Do I Swim Well Enough?
You don't have to be a great swimmer, but you do have to strong swimmer. Scroll down for a description and a video showing the pre-test.
Poor swimming is the number one cause of failure in the lifeguard course. The prerequisite test is described below. Keep in mind, you must be able to swim front crawl (freestyle) with breathing to the side, OR breaststroke with breathing putting your face in. You must know how to do one of these two strokes correctly.
If you were never on swim team, go to a pool and try the prerequisite test. Ask a lifeguard at the pool to take a look at you.
Lifeguard Course Swim Pretest
1. Swim 300 yards continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing. Candidates may swim using the front crawl, breaststroke, or a combination of both, but swimming on the back or side is not allowed. Swim goggles may be used only for this test.
2. Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs. Candidates should place their hands under the armpits.
3. Complete a timed event within 1 minute, 40 seconds:
■ Starting in the water, swim 20 yards. The face may be in or out of the water. Swim goggles are not allowed.
■ Surface dive, feet-first or head-first, to a depth of 7 to 10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound object.
■ Return to the surface and swim 20 yards on the back to return to the starting point with both hands holding the object and keeping the face at or near the surface so they are able to get a breath. Exit the water without using a ladder or steps.
Check out the video at the bottom of the page to see the swimming pretest in action.
Do I swim well enough to be a lifeguard?
Watch the video to see.
A. SWIM 300 yards continuously using front crawl or breaststroke
B. TREAD for 2 minutes using legs only
C. BRICK TEST: Surface dive to the bottom of the deep end and retrieve a 10 lb brick.
Detailed explanation above