Ah, I see! The rule is: use aussi with adjectives and adverbs and autant with verbs.
Je chante aussi bien que ma tante. -- I sing as well as my aunt.Je chante autant que ma tante. -- I sing as much as my aunt.
In the first sentence the focus is on how well I sing in comparison to my aunt. The second sentence is about how much I sing. Same in your second example:
Oui, elle nage autant que Laure. -- Yes, she swims as much as Laure.Oui, elle nage aussi vite que Laure. -- Yes, she swims as fast as Laure.
I hope this helps a bit.
Je chante aussi bien que ma tante
Ils voyagent autant que nous. (Different example)
And here is « nage » example I keep getting wrong on test because I think it should be aussi:
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