To prevent drownings and to help students learn a healthy activity, swimming should be a graduation requirement.
Currently, there are a few New England colleges that require a swim test for all graduating seniors. At these schools, if a student does not pass a swimming test or cannot swim, he takes a beginner swim class in order to learn the skills necessary to pass the test. This school should implement a similar system.
The implementation would be fairly simple because this school already administers a swim test in Freshman Core Physical Education. However, after the test, students are not taught methods to prevent themselves from drowning.
Instead of allowing students to float through high school not knowing how to swim, the physical education/health and wellness department should make students take a mandatory swimming class to learn the basics of swimming and staying safe in the water. The class should culminate in a swimming test, much like the ones offered at Dartmouth and Harvard.
Students could also learn to swim on their own, and take the test after school. Many students know how to swim already, so only a few sections of swim would have to be added.
However, there are some negatives to a mandatory swimming requirement. Pool time might be crunched as extra sections of swim are added to the curriculum. Also, additional physical education/health and wellness teachers who can teach swimming may need to be hired.
But, almost 4,000 people die from unintentional drowning every year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Taking formal swimming lessons reduces the rate of drowning by 88 percent. Resources should be spent on teaching students to swim because knowing how to swim can prevent drownings.
Even if a student claims that he will never go into water in his life, he should still learn how to swim. Unintentionally, the person could fall into the water off of a boat, and he will need to know how to float to survive.
Additionally, swimming is beneficial mentally and physically. According to Bucknell University, swimming teaches patience, releases stress and helps develop a positive attitude.
Swimming is also healthier than running and other forms of exercise because the bones in the body do not hit the ground, and water offers more resistance than air.
Making swimming a graduation requirement would ensure students know how to swim by the time they are adults. Knowing how to swim could potentially save lives. Although taking a swim class might be tedious, if only one student’s life is saved, it is worth it.