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swim test. check. - Alierak
September 23rd, 2004
10:53 am

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swim test. check.
MIT requires you to either pass a swim test or take a swim class to graduate. I hadn't done either, and I didn't really want to be taking a swim class in the colder half of the term. I'd always thought of myself as a non-swimmer. I've still not really learned how to deal with my head being underwater, so I was not optimistic about the swim test.

I went and did it anyway though. I swam around in the shallow pool for a while beforehand to see if I could maybe try to breathe and swim with my face in the water, but it wasn't working. I decided to give up on that and just take the swim test anyway.

So, you jump in feet first in 10' of water (I'd never done that before, nobody told me the impact would rip my hand away from my nose...) and then swim four 25-meter lengths without stopping or hanging on the lane ropes. Only the last 25m can be backstroke, and boy was I glad when I got to that one. I'd just done something like 75m of front crawl with my head up, which I'm told is fairly inefficient.

My legs really paid for it, and I was breathing really hard, but I got it done. I went outside and barfed afterwards, then biked home. Slowly. Bleh. Cross that off the list of stupid-ass things that could keep me from graduating.

Current Mood: relievedrelieved
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From:coderlemming
Date:September 23rd, 2004 10:00 am (UTC)
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Jeez. On paper that degree requirement seems like a good idea, but there are definitely people who are innately fearful of water and unable to deal with it. I don't think a class would cure them of that. So the people who can swim like fish pass the test with ease, the ones who are deathly afraid of water have to swim for an entire term and pass some tough final exam, and those who can fake it puke their guts out afterwards. Yeah, bad idea :P
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From:janinedog
Date:September 23rd, 2004 10:23 am (UTC)
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I know Cornell has the swim test requirement as well. But, I think it makes more sense to have it there than at MIT, because Cornell has a lot of gorges, and people sometimes fall in. :P
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From:kareila
Date:September 23rd, 2004 10:40 am (UTC)
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Well, MIT has this big river in its front yard...
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From:janinedog
Date:September 23rd, 2004 10:47 am (UTC)
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Heh, didn't know that. Do people fall in? :P
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From:kareila
Date:September 23rd, 2004 10:50 am (UTC)
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Generally not unless they sign up for sailing or crewing, or unless they're stupid enough to try to walk across the ice when it freezes over in the winter...
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From:alierak
Date:September 23rd, 2004 12:44 pm (UTC)
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For sailing/crew you have to do the normal swim test plus tread water for 10 minutes afterwards. No thanks.

If you do fall into ice-covered water, I doubt the ability to stick your face in it is going to be of much use.
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From:dawnstar
Date:September 23rd, 2004 03:33 pm (UTC)
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Sweetie, if you fall in one of the gorges at Cornell, being able to swim is not going to save you. ;)
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From:janinedog
Date:September 23rd, 2004 03:45 pm (UTC)
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Haha very true. ;)
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From:kareila
Date:September 23rd, 2004 10:48 am (UTC)
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Having wimped out and taken the class, I can tell you there is no "tough final exam" - and they run 2 P.E. courses per term, so it's only 6 weeks really. At no point did we have to do a distance swim, we just practiced the different strokes and stuff. Maybe they've changed it since I did it ten years ago, but I thought the class was pretty easy even for aquaphobes - just a time sink. Robby still has to deal with the time sink factor, but at least he can try to do something else he enjoys more, like tennis, instead.
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From:yakshaver
Date:September 23rd, 2004 02:26 pm (UTC)
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Well, congratulations on getting one more graduation requirement out of the way. Sorry about the puking.
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