Help Swimmers Stay Safe with Swim Tests

Swim coach teaching a group of kids swim lessons in a pool

Swim tests should be given to all pool members before swimming, regardless of age or prior experience. Tests should be administered by certified lifeguards, and results should be logged and preferably electronically linked to a membership card.

Using Swim Bands

Did you know that you can use different color-coded wristbands to segment your swimmers into varying levels of swimming ability? Swimmers should be divided into a minimum of three to four groups, such as the following:

  • Non-swimmers
  • Beginners
  • Experienced swimmers
  • Swimmers with advanced requirements

Non-Swimmers

Non-swimmers are typically demarcated by red markings, which can include bracelets or weighted necklaces that can easily be seen on the swimmers from lifeguard stands.

Non-swimmers should be monitored with the highest level of attention due to limited or no swimming ability. These swimmers shouldn’t be permitted in areas where the water reaches above their chest.

Beginners

Inexperienced or beginner-level swimmers should be demarcated with yellow markings. To obtain this, entry-level swimmers should take a minor swim test to show basic swimming ability.

A sample test may include the following:

  • Treading water for 30 seconds
  • Jumping into the water feet first and floating above chin level before swimming to the side of the pool exit
  • Swimming 25 yards, using any kind of stroke, showing limited signs of strain.

Experienced Swimmers

Intermediate or experienced swimmers are typically marked with a green band and are permitted to swim in all areas of the pool without adult supervision (excluding lifeguards).

A sample test may include the following:

  • Treading water for one minute
  • Jumping into the water feet first and floating above chin level before swimming to the side of the pool exit
  • Swimming 100 yards total. This should include 75 yards of any desired stroke and 25 yards of backstroke. The swimmer should show limited signs of strain.

These swimmers typically require the normal level of monitoring since they are often the most experienced swimmers.

Swimmers with Advanced Requirements

Organizations may have additional areas that have age or height requirements, such as pool slides or advanced playing areas. These areas should be corded off with very limited access, only to those that meet the criteria of the organization. These swimmers are typically marked with purple, blue or black bands.

Lifeguards and staff are the first line of defense in ensuring the protection of swimmers. Be sure they are educated and aware of all procedures in place regarding access to parts of pools or swimming areas. The most experienced lifeguards in your organization should be assigned to advanced play areas, and they should be given additional training.

Water Safety

 

Important information for water facilities along with tools to use in an aquatic safety program.

 

Learn More


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