Swimming Game – Christmas Presents


Christmas Presents

Core Skill

This game is designed to reinforce the basic skills of swimming, such as streamlining, breathing, kicking, and stroke technique.


This game is suitable for developmental swim team swimmers who are at least level 4, meaning they can swim 25 yards of freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly, and perform flip turns and open turns.


The coach should have a red sac filled with cheap gifts or candy that is “Santa’s Sack” full of presents for people on the Nice list. The coach should also prepare a list of simple swimming challenges that the swimmers need to complete, such as:

  • A 25 freestyle with a perfect streamline
  • A 50 backstroke with streamlines that are underwater to the flags and a legal finish
  • A 25 breaststroke with a two-hand touch and a legal pullout
  • A 25 butterfly with a legal kick and no breathing
  • A 100 IM with legal turns and finishes
  • A 50 kick of any stroke with a board
  • A 25 underwater dolphin kick with fins
  • A 50 drill of any stroke with proper technique
  • A 25 sprint of any stroke with a dive start
  • A 50 choice of any stroke with no breathing
  • Do a handstand with legs together for 2 seconds that turns into a flip, ending with feet on the ground standing in streamline without touching anything else.
  • Pushing off the wall in airplane position and getting past the flags without kicking or touching the ground.
  • Doing a streamline underwater to the flags and doing 2 fly kicks on each side of the body without touching the surface.
  • Swimming to 1/2 way in under 5 seconds.

For each challenge, the coach should explain the criteria and demonstrate the skill if needed. The swimmers should attempt the challenge one by one or in small groups, depending on the pool space and the number of participants. The coach should observe and evaluate each swimmer’s performance and give feedback. For each challenge the swimmers complete successfully, they get to blindly take something out of Santa’s Sack. The swimmers should not open their presents until the end of the game.


The coach should decide the order and the number of challenges for the game, depending on the time limit and the skill level of the swimmers. The coach should also decide how many attempts the swimmers get for each challenge, and whether they can retry a failed challenge later. The coach should keep track of the swimmers’ progress and the remaining presents in the sack. The coach should encourage the swimmers to cheer for each other and have fun.

Difficulties the coach might face

Some possible difficulties the coach might face are:

  • The swimmers might not understand the instructions or the criteria for the challenges, and need more clarification or demonstration.
  • The swimmers might get frustrated or discouraged if they fail a challenge, and need more encouragement or guidance.
  • The swimmers might get bored or distracted if they have to wait too long for their turn, and need more engagement or variety.
  • The swimmers might argue or complain if they think the coach’s evaluation is unfair or inconsistent, and need more explanation or justification.
  • The swimmers might not like their presents or want to trade with others, and need more appreciation or respect.

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