Re: 2nd & 1st Class Swimming Requirements
Fri, 19 Sep 1997 09:19:34 -0700
> Jay wrote:
> > Also, neither the 2nd nor 1st Class swimming requirements state
> >the swimming need be "unassisted". So, why not start with the use of a
> >qualify for those who need the maturity or experience to develop
> >skills (and gain their rank advancement)?
> > No one need fail if you're creative. No one need be unsafe if
> >the tools at hand.
As a former swimming instructor and swim team coach I have a real problem
with allowing a scout to pass a swimming requirement using a PFD. Like most
swimming instructors I hate "water wings", because the child learns to
trust the floatation and not in their own abilities. The same applies to
the PFD. We are teaching these young men life skills not simply passing
requirements. I wouldn't want him to someday fall into the water without a
PFD and panic because he doesn't feel confident in his abilities. We
wouldn't allow a scout to microwave some burritos for his cooking
requirements, so why are we willing to cut him so much slack in the
swimming requirements. These are skills that are needed in life, lets not
short change our scouts.
Now that, I have vented let me get practical. First of all, I believe that
unless a person has a severe physical handicap, they can swim in some
fashion. I have taught many people with physical handicaps to swim, their
strokes may not be textbook, but they propel them though the water. I have
even taught some Airborne Ranger "rocks" to swim. It simply is a matter of
figuring out something that will work. Try a different stroke, modify a
technique, change a kick pattern, whatever just find something that works.
It can be done. If a scout is having trouble have a swimming instructor or
a swimming coach look at his stroke, it may just be very inefficient.
Whatever you do don't lower the requirements, you will only be doing the
scout a disservice.
As to the boy in question, the key to getting "rocks" to float is speed.
If he is doing a crawl stroke make sure that his hands are moving down his
center line, from the top of his head to about mid-gut. Moving the water
out to his sides doesn't do anything to move him through the water, this is
swimming not crew. Also make sure that he is straightening his arm and
flipping his wrist at the end of the arm stroke. Most people don't do those
things, but if you watch competitive swimmers they do it and their strokes
are much more efficient because of it. If that doesn't work, try a
different stroke. A lot of "rocks" I know have had success using a
breaststroke. And I almost forgot! Have him put his head in the water! When
your head is out of the water your rear sinks. Putting his head in he
water will make it a lot easier to stay on top of the water.
If you need more information feel free to e-mail me.
Webelos Den Leader
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City