If a baby starts taking lessons from 4 months, at 12 to 18 months: there is a chance they can swim short distances unaided, turn unaided to an adult, and turn unaided to a ledge. 18 to 24 months: Children start being able to swim longer distances, turn unaided and even climb out of the pool, swim independently around adults, and pick up rings off the bottom of the pool.