I don't think it matters; I used to do all of mine back crawl until a teacher said I had to do at least half on my front. She could never give me a good reason, so I think it was just a random decision on her behalf.
Round here, as you go further up the badge system, the stroke does matter. The child has to display a wider range of abilities to pass the next stage. Our LEA does "Dolphin" badges and DD went swimming until she got her Dolphin 10. For that she had to swim front crawl, breast-stroke, back crawl and dolphin stroke. She also had to tread water, dive under to retrieve a brick and turn a somersault under water. She was learning to do butterfly stroke just before she gave up swimming.
The teachers at the pool probably concentrate on technique even more than stamina, so the answer is probably, yes, it will matter how your son swims if he wants to achieve badges.
I think (so don't quote me) that anything under 25m doesn't have to be a specific stroke but 25m + has to be a recognisable proper stroke - although I don't know if it has to be the same stroke for the whole distance.
He will be moving up at the end of the block (he is only in level 2 which is for kids who cannot swim yet). He would have moved up last term as he could easily do everything required, but he was still in nursery (lessons are for 5+) and not exactly reliable when it cam to listening and following instructions.
A quick google turned up this "We aim to ensure that children learn good technique first and foremost. For distances of 25m and above, the strokes should be recognisable as one of the four competitive strokes, however they need not meet the level expected by FINA law. The crucial factors here, are that the swim is continuous, enjoyable and stress free."
the swimming club my dc go to doesn't do distance badges - the teachers say they're pretty meaningless as children should be concentrating on technique when they start swimming not on how far or how fast they can go - if their technique is good, they'll be able to go on for ever (well, nearly!) and get much faster
Hi, Wallace we have chatted about swimming before.
My DS did 5m and the stroke didn't matter, then 10m FC and then 20m FC where they weren't bothered about the standard of the stroke. He also did stage 2,3 and 4 as each class did the stage + badge.
At the club he now swims at they concentrate on technique. The pool is 12.5m long and they do all 4 strokes. He passed his stage 2 again in April!! He has one more group after the one he's on and they do their 25m in that before progressing to the big pool where they do widths (15m) and lengths once a month.
DS will swim a length with me (actually about 8 or so) but the club he's in atm look for technique - which is distinctly lacking after about 20m!!