- Pens or pencils
- A4 paper
- Swimwear for the pool
- Equipment needed for circuits (e.g. a t-shirt and shorts, stopwatch)
- This circuit activity is aimed at supporting everyone to achieve the Swimmer staged activity badge they are working towards. Remember to look at the guidance on swimming before completing this activity. Also have a look at the guidance for non-swimmers if needed.
- Find your local pool in England, Wales or Scotland using this poolfinder, or use this one for Northern Ireland. Get in touch with them and see if you can arrange a visit. When you visit, have a look at the facilities and share your plans for the activity with staff. See how many lifeguards would be available to help you run it. If you need equipment, they may be able to lend you some, so ask!
- Think about how you set up your circuits, so that there is a suitable challenge for swimmers of all abilities. Some of the requirements for the stages require skills that may need to be practised before being attempted as part of this activity. Talk with those in the group taking part about what they can achieve in this session and what they may need to revisit in future.
- Arrange for any additional help from Young Leaders or parents and carers for this activity. You’ll need one adult per activity.
- Assign a helper to each activity stage. Each helper will need a clipboard, paper and a pen or pencil. They should each draw a table to record the progress of each person taking part in their activity stage.
- Here are the requirements for each stage that need to be incorporated in the circuits:
- Demonstrate a controlled entry or dive from the side of the pool into at least 1.5 metres of water.
- Swim 50 metres in shirt and shorts.
- Tread water for three minutes, with one hand behind your back.
- Surface dive into 1.5 metres of water and recover an object with both hands from the bottom. Return to the side of the pool, holding the object in both hands.
- Enter the water from the side of the pool by sliding in from a sitting position. Using any floating object for support, take up and hold the heat escape lessening posture for five minutes.
- Swim 400 metres without stopping.
- Demonstrate a racing dive into at least 1.8 metres of water and straddle jump into at least 2 meters of water.
- Swim 100 metres in less than four minutes.
- Tread water for five minutes.
- Surface dive into 1.5 metres of water, both head first and feet first and swim at least 5 metres under water on both occasions.
- Enter the water as you would if you didn’t know the depth. Swim 10 metres to a floating object. Use the object to take up and hold the heat escape lessening posture for five minutes.
- Swim 800 metres using any of the four recognised strokes without stopping. You should swim 400m on your front and 400m on your back.
- Demonstrate a racing dive into at least 1.8 metres of water and a straddle jump into at least 2 meters of water.
- Swim 100 metres in shirt and shorts. When you’ve finished, remove the shirt and shorts and climb out of the pool unaided. Your time limit is three minutes.
- Tread water for five minutes, three of which one arm must be held clear of the water.
- Scull on your back, head first, for ten metres, then feet first for ten metres. Move into a tuck position and turn 360 degrees, keeping your head out of the water.
- Swim 10 metres, perform a somersault without touching the side of the pool, then carry on swimming in the same direction for a further 10 metres.
- Demonstrate the heat escape lessening posture.
- Demonstrate a surface dive, both head and feet first, into 1.5 metres of water.
- Swim 1,000 metres using any of the four recognised strokes, for a minimum distance of 200 metres per stroke. This swim must be completed in 35 minutes.
Ready, steady, go!
- Set up a circuit that fulfils the requirements for the stages everyone is working towards. Swimmers should complete the activities in small groups, with each starting at a different point depending on their experience and level, and to keep everyone moving at the same time.
- All swimmers should do a warm-up before doing any circuits. You could run the ‘Stretch and swim’ activity or your own warm-up routine that meets the badge requirements. Try to make sure this is youth-led.
- Groups should rotate between the activities, as appropriate. Continue until everyone has finished what they’re capable of doing in the session.
Swimming circuits in this way shows off a lot of important skills. Those taking part will have tested their agility, endurance, stamina and technique in the water. Why are these four factors so important for swimming? How do they help keep yourself and others safe in the water? Who did more than they thought they were capable of, by being brave and giving it a go, and who was able to demonstrate their skills to others in Stage 5? How did this feel?
- Near water
Manage groups carefully when near water. The guidance on activities near water will help you to keep your group safe.
- Water games and activities
Be careful when doing activities with, in, or near water. Check surfaces and reduce the risk of slipping where possible. Make sure you have appropriate supervision for this activity.
The higher the stage, the more difficult it is. Encourage confident swimmers to have a go at the next stage up, and those who are struggling to try the one below, if they haven’t already completed it.
Think about how you set up your circuits, so that there’s a suitable challenge for swimmers of all abilities. Make sure everyone has enough time to complete their activities.
When booking a pool, ask about how they cater for people with disabilities. Check out what facilities they have onsite to do this and what training staff have. Check out this website for further advice.
Assign tasks to those who don’t wish to go into the water. They can record people’s times, direct them to the next stage and handle equipment, to help run this activity.
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.
Encourage keen swimmers to join a local club to get stronger. They should also be encouraged to try watersports and activities that need strong swimming skills, like kayaking and raft-building.
If they like, young people can plan out their own circuits for this activity, providing they meet the requirements for each stage.