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July 2, 2018 at 8:29 am #121625
We had a lively discussion the other day about the resting/elementary backstroke required for the swim test and merit badge and how it applied to white water survival skills. The only backstroke we are required to teach scouts is the resting/elementary backstroke. Rather than get into an argument as to whether they are the same or not, let’s stipulate that both require that the swimmer’s arms not break the surface of the water. That’s what made the discussion lively, as we teach the scouts to get their toes and noses out of the water when they capsize so they don’t get anything caught in crevices beneath the water. As you can imagine, you can’t move very quickly using the strokes we taught them so the question came up as to why we don’t require teaching of the racing/power backstroke. This led to a the supposition that since we are already teaching them to float on their backs, the resting/elementary backstroke was redundant and that we should instead be teaching the racing/power backstroke. Thoughts?
July 8, 2018 at 3:13 pm #123788
The swim test is designed to ensure safe safe swim defense. Another aspect of safe swim defense is setting up your aquatics area in flatwater so that at worst, in areas with moving water “Participants should be able to easily regain and maintain their footing in currents or waves. Areas with large waves, swiftly flowing currents, or moderate currents that flow toward the open sea or into areas of danger should be avoided.”
In other words, the First Class swim test is not designed to assure boys are prepared for whitewater. But rather to prepare them to get out of trouble when they are swimming in a large group setting like a pool, lake, or lazy bend in a river.
Swimming MB, on the other hand, does require a scout to swim the back crawl for 150 yards “with good form in a strong manner.” You may want to require your boys to earn swimming MB, or at least master that stroke before taking them rafting!
July 8, 2018 at 3:13 pm #123599
A lot of Scouting aquatic events are done in “open water” like canoes, non-river kayaking, row boats, canoe “gunnel races”, swimming, Mile Swim, etc.
Elementary Backstroke and “resting back stroke” are identical; not to be confused with the “back crawl”. Clearly, if you are doing white water activities, along with teaching how to maneuver the raft/kayak, ADDITIONAL training is appropriate, such as how to navigate rushing water when you’re outside of the boat. So in your (limited) example, you have a point, but for 99% of other Scout aquatics, resting back stroke is one of the right strokes to be teaching.