Swimmers come in all skill levels, from novice to elite. Beginners who have just started swimming will learn basic technique and be able to move safely in the water, with the focus usually on just staying afloat. This is usually referred to as the ' Learn to Swim ' level.
From there, swimmers progress to 'Competitive' level. This is where they learn the fundamentals of competitive swimming techniques such as basic starts, turns and finishes. They are expected to be able to swim a particular stroke (e.g. freestyle or backstroke) with good technique and coordination.
As swimmers get more experienced and familiar with the competitive swimming environment, they will typically reach the 'Intermediate' level. At this level, swimmers will become more skilled in all the competitive strokes and will learn to train with more intensity and have some competitive experience. Intermediates are able to swim sprint and middle distance races in competitive events.
Finally, the 'Elite' level is for the most competitive swimmers. At this level, swimmers will have mastered all of the competitive strokes and have mastered the technical elements necessary for top performance. Elite swimmers are polished in all facets of the sport, from training to race strategy. They will also be competing in National and International level meets.