Swimming Game – President’s Day Trivia

Category: Group Activity

Core Skill: General Swimming / Quiz

Name: President’s Day Trivia

This game is actually a trivia portion with a bunch of little mini-games inside of it associated with each President.

Holidays are a good excuse to do something different or new.  I remember inventing the baseball swim game for our swim group during the american World Series when the Cubs were playing. For President’s Day, we had swim practice but cancelled our swim lessons. Generally when there is no school we cancel swim lessons to match the holiday or the day off. Swim team does not take any breaks 🙁 and we’re swimming generally regardless of the holiday except for the major ones. Even then we may swim at a different time or offer an alternative.

This game is more about a group quiz and answer where the swimming and games were tied to a particular president and what they were “famous” for. It was less about the actual swimming, but more a fun activity around the holiday event to engage the swimmers in a different and interesting way.

If you follow our Developmental Swim Practices, you know that we have a lot of repetition; and that is a good thing!

President’s Day Trivia is a way to still get some yards in, but do it in a fun exciting way. You can adjust the swimming after the trivia portion to be appropriate for your group. The pictures and descriptions that I’ll put here are for our Developmental 2 group where they are learning Free flip turns, backstroke turns, how to swim breaststroke and fly.


This game will work for any swim team group. Generally it will be better for small to medium groups where more people get to answer the questions. We played this game with both our developmental groups to success. I would not play this with swim lessons.


This game does not work on any specific skill. You can add specific activities / games for each president that focus on team building, body awareness, or just “fun.”

After each question about the president there was a swimming component that was more about endurance and aerobic conditioning than it was about technique or deliberate skill practice.


Do some research before practice. I used wikipedia to look up the first six presidents of the USA and looked for one thing they were “famous” for, then looked up the five most recent presidents and looked for something they were “famous” for.


Have everyone get out of the water, and ask the group the president question. Have as many people that want to guess the answer. Get at least 3-5 answers from different people. Then tell them the correct answer and do the game/activity based around that president’s famous thing.


I wrote down the following in my Trello board notes:

  1. George Washington. Crossing the Delaware.
    1. Game: “Cross the Delaware with your lane. Have your lane mates hold you up, and carry you like George Washington to the flags from the wall. Everyone gets one turn as G.W.
  2. John Adams. Build up the Navy, or create a lot of wooden boats.
    1. Game: Cannonball Collection. One person in the lane is the “Cannoneer”  who collects all the cannon balls. The rest of the lane are the cannon balls and must all float in a tiny ball while the Cannoneer collects them into a pile against the side of the pool. This must be done in time with the cannonball’s breaths so timed well. The cannoneer has 10 seconds to pile them all together or the British Win, and the American’s aren’t stockpiled and ready.
  3. Thomas Jefferson. Buy Louisiana.
    1. Game: “Explore the Louisiana Purchase.” Swim 1 length of something in every lane in the pool.
  4. James Madison. Give Power to the Federal Government.
    1. Game: “Federal System:” Elect one person in each lane and those people then decide the next activity. Coach is the tie breaker.
  5. James Monroe. Monroe Doctrine.
    1. Game: Fend off the Europeans.No Europeans in North or South Americas.Make Two people in your lane “European Powers,” they start in the deep end. Everyone else in your lane is “an American (north or south). Kickboard battle the europeans back to their end of the lane after they get to 1/2 way.

      Kickboard war: put against other person’t kickboard and kick them backwards.

See all these items each week on Trello! https://gum.co/practices

Day 2: Modern Day presidents.

I refined the process of the game the second day we played. It was so fun, and there were a few people at practice because our local schools had a second day off for teacher institute we did the game again.

Look at the picture. I wrote in Red pen the description and the game, swimmers had to guess what the president was.

Everyone got out of the water. I asked them the Question, took answers from the group. Then wrote down the answer in black pen. Swimmers then did the activity / game based on what that president was famous for.

Donald Trump

Famous for wanting to build a wall and make someone else pay for it.

Question: This president is famous for wanting to build a wall, but having someone else pay for it.


Build a wall across your lane with your bodies, and then try to convince another lane to pay for it using words.

*Trump is a polarizing figure, and I did my best to remain objective not commenting on him one way or the other. Of note, every single person at practice booed when they answered his name. I found that interesting that 5-12 year old, unprompted universally booed at his mention. *

Barack Obama

Question: What president is famous for getting the Affordable Care Act passed, but called it by his own name?


Swim an excellent 50 BR or BK then tell a coach what it is called using your own name in the name. For example, Jeff’s Smooth Glide (breaststroke).

George Bush

Question: This president invaded two countries and started two wars, one of which is ongoing.


Swim a 50 FR and/or a 50 BK super slow like you are in the “Great Recession.”

Bill Clinton

Question: This president passed a trade deal with Mexico and Canada and the USA called NAFTA, or the North American Free Trade Agreement.


Make a deal with another lane. Each lane come up with a 25 to swim, then combine them and do it.

Lane 1 bargains for 25 free, lane 2 wants a 25 fly. Both lanes swim 25 FR and 25 fly as a 50.

I did my best to remain objective and not inject my own personal thoughts and political affiliation during the practice. The goal was to use near obvious examples so the kids could quickly know which presidents we were referencing.

Have you played this game? Let me know. Comment below or connect on twitter or instagram.

Better swimming.
Download FREE tools.

Download a free preview of our Premium Lesson Plans & unique SwimSheets.

Stay on our newsletter to enjoy more benefits like further free downloads, guides, and tools to make your swimming program better, easier, and more FUN!

Related Articles

Swim Lesson Templates and Plans: Learn How and When to use them and Create your own

Think of a lesson plan for swimming as the roadmap for your instructors to follow. Lesson plans are the guideposts along the path to a successful swim lesson. They help with the class’s flow and skill transitions. With a well written lesson plan you’ll naturally flow from one swimming skill into the next. You’ll gracefully move from underwater activities to glides to arm strokes


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.