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Swimming Tests

At regular intervals assess the abilities of your swimming class or team. This is great fun, but also keeps you up to speed and alert.

These swimming tests go beyond the simple four lengths run. They are designed to assess your fitness and survival skills.

If you are not in a swimming team, ask the lifeguard or swimming teacher at your local pool to run you through these tests.

Follow the usual safety procedures. Have the training supervised by other lifeguards.

Adjust your clothes as required for your training level. Discarded clothing must not be allowed to become a hazard to other swimmers and should be removed from the pool as quickly as possible.

Basic Swimming Competence Test

All elements of this test are performed consecutively in the order shown, in standard swimwear or whatever clothing you prefer.
  1. Swim 100 metres without rest using any recognised swimming stroke.

  2. Remain afloat for 2 minutes in a restricted area of water, with a maximum radius of 2 metres.

  3. Exit the pool at a point were you're out of depth without an aid.

Intermediate Swimming Test

All elements of this test are performed consecutively in light clothing.
  1. Swim 50 metres on the front and 50 metres on the back, using any recognised swimming strokes.

  2. Surface dive and retrieve an object from the deepest part of the pool.

  3. Swim 25 metres to a casualty (conscious weak swimmer) and and do a non-contact tow over 25 metres.

  4. Remain afloat for 3 minutes in a restricted area (2 metres) using the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (H.E.L.P.) position.

Advanced Swimming Test

This test is based on the Royal Air Force (RAF) swimming proficency programme. All elements of this test are carried out fully clothed, like lifeguard anorak, pullover and trousers. Not more than 2 minutes rest is permitted between sections.
  1. Enter deep water by a straddle jump.

  2. Swim continously 300 metres using recognised swimming strokes, change of strokes to take place every 100 metres.

  3. Swim 20 metres to a casualty in 20 seconds or less and do a contact tow over 20 metres. Assist the casualty to land.

  4. Retrieve an object from the deepest part of the pool.
    Upon surfacing tow a live casualty 5 metres to safety in deep water. With an assistant lift the casualty to onto the pool side.

  5. Swim 50 metres in 60 seconds or less.

Liferaft Test

This is an old Roya Air Force swimming test, but it's still good fun. Candidates are required to pass the following test, which is carried out in full clothing like tracksuits and anorak, or similar garments, without footwear. Not more than 3 minutes rest may be taken between the sections.
  1. Enter the water by a straddle jump into the deep end of the pool.

  2. Swim continuously 150 meters breast or side stroke and 50 meters back stroke.

  3. Swim 15 meters under water, then right an overturned liferaft and climb into it.

  4. Swim 20 meters to a casulaty and using the collar-grip or chin-tow method of rescue tow him/her back to the liferaft. Assist the casualty into the liferaft, then climb in yourself.

  5. Get back into the water and remain afloat for 10 minutes in a restricted area of water, with a maximum radius of 5 meters.

Float Test

Floating is used when waiting to be rescued. If you wish to participate in boating activities you should pass a float test in a swimming pool. In the test, you must stay above water in one place for ten minutes using any technique, including treading water, dead man's float, floating on your back, and so on.

The float test is designed to ensure that you will stay on the surface of the water if you should fall in fully clothed, and that you are comfortable keeping yourself afloat until help comes to pick you up. Lifeguards at various pools in the community will sign off on float tests.

Please wear clothes that you don't mind getting wet, as the lifeguard or examiner will require that you complete the test fully clothed to simulate a boating accident. The test requires you to float with your head out of the water for ten minutes. At the end of the ten minutes you put on a life jacket, properly fasten it, and then swim to the edge of the water.

This test evaluates your ability to maintain yourself in the water indefinitely even though exhausted or otherwise unable to continue swimming. Treading water or swimming in place will further tire you and is therefore unacceptable. This test must be long enough to determine that you are resting and likely could continue to do so for a prolonged period.

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