<p>Chinese university requires -- golf</p>
<p>MIT requires swimming test.</p>
<p>Like the Chinese, "to help students find good jobs" ? :)</p>
<p>Our kids' private HS requires all students to pass a swim test to graduate. It's just a part of the mandatory PE they have to take.</p>
<p>Many moons ago my Mom had to pass a swimming test to finish grad school. It was one of the hardest things she ever did. She had a sister who drowned and was deathly afraid of the water. She hasn't been swimming since she passed that test.</p>
<p>UNC-CH just abolished the swim test. My d, who is a strong swimmer, was actually a little bit disappointed. :-)</p>
<p>Until recently Colgate still has a swimming test
My mom said that Univ wa had a swimming test when she attended
Reed college has a pe requirement ( and they do have a pool but not a
swimming test )</p>
One by one, colleges with swim tests throw in the towel
By Justin Pope, AP Education Writer | May 8, 2006
On a recent Friday morning, a line of bathing-suit clad students stood beside a campus swimming pool, waiting to
jump in. They had come to persuade the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill they were worthy of a college
degree -- which they were not, in UNC's eyes, until they could swim 50 yards and tread water for five minutes.
For many, it was an annoying inconvenience, for others a moment of pride in conquering their fear of water. But the
scene also was a small slice of collegiate history. This was the last swim test day at one of the last remaining colleges
to require it. Following a wide-ranging curriculum review, this year's seniors are the last at UNC who must pass the
test to graduate.
The change is a sad one for Meg Pomerantz, who lobbied unsuccessfully to keep the requirement and who teaches
swim classes for students who need them to pass the test. "In my 16 years here, I've never had a student take the
course and say anything other than, 'I'm really glad I learned how to do this,'" she said.
A half-century ago, passing a swim test was a common requirement on college campuses. In an era before health
clubs, yoga and aerobics, swimming was both a popular exercise option and a skill colleges believed men and women
should master -- both for their own safety and for social reasons.
But swimming has lost its prominent place in campus physical education as the finishing school element has faded
and other fitness options have multiplied.
At UNC, Pomerantz says the faculty "looked at all the different things they wanted students to achieve -- diversity,
experiential education, being able to apply what you learn." Focusing on the single skill of swimming just didn't fit,
though Pomerantz contends it's still worthwhile.
As recently as a 1977 survey, 42 percent of institutions had some sort of swimming requirement, according to Larry
Hensley, a University of Northern Iowa professor who has studied the history of physical education. But by 1982 that
figure had plummeted to 8 percent. Subsequent surveys no longer bothered to ask about swimming requirements.
In 2003, Ferrum College in Virginia dropped its swim test. Colgate threw in the towel last year. The holdouts now
include Notre Dame, MIT, Cornell, Columbia, Hamilton, Dartmouth, Swarthmore, and Washington & Lee, plus the
The requirement is fertile ground for campus legends, some true, most not. Before Notre Dame began admitting
women in the early 1970s, students did indeed take the test in the buff. But there's apparently no solid evidence
behind any of the oddly similar stories that circulate on many campuses about how the test started: A wealthy donor
whose son drowns gives money for the pool on the condition that the college require a swim test.
In fact, many swimming requirements date to the early 20th century, when there was a national effort to improve water
safety, or more specifically to World War I and World War II, when college campuses became military training grounds
and the country underwent bouts of anxiety over its physical fitness.
Most tests today aren't particularly demanding -- usually a couple of laps and treading water for five to 15 minutes.
But at the Naval Academy, the standard is 1,000 meters in 40 minutes, among other tasks. And perhaps the mother of
all swim tests -- "Survival Gate Four" -- can be found at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Weighed down by
heavy equipment, cadets must perform several tasks in a pool amid simulated battlefield chaos. Artificial fog, rain and
deafening noise are pumped in, the darkness is punctuated only by strobed lightning, and the water is churned by
"Falling into 84-degree water -- Club Med we call it -- is a lot different than falling into the Hudson River on a winter
day," says John McVan, who oversees West Point's aquatics program. "We're not only teaching people how to swim,
we're teaching them how to swim in conditions that might not be nice."
But McVan takes great pride that, even though 5 percent of cadets arrive unable to swim, virtually all pass Survival
Gate Four within a year</p>
One by one, colleges with swim tests throw in the towel - Boston.com
2 of 2
5/9/2006 10:29 AM
Other schools also say students have every opportunity to learn. Cornell's director of physical education, Al Gantert,
says it's virtually impossible to fail to graduate because of the swim test. Up to 450 students each year take beginning
swimming. Technically, if they attend and make an effort for two semesters, that's good enough.
"If we cannot teach a student to swim in two semesters, that's our fault, not their's," Gantert said.
Fewer and fewer schools, however, think requiring a test is worthwhile.
There are administrative hassles finding instructors and accommodating students with chlorine allergies or religious
objections to being seen in bathing suits. But mostly, it's just a headache getting hundreds of college students to show
up for any one event at an appointed time and place.
At Colgate, biology professor Ken Belanger, who was chair of the committee on athletics, said students were called
back from senior week travels to take the test; others took it so late senior year they didn't make it into the graduation
program. Occasionally, they didn't graduate at all.
"I think the fact that there were students who were not graduating because of this requirement led people to question
its validity," he said.
Still, traditionalists at Colgate and elsewhere have opposed the changes.
Pomerantz notes that North Carolina has a lot of water, and a student at another college there drowned recently.
Students should have choices, but "you don't really have a choice if you fall into a lake." Furthermore, students who
learn to swim will likely teach their children, making them safer, too.
"As we teach them, we break a multigenerational cycle," Gantert said.
The requirement also boosts confidence. When a Cornell faculty committee evaluated the test in 1998, Gantert
recounted seeing students in one class following a struggling classmate along the pool, urging him on until he finished.
He told the faculty: "Where else at Cornell University when somebody passes a test is the whole class cheering?" The
faculty kept the test.
One of the seniors in line at UNC for the last test was Peter Clayton, who can do the laps but failed repeated attempts
to tread water for five minutes ("I sink like a rock," he said). He came up just short again, leaving him scrambling for
yet another crack at passing the requirement.
Officials granted him one -- and Clayton finally passed. He floated on his back and distracted himself by thinking of all
the work he needed to finish. Before he knew it, the five minutes were up.
"I was overjoyed," he said.
Still, Clayton maintains the test shouldn't be a graduation requirement. A CPR or first aid requirement would be more
likely to save a life, he said. In the middle of the ocean, how much good would a back float do?
"I highly doubt 'Jaws' would wait five minutes before gobbling me up."
© Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
<p>I can understand swimming. Ya never know when that might come in handy. People who have a fear of water probably could benefit from it the most, but they should be allowed special consideration or counseling or something.</p>
<p>Lots of social/business networking goes on in golf.</p>
<p>In Asian culture golf is seen as a very important skill in business because usually prospective business partners will socialize over a round of golf. Golf is the preferred sport because it is seen as a very "high class" activity. Because there isnt a lot of land to play golf in countries like China, Japan and S Korea, its more expensive. The US has a pretty different perception of golf because there is a lot of land here so its not as expensive.</p>
<p>Both of my kiddos have or will graduate from schools that require that good ole swim test - weird!</p>
<p>Bryn Mawr still requires the swim test, too.</p>
<p>H and I both had to pass swim tests to grad. from our state u's in the 80's.</p>
<p>Got a big laugh this week while reading H's Alumni magazine. There was a story about the abolishment of the swim test and told how from early 40's until the early 60's all swimming in the indoor pool was done in the nude! It was believed that dyes from swimsuit fabrics would ruin the filtration system. </p>
<p>Told my soph. S who attends same Univ. and he said "awesome, was it coed?"</p>
<p>It's a land grant univ. that was all male until the mid to late 60's.</p>
<p>My law firm had golf lessons for everyone who was interested & we enjoyed it while it lasted. They even bought me a set of golf clubs when we won a great case. Stopped golfing when we traded golf shoes in for baby stroller & tuitions.</p>
<p>My D had to pass a swim test this year when she entered school. Of course it was nothing compared to the swim tests at West Point which her dad had to pass.:)</p>
<p>I think swimming is a very important skill-both my kids had weekly swimming in grade school as part of the curriculum and D2 is currently on swim team as preparation for her trip to the Great Barrier Reef.
( she is also thinking of taking lifeguard training- sometimes peer influence can be positive!)
I was brought up to be terrified of the water because my parents were- however I do know how to swim although not a strong swimmer- but once swim team is over for the season- D is going to help me work on that :)</p>
<p>We had our kids learn to swim at their earliest opportunity--both were very comfortable in the water & swimming well enough to get to the side of any pool by the time they were 4 years old (living on an island with LOTS of swimming pools makes it particularly important).
My D's canoe paddling club makes each paddler pass a swim test or they can't paddle. It includes swimming several hundred yards & treadding water for an extended period (canoes do capsize). We know of at least one other canoe club that doesn't require all paddlers to know how to swim & allows the non-swimmers to just wear life vests.
I tried passing a lifeguard test but was unable to do so. That was good info for me, knowing I should not endanger myself trying to rescue others but try to get them something to help rescue them -- throwing out a buoy, towel or plank rather than risk me & them drowning. Similarly, my kids are not strong enough swimmers to rescue anyone but also have learned how to help rescue people with other props.
It's really important for folks to know how to help safely. Unfortunately, we are not all as strong swimmers as we'd like to be.</p>