RVA Swim Test


Children under 12 must be accompanied and supervised by an adult at all times while at the pool. When lifeguards are on duty children 9 to 11 may use the facilities without adult accompaniment provided they have passed the RVA swim test.  

Swim tests are administered by lifeguards upon request.

Upon completion of the swim test, parents will be required to fill out an Emergency Contact and Permission to Treat form. We recommend children between ages 11 and 18 also have this form on file in case of emergency. Click here for the sample Permission to Treat form.

The test was adopted from Red Cross recommendations. The components of the test are as follows:

  • Swim 4 widths of the pool without stopping, touching the bottom or hanging on the wall / one width should be done on the back in either backstroke, or elementary backstroke or some variation. The child should swim on their back towards the guard who is watching so that they can be stopped before they hit the wall;
  • Go into the deep end and tread water for 2 minutes, keeping head above the water at all times,
  • Go into a back float and show control for 1 minute. Note the child's head and upper chest should remain above the surface, the legs and arms may move minimally to aid in the back float,
  • Turn over, take a breath and go under swimming under water back to the side,
  • Return to a depth that is about 1 foot above their head, and bob across the pool 1 time to demonstrate breath control and the ability to get themselves from deep water to safety if they are too tired to swim.
In addition to the items above, each child will be required to demonstrate their ability to enter their family gate code at the pool entrance.