SARASOTA, Fla., April 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A new swim test has been proposed to speed up the end of preventable drowning worldwide. The most widely used test in the United States requires that a student propel him/herself a certain distance demonstrating the ability to perform a formal stroke, and tread water or float for one minute. However, according to Melon Dash of Miracle Swimming School for Adults, the test is for propulsion and technique, not safety. To prove one's safety, one must demonstrate the ability to stay afloat in deep water for at least 10 minutes peacefully. This requires that the student understand his/her natural buoyancy and rules out the non-swimmer tendency toward panic. S/he must be comfortable sustaining buoyancy in deep water.
About 80% of drownings in the U.S. are by adults. Half of adults are afraid in deep water. Panic is the main cause of adult drowning, says Dash. The ability to do strokes in shallow water for 25 yards or across a pool to arrive at the other side does not demonstrate safety.
The test is to stand on the bottom of a pool at least 8 feet deep for 10 seconds peacefully; then rise to the surface and float or play independently for 10 minutes peacefully, at least 10 feet from any support. If someone is unable to stand on the bottom, that person will have demonstrated their positive buoyancy.
The World Health Organization declared drowning as a worldwide epidemic in 2014. Many people passed their swimming test years ago and therefore believe they can swim, even though they can't. Obviously, this is unsafe. "The primary goal of learning to swim is to be safe in water over one's head," says Dash, on the 38th anniversary of her adult swim school's founding, May 1. "Every person needs to know how to rest in deep water to recover from fatigue, and then either continue, or wait for help. Being able to do strokes does not prove that you can rest. The drowning rate would plummet if we had a new approach to learning to swim and testing for safety. Once a person can be still in deep water, he/she has overcome fear and learned to swim: to be safe. Then s/he can learn to swim efficiently—with strokes."
SOURCE Miracle Swimming School for Adults