Swimming Game – Bench Crossing


Bench Crossing

Core Skill

Independent front glides


Level 2 swimmers who can float and glide on their front with minimal support


The swimmer must cross a short gap between two benches in different ways


  • Set up two benches parallel to each other, about 1 foot or 3 feet apart, depending on the skill level of the swimmer.
  • Have the swimmer stand on one bench and face the other bench.
  • Explain that the swimmer must cross the gap between the benches in three different ways: “on a log”, “on a boat”, and “all alone”.
  • For “on a log”, give the swimmer a kickboard or a barbell and have them hold it in front of their chest. Tell them to push off the bench and glide to the other bench while holding the floatation device. Help them if needed.
  • For “on a boat”, give the swimmer a lifejacket and have them put it on. Tell them to push off the bench and glide to the other bench while wearing the lifejacket. Help them if needed.
  • For “all alone”, have the swimmer remove the lifejacket and any other floatation device. Tell them to push off the bench and glide to the other bench without any assistance. Help them if needed, but encourage them to try it by themselves.
  • Repeat the game until the swimmer can cross the gap in all three ways confidently and independently.


Some possible challenges that a swim instructor might face are:

  • The swimmer might be afraid of falling into the water or not reaching the other bench.
  • The swimmer might not be able to maintain a streamlined position or keep their face in the water while gliding.
  • The swimmer might not be able to push off strongly enough or glide far enough to cross the gap.
  • The swimmer might prefer one way of crossing over the others and refuse to try different ways.

Some possible solutions that a swim instructor might use are:

  • Use positive reinforcement and praise the swimmer for their efforts and achievements.
  • Demonstrate each way of crossing and explain the benefits of each one.
  • Adjust the distance between the benches according to the skill level of the swimmer.
  • Provide feedback and correction on the swimmer’s body position, head position, and push-off technique.
  • Make the game more fun and challenging by adding variations, such as crossing backwards, sideways, or with different strokes.

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