1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

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1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby alex gregory » Tue May 19, 2009 12:03 pm

The BSA Swim Test says in relevant part: "Swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: side, breast, trudgen, or crawl. Swim 25 yards using an easy, resting backstroke."

OK, no problem, my kids were swimming before they could walk. Problem is when you have a Scout that is not a very good swimmer but is able to thrash his way in a reasonable semblance of forward motion for 75 yards (the elementary backstroke or "row boat" is usually a cinch). How "strong" do you have to swim to pass the BSA swim test?

Obviously the Swim Test is a 1st Class Requirement, but also required for any open water paddling activities.

I swim test Scouts in the troop regularly at a local pool. There all always a few guys who really need more practice, but they make it. My inclination is to be supportive, give them the pass for rank advancement, urge more lessons and Swimming Merit Badge.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby FrankJ » Tue May 19, 2009 12:18 pm

I am inclined to agree with you. Remember that any boating activities involve a life vest & a buddy boat (SSD). For flat water paddling like Northern tier, you really do not need to be that good of a swimmer. If I was taking a crew to something more aggressive like kayaking in rapids, part of qualified leadership would mean making sure that everybody meets more than the minimum standards. By in large the scouts who do not like to swim probably would not be the ones wanting to do this anyway.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby wetsmith » Tue May 19, 2009 12:34 pm

We are looking for just better than doggie paddle. If they can get their arms up out of the water in the recovery part of the stroke, stay off the bottom/walls, keep from sinking and finish the distance, that is good enough. Our older Scouts watch this pretty closely before they sign off on it. They need to do better for Swimming MB, so this is a good step in preparing for it.

We had two 1st years that stalled in advancement because of this. Luckily, we were able to hook them up with the local Y to get some lessons over the winter and it's worked well to get them going. Here again is something two boys would've not learned were it not for Scouting.

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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby wagionvigil » Tue May 19, 2009 12:47 pm

They can only do a resting back stroke on the Final 25 not before and yes No doggy Paddle. I would like to see it go back that you have to do it in a STRONG manner But also it is up to the testers.I tend to be tough on this and yes it is subjective.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby Mrw » Tue May 19, 2009 2:20 pm

Oops! Double post - not sure how though.....
Last edited by Mrw on Tue May 19, 2009 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby Mrw » Tue May 19, 2009 2:21 pm

In keeping with what they are expected to be able to do to pass the test at summer camp, we tell them is has to be a recognizable stroke (not doggie paddle). And that it does not have to be fast or pretty, but it does have to get them there.

The only exception I know to this in our troop was a kid who aged out about the time my older son crossed over who was incredibly skinny, and even after years of swimming lessons, sank like a rock in water. The kid with CP could not do the jump in feet first part as he could not jump, so when he went to camp, they held him over the edge and dropped him in.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby evmori » Tue May 19, 2009 2:56 pm

Yup no doggie paddle. Strong to me (I am a Swimming MS counselor) means constant throughout the entire swim.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby smtroop168 » Tue May 19, 2009 6:37 pm

From the Swimming MB pamphlet: This is for the 150 yards of swimming but it's at least a shot at defining "strong manner"

"You also are required to swim the specified strokes in a "strong manner". This means no rest stops and no gasping, panting completions."
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby Quailman » Tue May 19, 2009 6:40 pm

Mrw wrote:The kid with CP could not do the jump in feet first part as he could not jump, so when he went to camp, they held him over the edge and dropped him in.
But I'll bet he swam just fine. My son has CP and they let him 'jump' from a sitting position on the edge of the pool. Then he swims as well as you'd want - good form but not a very strong kick - and when it's time to float at the end he bobs like a cork.

Most swim test evaluators seem to be looking to see if someone could swim that far - not to see if they could hold their own against skilled competition.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby wagionvigil » Tue May 19, 2009 6:40 pm

If they touch the bottom,side or end they are done!
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby ThunderingWind » Tue May 19, 2009 9:17 pm

smtroop168 wrote:From the Swimming MB pamphlet: This is for the 150 yards of swimming but it's at least a shot at defining "strong manner"

"You also are required to swim the specified strokes in a "strong manner". This means no rest stops and no gasping, panting completions."


Are you interpreting this to mean that at the end of swimming 150 yards, the swimmer should be in such good shape that they are not gasping or
panting for air?

That is what my English teacher is tellign me this quote means.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby smtroop168 » Tue May 19, 2009 9:51 pm

ThunderingWind wrote:
smtroop168 wrote:From the Swimming MB pamphlet: This is for the 150 yards of swimming but it's at least a shot at defining "strong manner"

"You also are required to swim the specified strokes in a "strong manner". This means no rest stops and no gasping, panting completions."


Are you interpreting this to mean that at the end of swimming 150 yards, the swimmer should be in such good shape that they are not gasping or
panting for air?

That is what my English teacher is tellign me this quote means.


That's what the pamphlet says. The next lines say (or words to the effect) that the most strenous strokes are first and you end with the backstroke so at the end you should not be tired.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby evmori » Wed May 20, 2009 7:19 am

5. Swim continuously for 150 yards using the following strokes in good form and in a strong manner: front crawl or trudgen for 25 yards, back crawl for 25 yards, sidestroke for 25 yards, breaststroke for 25 yards, and elementary backstroke for 50 yards.


Since I don't have a swimming MB pamphlet with me I can only guess
You also are required to swim the specified strokes in a "strong manner". This means no rest stops and no gasping, panting completions.
is somewhere in the pamphlet. I fully agree with no rest stops but no gasping & panting on completion would eliminate a lot of qualified swimmers.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby wagionvigil » Wed May 20, 2009 7:29 am

Swimming MB is a bit different than the Swimmer test But the swimmer test says to jump feet first into water over your head level off, swim 75 yards on your stomach or side in a strong manner and then 25 yards using a resting back stroke ( at one time it specified the elementary backstroke) then float motionless for 1 minute on your back. The test for someone that says thay cannot float is to have them float on their stomach.If they can do that they can float on their back. The entire idea of the swimmers test is self rescue plain and simple. If everyone had to test in a lake their would be fewer swimmers passed. I went to a camp many years ago where they took you out to a platform in the middle of the lake, you jumped in there and swam your 100 yards.A boat was stationed every 25 yards plus a rescue boat in between each boat. Kids looked at that and said no thankyou. The beginners were tested in a pool.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby smtroop168 » Wed May 20, 2009 2:28 pm

wagionvigil wrote:Swimming MB is a bit different than the Swimmer test


The BSA Swimmer test is a requirement (3#) of the Swimming MB and the 150 yards is another one of the requirements (#5) so I don't see the definition of strong being different.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby wagionvigil » Wed May 20, 2009 3:14 pm

Did not say there was a difference between starong in them The Difference is 100yds compared to 150 yds. The Problem is it is so subjective. We had this problem during our winter swim porogram so I am actually writinmg guidlines for anyone working that next winter.
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby smtroop168 » Wed May 20, 2009 3:51 pm

What??? Subjective???? Please say it ain't so! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby FrankJ » Wed May 20, 2009 4:10 pm

What??? Subjective???? Please say it ain't so!


Is not this getting dangerously close to interpretative? Oh the slippery slope!
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby wagionvigil » Wed May 20, 2009 4:23 pm

FrankJ wrote:
What??? Subjective???? Please say it ain't so!


Is not this getting dangerously close to interpretative? Oh the slippery slope!

It is. it is totally up to the tester as to what strong is. You and I may be giving test and you may pass a kid and I may not pass the same kid. Some say striong is making the 100 yds. For others it is doing the strokes semi correctly and looking like a "swimmer".
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Re: 1st Class Swimming - How "Strong" is Strong?

Postby smtroop168 » Wed May 20, 2009 6:00 pm

Strong in my case is showing these young guys that the old SM can still do 100 yards without panting and gasping. :lol: :lol:
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