Lifesaver

BSA Swim Test

Pack your swimsuit on top.

Those are always the instructions when packing for summer camp, because one of the first things we will have to do when we get there is the swim test. The BSA swim test is used to determine ability level so that participants can swim in an area which is appropriate for them.

Scouts and adults must pass the BSA swim test to take part in most aquatics activites. At camp, there is always a buddy board where you check in according to your ability level. The swim test is also used as a requirement for some advancement. Almost any rank advancement involving swimming or boating will require a swim test.

Sometimes Scouts will be very disappointed in themselves if they don’t get the Swimmer level right away. I just tell them to take pride in doing the best they can. Camp staff will often let them try again later in the week and I have seen several Scouts pass on a second try.

BSA Swim Test

Swimmer

  • Jump feet first into water over the head, level off, and begin swimming.
  • 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.
  • The 100 yards must be completed without stops and must include at least one sharp turn.
  • Rest by floating…Long enough to demonstrate ability to rest when exhausted.

Beginner

  • Jump feet first into water over the head, level off, and begin swimming.
  • Swim 25 feet on the surface.
  • Stop, turn, and resume swimming back to the starting place.

Non-Swimmer

  • Did not complete either of the swimming tests.
Be Sociable, Share!
More Information

7 Responses to BSA Swim Test

  1. Nathan June 16, 2012 at 5:03 PM #

    I did not pass my first try and here’s why: I jumped in at 12 feet came to the surface and began swimming. I swam 75 yards using the American crawl. I was more focused on just getting it done, which was a mistake.
    BIG TIP: Take your time.

    I swam 75 yards and began the resting back stroke for 25 yards. I was so exhausted I couldn’t stay afloat because I was breathing to hard. Just take your time, and all will be well.

    ( If you are afraid of jumping in deep waters, jump in a pool 4 feet, then 6 feet, then 8 feet, then 12 feet. I jumped in at 6 feet and came to the surface without any movement from my arms or legs. Then I got out and jumped in at 8 feet and noticed something. No matter how deep it is, it still takes the same amount of time coming out of the water. This seemed to help me, and I hope it helps you! Believe in yourself! )
    * I went to a scout camp and started instructional swim. In less than a week I was a swimmer. The very next year I got my swimming merit badge, life saving merit badge, and was certified life guard. I also did the mile swim. I did this all in a week of scour camp. It is possible and I believe in you all *

  2. Jonathan March 16, 2013 at 11:00 PM #

    Good point Nathan. I am a Red Cross guard and have given many precertification tests for troops. Take it slow and switch strokes if you start getting tired. I am still trying to figure out what other resting backstrokes there are other than the elementary backstroke. I would not consider the back crawl to be a resting stroke.

    • Dayna June 19, 2013 at 7:50 PM #

      One other “back stroke” that I am aware of that might count is called “fin and flutter.” It’s pretty old-school. It’s essentially a back float with a light flutter kick and you “fin” your arms back and forth at your side. It wouldn’t get you anywhere fast, but it is resting. http://www.ehow.com/how_2251594_swim-flutter-back-finning-stroke.html

  3. Mortryman July 1, 2013 at 11:55 AM #

    is there any rule that says the scout can r cannot wear goggles while completingt he BSA swimmers Test?

    • Scouter Mom July 2, 2013 at 12:05 PM #

      I’ve never seen it listed in any of the BSA documentation, although I have been at camps where the aquatics director required that it be done without goggles. If you need an official ruling, you should check with your local council.

  4. Laura July 2, 2013 at 11:54 PM #

    My son is a brand new scout and wants to go to camp but would be a non swimmer because he won’t want to jump in. Will he still be allowed to play in the shallow water? I don’t want him to feel excluded during free time when the other boys are playing.

    • Scouter Mom July 3, 2013 at 9:57 AM #

      Every camp I’ve been to has a shallow non-swimmer area. You can check with the council where you are camping if you are not sure that is the case.

Leave a Reply