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Harvard Swim test???

confusionboundconfusionbound 0 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
Does Harvard currently make you do a swim test and fulfill physical education requirements? If there is one, what's the swim test like?

I did some online research and could not find anywhere that Princeton requires a swim test. Naturally, I thought they don't have one but I was talking to a student currently studying there and they took a required swim test last semester. So it would be great if a current Harvard student or recent graduate would answer versus a googler.
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Replies to: Harvard Swim test???

  • gibbygibby 10528 replies246 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 2
    There are no physical education requirements at Harvard, nor is there is a swim test. Ditto with Yale.
    edited February 2
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2543 replies33 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 2
    Supposedly Columbia requires you to pass a swim test.
    edited February 2
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  • Momma2018Momma2018 414 replies33 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited February 2
    Harvard used to have a swim test but it was eliminated (I think some time in the 80s). There was a myth that it was a requirement of a donation by Eleanor Elkins Widener because her son Harry had died on the Titanic but that was just an urban legend. Harry did die on the Titanic and she did endow the Widener Library but there was no swimming stipulation.

    MIT does require a swim test.
    edited February 2
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39280 replies7020 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    So it would be great if a current Harvard student or recent graduate would answer
    Don't need to be a Harvard student to answer; @gibby is correct; there is no swim test at Harvard.
    I was talking to a student currently studying there and they took a required swim test last semester.
    They were yanking your chain; Princeton also has no swim test.
    Supposedly Columbia requires you to pass a swim test.
    For Columbia College; it's not a requirement for engineering. Apparently, they can just build a boat if the campus floods.

    Cornell also has a swim test requirement.
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  • compmomcompmom 10763 replies76 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Seriously?

    skieurope love the thing about engineers building a boat...presumably they could even build an ark and save those who fail the swim test :)
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  • astute12astute12 674 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    Cornell has one! Found out when my son applied last year.
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  • JHSJHS 18415 replies72 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The University of Chicago had a three-part fitness test including a 100-yard swim, strength elements. and cardio elements, that it eliminated in 2012 (not so long ago). In order to graduate, students either had to pass all elements of the test or take a one-quarter phys ed course addressing each area of weakness.

    As of a few years ago, Washington & Lee still had a swim test.
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  • compmomcompmom 10763 replies76 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Were students with disabilities exempted? I imagine so. In this day and age, these fitness tests could be a problem in terms of inclusiveness. And what was the purpose? It's not like students are joining the Marines.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78272 replies691 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7298 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, Cornell still has a swim test....and a PE requirement. It can be fun :)
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  • mathmommathmom 32383 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 28
    Back when Harvard did have a swim test it was one lap in what seemed like a very small pool. 25 yards I think. I believe it came out of the idea that strong minds and strong bodies go together.
    edited February 28
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  • gibbygibby 10528 replies246 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
  • skieuropeskieurope 39280 replies7020 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited March 1
    25 yards I think.
    I always assumed it was 50 yards. I guess that's what happens when you assume.

    In the olden days (at least according to legend), when the Adams House Pool was in use, swim tests would be taken in the nude.
    edited March 1
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14748 replies986 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Ironic that is this day when physical fitness is touted so many people oppose a PE/swimming requirement. (There would be exemptions for people with documented disabilities of course.)
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  • compmomcompmom 10763 replies76 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I suppose you could be physically fit but not know how to swim. This would seem to be related to the former Harvard population from prep schools and country clubs :)

    I know that kids with disabilities would be exempt but it is another way to make them feel different.
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14748 replies986 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @compmom
    I know that kids with disabilities would be exempt but it is another way to make them feel different.
    Students with various disabilities are given exemptions all the time: special testing arrangements for example.
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  • compmomcompmom 10763 replies76 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Um, I am aware. Also students with disabilities have certain designated housing options, which is also too bad.
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  • Kenneth1960Kenneth1960 98 replies18 threadsForum Champion Harvard Forum Champion
    I took the test in 1979 in the old Indoor Athletic Building (now the Malkin Athletic Center).
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  • grandschemegrandscheme 690 replies17 threadsRegistered User Member
    @TomSrOfBoston RE your post #14. My issue would be that we should have the right to choose what we want to study. Sure it is better to be healthy but going to college is to gain an education. It is not mandatory; it is something a student chooses. PE could be an elective but we need to get away from social engineering. If I want to be a couch potato physicist solving some of the problems of deep space without ever getting up, why would anyone have the right to dictate otherwise? Don't we have the right to choose how to live our own lives? Whose to say what is "right" or "fair" or "best"?
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  • grandschemegrandscheme 690 replies17 threadsRegistered User Member
    And @compmom , we sponsor USNA midshipmen and are surprised to find some sailors come in not knowing how to swim or never having been on a boat. One can definitely be physically fit yet not know how to swim.
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