities. Be sure to point out that the use of Over Distance Training is helpful in building endurance. Have candidates swim a short distance to begin with. As each lesson progresses, challenge them to increase the distance. This principle is used to develop endurance in the lower levels. They are not expected to be able to complete the distances of the Red Cross Swim Program distance swim on the first day of the lessons. Build up slowly and make it fun!! Have them playing a game such as What Time is it Mr/Mrs Shark where they have to swim a short distance back to the edge. As endurance increases, so can the activities. Try the Newspaper Relay. The object is to keep the newspaper dry to the other side of the pool. Swimmers take a newspaper and swim on their back to the other side. Make sure they are reading the news out loud—it adds to the fun! Partner swims or silly swims where you eliminate the use of arms or legs are also fun ways to build endurance. Make sure to stretch afterwards. For examples of stretches to use, see Appendix L.
Activity: Synchronized Swimming and Eggbeater (15 min wet)

Have candidates try out the synchronized swimming activities listed in the AWSI Manual page 11.3. Break them into two groups. One group is responsible for breaking down one of the skills of synchronized swimming into smaller progressions and a game. The other group is responsible for doing the same for eggbeater.
Activity: Fitness Activities for Working on Cardio, Intervals, Endurance and Speed (30 min wet)

Take candidates through the following drills. Once done, have them use their manuals and worksheets to determine when these activities would best be used in the Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety Program. How could they change the activities to meet the needs of different age groups (as defined in chart on pages 4.5 – 4.6 in the AWSI Manual)?

Swim 200m; take pulse at end of each 50m
Swim 5 x 25m lengths of Front Crawl. Take a 10 second rest between each length.
This gives your body time to recover to swim the next length.
Increasing endurance
Swim 25m, swim 50m, swim 75m, swim 100m, and time yourself.
Increasing speed
Try to swim one 25m length of the pool in 2 minutes.
Repeat the activity 4 more times each time trying to decrease your time by 5 seconds.


Other Considerations:
– Experiment different ways to make fitness fun (games).
– How fitness relates to swimming

To learn more about the Red Cross program take a AWSI course with the Red Cross. To become a qualified Red Cross instructor it is important to have a good knowledge and skill base in first aid and CPR.