Confidence comes in many forms, but a confident swimmer is one who can master the five basic swim skills of the water competency test. The most confident of swimmers should be able to pass this test with ease. It is designed to make sure you’re a strong enough swimmer, treader and floater to handle any swim environment.
- Step or jump into water over your head. This means being able to fully submerge your head under the water and come back up to the surface with ease. It shows confidence and comfortability with the water when you can go under without panicking and show control of your body.
- Float or tread water for at least one minute. In keeping your head above water, you demonstrate that you can maintain control in an area where your feet may not touch the ground. Treading water is an essential skill that teaches body control, head control and breathing. It is useful if you can’t reach the bottom of the pool, lake or ocean, or if you accidentally fall in the water and need to wait for assistance.
- Turn over and around. To pass a competency test, some pool programs may have you jump into the water, spin around and then ask you to find the exit. This is to see if you can get turned around and comfortably make your way to the pool ladder – or dry land if you are in a lake or ocean. You can’t always predict what will happen in the water so a strong swimmer will be prepared to get out no matter where they are.
- Swim 25 yards without stopping. While 25 yards may seem like a lot, it’s a single lap in a standard pool. As long as you can do one lap from start to finish, you should have no problem getting to the side of any pool.
- Exit the water. Being able to pull yourself out of a pool without any help is a great way to prove how confident you are around water. After all, the best way to stay safe in the pool is knowing how to swim safely and to get yourself in and out of the water.
Mastering these tasks will grant you the title of a confident and safe swimmer, but safety doesn’t end there. It is important for all swimmers to follow safety rules and protocols around water. Disregarding rules does not make you a better swimmer, just an unsafe one. Stay safe and stay confident!