Swimming Game – Swimming Musical Chairs

Category: Group Challenge, Race

Core Skill: speed, stroke work chosen by instructor

Name: Swimming Musical Chairs

It isn’t really musical chairs, and there isn’t any music unless you want there to be. I use that name because it conveys the general rules of the game very well.

Get a group of participants. Generally, between 4-8 people.

  1. Have them all start on the wall or in one central starting location.
  2. Get 1 less the number of participants of either float toys or sinking toys, but not both.
  3. Throw all the toys =(A – 1), where “A” = the # of participants you have. So throw all the toys a set distance away.
  4. When instructor says, “GO” the participants swim the directed stroke to the toy and return. Those that have a toy stay in the game, the one person does not is out until there is a single winner.
  5. Repeat game, always removing 1 participant and 1 toy each round until there is only 1 person left, who is the winner.

Example: 8 participants. Then have 7 toys.  Round 2: 7 participants, with 6 toys. Round 3: 6 participants with 5 toys.



Who: Participants that can swim, or if you have shallow enough water, swimmers that can pick themselves up if they fall in waist deep.

What: Choose a skill to work on. During the game the instructor can say, “Any way you want” or give clear instructions on HOW the swimmers will get the toys. For example, say: “This round you must swim FREESTYLE, if you do anything else, you’ll automatically be disqualified.”

How: This is an implicit learning game where swimmers will have to do different things to make themselves move faster. Their goal is to get the toy before anyone else. Let them think about benefits of streamline, long arms,  short strokes, etc.

Concise directions:

  • 5 players, 4 balls.
  • When I throw the ball, wait for me to say “GO.”
  • When I say “GO,” do any swim you want to the balls and pick one up.
  • Everyone that gets a ball moves to the next round, the person that doesn’t sits out until the next game.



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Have you played a game like this before? If so what rules or variations do you use?

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