Florida had the highest unintentional drowning death rate among children ages 0 to 9 from 2017 to 2019*. Water safety education is essential to the survival of children and drowning is preventable. FAST is committed to providing free swim lessons for ALL Marion County 3rd grade students through the Cannonball Kidz program. The mission of Cannonball Kidz is to teach fun and free swim lessons to all 3rd Grade students in Marion County! Our Instructors will embody empathy and kindness together with hard work and dedication to support all athletes.

*Statistics by floridahealth.gov.



Cannonball Kidz provides 1 session of 8 free 30-minute lessons to all Marion County students enrolled in 3rd grade for the 2023-24 school year. Students who complete all 8 lessons of the Cannonball Kidz program will receive 10% off further swim lessons at FAST for the remainder of the 2023-24 school year. All 8 lessons are offered within the same session time frame. The 8 lessons cannot span more than one session time frame.



Swimmers must wear swimsuits and may bring goggles that do NOT cover their nose. Long hair must be tied in a ponytail and out of the eyes of the swimmer. Masks and flotation devices are prohibited during the lessons.



Sign up for the free 3rd grade swim lessons in person at the FAST front desk.


Bring proof of 3rd grade enrollment for the current school year. Bring one of the following:

  • Screenshot or print copy of the student information screen from Skyward Family Access.
  • Copy of current school year report card.


Children will be placed in groups based on their level of technique. Levels of Progression range from Bronze to Platinum following the FAST Falcons Swim School model.


Water skills and safety tips that stay with them throughout all swim lessons. (*1 instructors per 4 swimmers)

  • Face in the water
  • Blowing bubbles
  • Float on your back
  • Comfort in the water
  • Fun in the water
  • Pass backs from one instructor to the other supported, face in the water


Beginning stroke technique skills to build a foundation for freestyle. (*1 instructor per 4 swimmers)

  • Streamline push from the wall, face in the water to instructor
  • Splashing kicks
  • Rotate from streamline kicks to backfloat
  • Rotate from backfloat to face in and streamline kick to the wall
  • All Bronze level skills


Continue stroke technique skills for freestyle, begin backstroke technique foundation.

  • Freestyle arm development
  • Streamline push from wall into freestyle stroke
  • Rotate from freestyle swim to backfloat
  • Learn timing for freestyle breath
  • Backstroke push from the wall
  • All Silver level skills


Freestyle and backstroke technique refined.

  • Backstroke arm development
  • Push from wall, freestyle to backfloat, to wall
  • Freestyle technique refined full 25 yards
  • 25 yards proficient backstroke
  • All Gold level skills


Please make sure that all children come dressed, showered, and ready to get in the water at least 5 minutes before their class start time. At the start of class time the director or deck manager will call your child’s name and direct them to a colored spot on the deck of the pool to find the correct class. The instructors will evaluate the participants’ swimming ability. If the participant needs to move up or down a level the instructor will notify the supervisor, and the supervisor will work with the parent to change to the appropriate class. The first session will include relationship building between instructors and swimmers.


Does my child have to be in 3rd grade to participate in Cannonball Kidz?

Yes, Cannonball Kidz is for Marion County 3rd grade students only. The FAST Falcons Swim School offers affordable swim lessons for children of all ages. More information about the FAST Falcons Swim School here.

How do I prove my child is a Marion County 3rd grade student?

Screenshot or print a copy of the student information screen from Skyward Family Access showing the student’s current grade level. A report card from the current school year will also be accepted as proof.

My child is home-schooled, enrolled in private school, or in virtual school. Can they still participate in Cannonball Kidz if they are in 3rd grade?

Yes! Cannonball Kidz is for ALL Marion County 3rd grade students. Please bring a report card or proof of coursework for the current school year.

Can parents/guardians watch swim lessons?

Parents are welcomed to observe from the far side of the deck but may not interact with or distract their child during lessons. Parents may communicate with the director regarding any concerns about the lesson provided, however, they must refrain from speaking with the instructors as this will detract from the safety of all swimmers in the water.

Can my child make-up a swim lesson?

Make-up lessons are ONLY available for documented medical reasons. Cannonball Kidz will not make up lessons missed for any other reason.