Swimming Game – Baseball World Series

Category: Group Activity / Personal Challenge

Core Skill: Swimming Knowledge

Name: Swimming Baseball

Were you caught up in baseball world series fervor? The Cubs finally won the series for the first time in 108 years, and in honor of their last game, we played “Baseball” at swim practice. It was AWESOME! The kids had a blast, and were actually nervous and excited when getting asked the questions. Let me tell you a short story about where this game comes from, then we’ll get into the nitty gritty of how you should play.

When I was in sixth grade, my social studies teacher was awesome. I remember so much about that class, it just stands out. Two leap to the front: the motto, and Baseball geography. The motto was, “You must believe to achieve,” and maybe we’ll talk about that at some point, but Baseball geography was awesome. Everyone got a chance to play, and the game worked by each person going up to “bat” and being asked a geography question. You got a choice of keeping your right answer or going for the next one, single, double, triple, home run. Most people failed on the double or triples, and together if you scored a run the class would get a reward of some kind. Get three outs, and the game is over until the next day. The teacher kept track of the home run’s as they were extremely tough questions, and had a poster on the back wall as the “hall of fame.” The average on the hall of fame was 3 home runs in a year.

By the end of my sixth grade I had 5 home runs, and placed second in the all time hall of fame. Glory!

We played this game, but for swimming, and it brought back all the remembered excitement, anxiety, nervousness, and wonder I remember from that game in sixth grade. Ahh, the indecision, the importance of choices, and the celebrations sang to my ears; this game is awesome.


This game is for swim team. Play with any group above your first introductory one. It requires some intimate knowledge of swimming, and specifically swimming competitively. Your group should have an understanding of simple distance swimming, following directions, setting up the lane, and general information about swimming.


Baseball tests swimmer’s knowledge of swimming. We can cover all topics, and you can tailor your questions to the individual.


Split your group into 2 teams of equal size. Number each team starting at 1. That is their batting order. Write on the board (chalk, white, etc) a baseball diamond, and the names of each team on either side. Create a 6 box rectangle under each name. You will record outs, runs, and innings here. Play 3 innings or more if you have the time.

Write on another chalk, white, board the rules of the game:

  • Out = 50 Free kick  or for beginners 25 Free swim fast
  • Single = 75 Back / Breast / Free x 25, or for beginners 50 BK kick
  • Double = 50 CH swim, or for beginners, 25 CH Kick
  • Triple = 25 dive off block and swim fast, or for beginners 25 CH swim
  • Home Run! = 25 CH anything (walk, swim, spin in circles, just move for 25 yards), or for beginners 5 front flips and 1 hand stand.

We go in batting order, so 1 is first, then 2, then 3. Each batter gets a question. The first question to get a single is fairly easy. I’ll list a whole bunch of questions with tiers to give you a good guidepost.

If the batter gets a question right, they move on to the next tier.

  • Answer the first question right? They get a single.
    • Choice: Go for the double (another question) or keep the single, and the team swims the “single” activity. Here, a 75, or for beginners a 50.
  • Answer the second question right? They get a double.
    • Choice: Go for the Triple (another, harder question) or keep the double, and the team swims the “double” activity.
  • Answer the third question right? They get a Triple.
    • Choice: Go for the Home Run (a fourth, hardest question) or keep the triple, and the team swims the “triple” activity.
  • Answer the fourth question right? They get a Home Run!
    • Team swims the Home Run activity, and they celebrate!

If a swimmer is “out” then the whole team (or group, whichever team the batter is on) does the required distance associated with it. So if a swimmer gets the question wrong, the batter is “out” and their team does a 50 free kick as a group, or if they’re beginners a 25 free swim. Then the next batter is up.

Track “outs” and hits. If a swimmer gets the first question right, they get a single, and if they choose to keep the single, and not go for the double, then place a mark distinct for that team on 1st base. So if you have a person on 1st base, and the next swimmer get’s a double, then move the bases indicator to 3rd and 2nd bases. The “double” has pushed the batter from 1st base all the way to 3rd. Assume all base runners are ghost runners and can only be pushed by hits. So in this scenario where there is a man on 2nd and 3rd, if someone gets a single, then the bases would be loaded.

If a team get’s 3 outs, clear the bases, and continue the batting order.

The team that gets the most runs in three innings wins.

Swimming Baseball on chalkboard and whiteboard.
Swimming Baseball on chalkboard and whiteboard.

Questions to ask:

Single Questions:

  • How far should you streamline
    • To the flags
  • How many yards is it from here to there
    • Most pools: 25 yards
  • What do you do 1st whenever you push off wall?
    • Streamline
  • What are the three things you should do for streamline?
    • Lock thumb, squeeze ears, look down
  • What do you call the turn for freestyle?
    • Flip Turn
  • What do you call the turn for breaststroke and fly?
    • Open Turn
  • What should your breathing patter be for freestyle at practice?
    • Every three

Double Questions, slightly harder than singles

  • In freestyle what stroke are you never allowed to breathe on?
    • First
  • When do you flip when you roll over on a backstroke flip turn
    • Immediately, no gliding, no pause
  • Where do you touch the wall when you finish a race?
    • Underwater on the wall. Not on the gutter, or lip/edge
  • How many yards is it from the walls to the flags?
    • 5 yards
  • How many yards is it from the wall to the “T” mark?
    • 2 yards
  • How many yards is it from the “T” mark to the flags?
    • 3 yards
  • Which strokes do you breathe on in breaststroke?
    • Every stroke.

Triple Questions, even harder

  • In breaststroke will the arms be moving when the legs are moving? If yes, when?
    • At the start of the reach, or shoot, the kick initiates
  • In fly, when the hands are above your head, forward, reaching in the water, what is the butt doing?
    • Going up
  • When do you breath in fly? Demonstrate.
    • At the beginning of the pull, when the hands travel underwater.
  • Describe and show the underwater breaststroke pullout.
    • Streamline
    • Pull down
    • Wait, 1 one-thousand, 2 one-thousand
    • Sneak up
    • When hands at chin, breaststroke kick back into streamline.
  • In a 50 free what is an elite breathing pattern by 25?
    • 1 breath on 1st 25
    • 2 breaths on 2nd 25
  • What degree should the hips be to the surface of the water when rotating for free and backstroke?
    • 45 degrees.
  • When doing HLBw/R (head lead balance with rotation) what degree should the hips be to the surface on the rotation?
    • 90 degrees.
  • What is front quadrant swimming? Demonstrate
    • Early catch, forearm down at the beginning of the pull, and emphasizing power at the top of the stroke, not the end, or exit.

Home Run! questions, the most difficult.

  • What is an ideal hand path for the backstroke arm pull?
    • Mostly flat and straight starting above the head, and rotating the hips with the elbow slightly bent. At the hips, a slight dip and then up over the water. See picture:bstrk-bodyposition
  • How many meters are in 1 yard?
    • .88
  • What is the farthest you can streamline kick underwater on backstroke?
    • Second yellow, 15 yards.
  • What is the term for putting your forearm down first on freestyle, and then pulling with your hips rotating?
    • Anchoring
  • Describe the best type of breaststroke kick.
    • Feet flexed, fast heels to initiate the kick, and then a quick, powerful snapping kick, immediately moving fast into the recovery (fast heels up).
  • What are the three components of all swimming strokes you should focus on?
    • Posture
    • Line
    • Balance
  • Show me exactly where you should be at each stage of the underwater breaststroke pull out (location in the lane when you do each step, how far streamline? how far the arm pull gets you, etc).
  • Does it matter exactly what the hands do on the underwater portion of fly?
    • No. As long as they generally pull down to the hips, and start in position 11, the actual path they travel has little to no bearing on their power/strength.

Did you play swimming baseball with your team? I would love to hear how it went!

Comment below, connect on twitter @swimmingideas, or send an email, jeff@swimmingideas.com

UPDATE 2/25/2019

We played this game again a few times in the last few weeks and had a better refinement.

Challenges the swim coach might face:

  • The instructor might have difficulty coming up with questions that are appropriate for the level and age of the swimmers. The questions should be challenging but not too hard or too easy, and they should cover topics that the swimmers have learned or are learning.
  • The instructor might have trouble keeping track of the score, the outs, the hits, and the bases¹[1]. The instructor might need to use a board or a paper to record the game progress and update it frequently. The instructor might also need to explain the rules clearly and remind the swimmers of them often.
  • The instructor might have to deal with swimmers who are not interested in baseball or who do not know much about it. The instructor might need to make the game more engaging and fun by using different themes, rewards, or variations. The instructor might also need to teach some basic baseball terms and concepts to the swimmers before playing the game.
  • The instructor might have to balance the time and energy spent on the game and on the actual swimming skills. The instructor might need to limit the number of innings, questions, or activities to avoid making the game too long or too exhausting. The instructor might also need to make sure that the activities are relevant and beneficial for improving the swimmers’ technique, endurance, or speed.

Better swimming.
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