At Kinabalu International School, swimming is an important part of our PE curriculum. All students in Foundation 2 will participate in weekly swimming lessons throughout the academic year. Students in Key Stage 1 will have swimming lessons for two of the three terms. Students in Key Stage 2 and Secondary will have swimming lessons for one term (Term 2).

Our swimming lessons are conducted by our trained staff and all students in the programme progress through a range of swimming levels (briefly outlined below). If parents would like the full outline of skills their child is learning, they should ask a member of the PE department.

In addition to our PE programme, Kinabalu International School also offers an elite swimming club – The Stingrays – for our most advanced Primary (from Year 3) and Secondary swimmers. Stingrays trains up to twice a week as part of our Extra Curricular programme and will work with the coaches to further develop their technique, speed and stamina and join local swimming competitions when appropriate. We have recently added the Primary Stingrays Prep Team to accommodate students who are enthusiastic about swimming but whose technique and stamina levels are not yet at a good enough standard. This group is being prepped to transition smoothly into the Elite Stingrays team at a later stage.


The Ducklings badges are for beginner swimmers and the children can progress through from Ducklings 1 to Ducklings 3. The main focus of these badges is water safety and confidence. The children will learn about pool safety and will develop their ability to play and move in the water comfortably and confidently. They will achieve this through exercises such as kicking and travelling on their front and back for a maximum distance of 5 meters.


The Dolphin Award is for children that have some experience in the pool and are developing their confidence. This award involves a range of stationary and moving skills such as floating, log rolls, gliding, kicking and travelling on their front and back for a maximum distance of 10 meters.


The Whale Award is when the students begin to refine their skills into recognised techniques and strokes. The students will practice a range of skills including under water swimming, backwards sculling and self-rescue skills. They will work towards basic techniques for the front crawl, back crawl, inverted breaststroke kick, and breaststroke kick.


By this point students are developing their skills in the four main swimming strokes. The students should be able to demonstrate their understanding of pool rules and safety (as in all the awards) and they also work on some self-rescue skills. They need to show competence in forward sculling and a 360° rotation. Another example of one criterion they must meet is to perform an entry dive in preparation for their Olympic Ring Awards.


The Olympic Ring Awards are for students that have a basic level of competence in all strokes and are now beginning to learn skills for competitive swimming as well as improving their fitness for swimming. The Blue Ring is an extension of the Shark Award but students are expected to perform the strokes without the assistance of any floats and the time for the skills is longer, so students develop their endurance. For the Olympic Black Ring Award, students will learn the appropriate start and finish for all 4 competitive strokes and will apply their skills in races and timed activities. Students will also learn the formative stages of tumble turns.


For the Red Ring Award students develop their endurance even further, swimming 80m without stopping and begin to learn the turns for all four strokes. We will also focus on the correct breathing technique for the different strokes. For the Yellow Ring, students must demonstrate endurance and consistent technique in all strokes, as well as more advanced self-rescue skills such as jumping in the pool without submerging. The Yellow Ring is a culmination of the start, turn and finish skills practiced for all four strokes in previous awards.


This is the highest award in the KIS swim programme before they can move on to the Bronze, Silver and Gold recognition Awards. The students develop different areas of their fitness in this award such as endurance, coordination and speed. They must achieve a range of set skills in three areas: speed, stamina and survival. This level requires students to swim with clothes on to resemble a real life survival scenario.

Swimwear required for lessons

All students must wear the appropriate swimwear as outlined below. Students come to school with their swimwear under their uniform and wear flip flops / slippers so they are able to quickly change on arrival at the pool. Long hair must be tied up and sunscreen should be applied before they arrive at school.


  • Plain fitting shorts / trunks (must be tight fitting and not baggy or board shorts)
  • Towel
  • Goggles
  • Rash vest and swim cap (optional)


  • Plain swimming costume (no bikinis or cut-out costumes)
  • Towel
  • Goggles
  • Rash vest and swim cap (optional)

KIS swimming costumes and swimming caps are available to purchase from the KIS Shop.