Swimming Game – Challenge Day

Take a break from your regular instruction and assign points to each challenge completion. This game is great for beginners and advanced swimmers as you can dynamically alter the exact challenges to meet the needs of the group you’re working with. My favorite part of this game is how creative you can be based on the swimmers you have with you that day. I’ve found that a mix of serious skills to test and silly skills creates a good balance between fun and challenging.

How to play:

Write on the chalk board or white board a title: “Challenge Day” with an underline. Underneath, write out your list of specific challenges for the swimmers in your group. Go through each challenge as a group and if someone completes the challenge they ear a point. Create specific conditions for success and failure before starting each challenge.


Challenge Day

– 5 front flips in 10 seconds

“Your first challenge is to do 5 front flips in 10 seconds. Wait until I say go, and stop when i say stop. Billy you’re first, and Johnny, you need to count how many flips he does. Are there any questions?  Ok, Ready go.”


As you can see in the example there is a clear goal, a clear criteria for failure (less than 5 flips in 10 seconds) and success (5 complete flips in 5 seconds). We also have a clear indication with the instructions on how it will work, and who will count the participant’s flips. The coach will look at the clock and call out time.


Participants earn 1 point for each challenge they complete. Either write their name next to the challenge, or on a separate space write their names in a list and tally up their points. The winner of Challenge Day is the person at the end that has the most points. Reward them with letting them choose what to do for the last 5 minutes of practice or class. Or give them a reward of your choosing.

Here are some example challenges you can do:


  • 5 flips in 10 seconds
  • 3 back flips in 5 seconds
  • 3 streamlines where you do all 3 things: 1) lock thumbs 2) squeeze ears 3) look down (complete all 3 streamlines to earn 1 point)
  • Flip 1st and do a streamline on your back without breaking the surface until getting to the flags (or other landmark)
  • Streamline + position 11 to 1/2 way doing all 3 things for both: SL:  1) lock thumbs 2) squeeze ears 3) look down  Position 11: 1) Look down 2) Keep your arms straight 3) Stay at the surface
  • Do 2 back flips without using your arms at all.
  • Do 2 front flips without using your arms at all
  • Jump in the water from the side with a splash no higher than coach’s knees (while standing on deck)
  • Jump in water with a splash higher than coach’s shoulders.


  • 1 length of legal breaststroke kick
  • 1 length of legal fly kick
  • 1 length of legal breaststroke swim
  • 1 length of legal fly swim
  • Do a legal open turn from the flags to flags including a streamline with all 3 items.
  • Do a legal backstroke finish starting at the flags
  • Do a legal backstroke flip turn starting at 1/2 way going back to first flags.
  • Streamline with FREE kick at least to the flags underwater doing all 3 things.
  • Flip 1st then streamline on back to flags underwater doing at least 3 fly kicks underwater
  • Successfully do 1 underwater breaststroke pullout legally
  • Get your nose, your belly button and 1 big toe on the bottom of the pool at the same time





Have you played this game? Do you do something similar to it? If so please share with us on Facebook or twitter:

[Tweet “#SLI Challenge day is a great game. I’ve played it too!”]

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