Swimming Badge

(Discover Health & Fitness)

By Kerry Cordy


This badge should be earned under the supervision of an adult trained in this subject. Use common sense when completing  requirements.

Penguin: Do 3 requirements including the 2 starred

_____ 1.* Learn the basic water safety rules listed in Otter #1.

_____ 2. * Demonstrate that you know how to float and doggie paddle.


Otter: Do 4 requirements including the 3 starred

1.*Know how to select and wear a PFD (personal flotation device). When should you wear one? What are the laws in your state regarding PFDs and children? Know basic water safety rules.
A. The best way to stay safe in the water is to learn to swim.

B. Know what the depth markers mean in large or public pools.

C. Test the water temperature before you plunge in. Cold water can shock your body and make your blood pressure and heart rate go up. You might accidentally open your mouth to yell and accidentally breathe in some water. Cold water can also slow your muscles, making it hard to swim.

D. Pool gates are there to protect you. Never go through a pool gate unless an adult is with you.

E. Always obey all pool rules.

F. Always walk in a pool area, do not run.

G. Never swim without a buddy

H. Never dive into shallow or murky water

I. Never dive into water with submerged obstacles such as rocks or trees.

J. Never swim without an adult present

K. Swim at a depth that is safe for you. If you're just learning to swim, stay in the shallow end.

L. If you swim in a pond, lake, or river the fish swimming around won't hurt you. They may hide jagged rocks, broken bottles, or trash however. Wear something to protect your feet. Also, watch out for mud, weeds and grass, which can trap even a good swimmer. If you panic and try to yank yourself free, you may get even more tangled. Instead, shake and pull your arms and legs slowly to work yourself loose or call for an adult's help.

M. Don't chew gum or eat while you swim — you could choke

N. Stop swimming or boating as soon as you see or hear a storm. Remember, lightning is electricity — electricity and water are a dangerous combination.

O. If you find yourself in trouble and someone comes to rescue you in deep water, remain calm and do not grab a hold of your rescuer. If you interfere with your rescuer you can both drown. Stay calm and let them “tow” you to safety.

_____ 2.* Demonstrate that you can swim at least 10 feet using at least one swimming stroke (Doggie Paddle, Freestyle or crawl, Backstroke, Breast Stroke, Side Stroke).  Tread water or float on your back for 1 minute


Dolphin: Do 5 requirements including the 2 starred

_____ 1.* Do Otter requirement #1 and #2 , but be able to swim at least 50 feet using at least 2 different strokes.

_____ 2.* Demonstrate non-swimming water rescue methods by reaching your arm or leg, by reaching with a suitable object, and by throwing lines and objects. Explain why swimming rescues should not be attempted when a reaching or throwing rescue is possible, and explain why and how a rescue swimmer should avoid contact with the victim.


Butterfly: Do 6 requirements including the 2 starred

_____ 1.*Do Dolphin requirement #1 and #2, but be able to swim at least 100 feet using at least 3 different strokes. If a direct contact rescue is necessary, demonstrate the proper way to “tow” your victim using the hair or under the chin, so that you maintain as little contact as possible.

_____ 2.* Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while swimming, including hypothermia, dehydration, heat reactions, muscle cramps, stings and bites, cuts and scrapes, spinal injuries, and hyperventilation.


Eagle: Do 7 requirements including the 2 starred

_____ 1.* Do Buttefly requirements #1 and #2

_____ 2.* Demonstrate survival skills by jumping into deep water wearing clothes (shoes, socks, bathing suit, long pants, and long-sleeved shirt). Show that you can remove your shoes and socks. Then remove and inflate your pants, and show that you can float using the pants for support. Swim for 5 minutes using your pants for support and demonstrate how to re-inflate your pants while using them for support.

To float using pants, first tie the legs together (leaving an opening for your head) and button and zip the waistband.  Then use of of the following two methods to inflate your pants.

Splash Method
Hold the waistband open underwater with one hand. While treading water, splash water and air toward the waistband opening with a downward motion of the hand. Stop the stroke at the opening. Forcing a current of water and air bubbles into the trousers straightens the pant legs. The water passes through leaving air trapped at the ends. Gather and hold the waistband together. Slip your head between the trouser legs, and place the knot behind your neck. Lie back and float.

Sling Method
Hold the waistband open with both hands behind your head. Then sling the trousers over your head, scooping in the air that is trapped when the open end of the trousers (the waistband) hits the water. Now position yourself between the pant legs and stay afloat.


Owl: Do 9 requirements including the 2 starred.

_____ 1. * Do Eagle requirements 1 & 2

_____ 2. * Teach someone how to do a skill from this badge or teach some knowledge about this badge to someone.   You can teach kids, your spouse, seniors, anyone, just as long as you are sharing your new found knowledge.   If for some reason you cannot teach what you have learned to someone else, you may choose an additional 2 optional requirements instead.


Optional Requirements:

_____ 3. How do animals and insects move through the water? Watch how they use their legs, fins, tails and bodies to propel through the water. Try to imitate the animal actions in a game or while playing with your friends.

_____ 4. If you are swimming at a beach, make sure you know what the ocean conditions are. Some beaches post colored flags, others may have a chalkboard or other method of communicating dangerous conditions. Know what rip currents and undertows are. If you are ever caught in an ocean current, swim parallel to shore (alongside the shore) rather than to the shore until the water stops pulling you, then swim back to shore. If you can't get back to the beach, tread water and wave for a lifeguard's help. You probably won't see any sharks where you are swimming, but you might run into some jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-wars. If you get stung, tell an adult immediately. If you know you swim in an area with jellyfish, keep vinegar on hand to treat any jellyfish stings. Serious stings should always be seen by a doctor. Swim underwater to retrieve something from a depth of at least 4 feet. Dolphins 5 ft, Butterflies 6ft, Eagles 8ft, and Owls 9ft.

_____ 5. Learn to snorkel. Learn how to choose a mask that fits your face and how to keep it from fogging. Learn to breathe with a snorkel and how to clear both your mask and snorkel

_____ 6. Demonstrate the safe way to get in and out of a canoe or rowboat.

_____ 7. Demonstrate survival floating for 3 minutes. Butterflies and up demonstrate for 5 minutes.

_____ 8. Demonstrate the HELP and huddle positions while wearing a properly fitted PFD. What is the purpose of these positions? Explain why swimming or survival floating will hasten the onset of hypothermia in cold water.

_____ 9. Play water games with younger children that will help teach them water safety or basic swimming skills.

_____ 10. Demonstrate how to recover yourself if you fall into the water fully clothed. Stay near the boat, dock, or edge of pool and remain afloat for five minutes.

_____ 11. Demonstrate survival skills by jumping into deep water wearing clothes (shoes, socks, bathing suit, long pants, and long-sleeved shirt). Show that you can remove your shoes and socks. Then remove and inflate your pants, and show that you can float using the pants for support. Swim for 5 minutes using your pants for support and demonstrate how to re-inflate your pants while using them for support (Penguins - Butterflies only)

_____ 12. In deep water, do a head first dive from a dock or pool deck, and from a low diving board.

_____ 13. Take a certified water rescue course through the Red Cross or similar organization.

_____ 14. Discuss how swimming is used for both fitness and therapy. What are the health benefits verses those of other exercises. Write a swimming exercise plan that promotes aerobic fitness, strength and muscle tone, body flexibility, and weight control for someone your age. What resources are there in your community that could be used for your program.

_____ 15. Research a specific swimming activity. Ideas may include competitive swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, free diving, synchronized swimming, or distance swimming.

_____ 16. Learn a synchronized swimming routine.