The Sunday afternoon orientation ends with a trip to the pool. All scouts are required to take a short swim test to determine their ability to safely use the camp's pool for such activities as Polar Bear, Troop Swim, Free Swim, and the Mile Swim. The BSA Swim Test is also a requirement for several Aquatics Badges such as Swimming and Life Saving.
Red, White, and Blue[edit | edit source]
The grading system is based on a "red, white, and blue" color coding that corresponds to sections of the pool as well as the skill of the swimmers permitted in that section.
White - The basic level swimmers, represented by a colorless white tag, may only swim here. It is the shallowest area of the pool ranging in depth from approximately 2.5 to 4 feet in depth. A white tag does not even require a scout to take the test because one can simply stand and wade in this section.
Red - Swimmers who can not fully complete the swim test and are thus not the strongest of swimmers but still have some skill in swimming and staying afloat. Any scout who attempts the test and has even the most basic ability to swim will likely be graded as a red swimmer. They may access both red and white sections. The Troop water polo game, jumping, and other aquatic activities can be preformed by these swimmers in the Red Section. The Red, middle section, ranges in depth from around 4 to 6 feet.
Blue - Anyone who successfully completes the swim test will be a full red, white, and blue swimmer. He will have access to all areas of the pool. The Blue section is the "deep end" where diving is allowed in water that goes down to 10 feet in depth. The Blue section also has two diving boards that scouts may use.
The vast majority of scouts earn their full red, white, and blue. Therefore, the activities in the pool are more broken up according to the section's depth than the swimming ability of the scouts. Those wishing merely to cool off (or quickly get in and out in the case of Polar Bear) stay in the White, those who want to play a game will get in the Red, and those who just want to keep jumping into the pool go to the Blue.
Pool Tags[edit | edit source]
When checking in at the Goodman Pavilion with the health staff, the Troop is given a bag containing circular tags for each registered member in camp. These tags are currently blank except for the name of their respective scout or adult leader and the abbreviated troop campsite on the reverse of the tag (CL for Paoli 1 scouts). After taking the swim test, the aquatics staff will mark the tag with colored sharpie to signify the swimmer's skill level as described above.
This tag is used not only to prove one's ability and gain access to the different areas of the pool. It is also used on the buddy border to represent where each swimmer and his respective buddy is. Each buddy pair must be in the same colored area. If they wish to move to a different area, leave the pool, or switch to pair with other buddies they must both go to the board and manually change their tags. In the event of an odd number of swimmers, one triple buddy team is allowed, but only one triple is permitted per section.
The BSA Swim Test[edit | edit source]
For any child who has been taught to swim, the test is fairly easy. Generally the scoutmasters have more trouble with it than even the youngest boys.
In groups of two, swimmers must jump into the Blue section feet first. Then they must swim the length of the pool on their stomachs (the type of stroke does not matter), cross over to the other side, and swim back. Halfway back they will be instructed to "Flip!" Swimmers must then changed to some form of backstroke the rest of the way. Upon reaching the end of the blue section again, swimmers are ordered to "Float!" After successfully floating on their backs long enough, they will individually be instructed by a life guard to exit the pool. After which their tags will be marked red, white, and blue.
At no time during the test is a swimmer allowed to touch the side wall or stand in a shallow section.