A for Athlete

SKWIM LifeRing.png


An aquatic game invented in the state of Washington, in the United States (also known as USA) Flag of the United States.svg by Kevin McCarthy, a swim school operator and inventor of the PDF fins

SKWIM disk gets tossed with the smooth side down. Here is a traditional fling with a defender ready to block the pass or shot.


Play SKWIM in Pittsburgh as part of PUMP's Pittsburgh Sports League. See http://pittsburghsportsleague.leagueapps.com/leagues/swimming/195579-winter-17-skwim---wednesdays--cloh-pool


Insights from Kevin[]

SKWIM programming gives a progression in lifesaving, culminating in certification for responsible 16 year-olds and up. The key to attracting more lifesavers is transforming the stigma to an attraction. Lifesavers must be known for engagement, education and communication. Lifesavers must be hands-on teachers of water safety, not just watchers. Teens and adults that are attracted to lifesaving love the water, so they must be in the water the majority of the time, sharing their joy and knowledge of hydrodynamics, displacement, teamwork, play and safety in and around the water. This is the premise of SKWIM - sharing water proficiency and safety in the context of game play.

Test on Aquatic Safety[]

The access code is, SKWIM (in all CAPS).

Tips for the test[]

  • Test URL: http://www.classroomclipboard.com/500512/Test/D92C2F4ABE6A4200AF7D3275D1A8AE31
  • Access code: SKWIM
  • Questions #1 to #25 are for Level 1.
  • Questions #26 to #50 are for Level 2.
  • This is an open book test. You may do research with any of the questions throughout.
  • When FINISHED, there are some bonus questions.
  • The green button that says Finish is on the review page and when using a 7-inch Android tablet, you need to scroll the page to the far right side to locate the button as it resides off the side of the screen. Drag to the corner of the page and locate it.
  • Take a screen capture of the final results for your records as that will be proof for the test's completion and allow for the coaches to award you the digital badge.

File:SKWIM ISC rev 060217.pdf



SKWIM Badge Level 1.png SKWIM Badge Level 2.png SKWIM Badge Level 3.png SKWIM Badge Level 4.png SKWIM Badge Level 5.png


Important to take a moment and instruct them as follows, WITH HUMOR AND LEVITY.

1) Gather the group very close to you in the water so you can talk softly and easily.

2) Show them how soft and flexible the disk is. (Flex it.)

3) Ask, “In basketball, baseball and football, do we ever pass to someone who is not looking? Why?"

4) Same is true for SKWIM® and the SKWIM® Disk. We only pass when someone is ready to receive the disk!

5) Show them that it does not hurt but does not feel good (take a disk and strike your own face several times with it)

6) Your head is the only thing above the water so be careful and know where the disk is all the time during the game

7) See no blood or black eye or broken nose, but it is not polite or honorable to pass to someone unless they are ready

8) Now everyone show me a victory-sign, or girl or boy scout hand sign (2 fingers raised / 2 fingers bent to the thumb )

9) This is the classic grip used for all the passes! Now point to me (away from you) with those fingers and with your thumb down - that is how you finish all your passes, pointing at your teammate that you are passing too. Notice your thumb is down and your palm is facing out and away from you~!

10) Now hold your disk with the middle finger in the outer groove facing away from you. If you are right handed place the middle finger into the groove on the right side of the disk and if left handed on the left side. Your index finger goes next to it on the ramp or at the top of the ramp.

11) Your thumb is on the bottom of the disk. The bottom of the disk is the smooth side and it is always facing down.

12) Now with this grip you can snap your wrist back and forth to achieve great movement of the disk and to get lots of spin on the disk.

13) The secret of good passing is to use mostly the wrist and a little bit of elbow movement and little or no shoulder movement.

14) Now let’s review the backhand pass – turn sideways to the person you are passing to so that your throwing shoulder is forward and you are sideways. Now with the proper grip, bring your disk back across your body, all the way back behind your other shoulder while holding the disk parallel to the water surface.

15) As you pass forward, bring your shoulder around, then your elbow, then lastly snap your wrist so that you finish releasing the disk with your hand pointing to your teammate.




Aquatic Jamborees happen in 2-hour periods at community swim pools. Local events funnel to HQ pools with weekly festivals hosted at pools: Northside at The Pgh Project, Hill Districts Citiparks Ammon.

Engagement with SKWIM includes: introduction with casual game-play among drop-in individuals and invited community groups (church, scouts, nonprofit, professional, neighborhood, school, teams). Mix audiences, ages 10-and-older to adults, participate in a new, non-contact sport. Playing well with others happens in a setting that stresses teamwork, sportsmanship and integrity with pick-up/playground style squads. The ad-hoc teams form with a coordinator. These highly-social games occur in a lagoon area within the pool. SKWIM is sorta like water polo, but far easier to do and understand. First-time participants are proficient and make team contributions. SKWIM is played with a soft, foam, disk that easily skims along the water's surface. Players pass and shot the disk into goals (like hockey, soccer, lacrosse and basketball) but teamwork matters, sorta like Ultimate Frisbee. Optional fins and life vests are provided.

SKWIM, a favorite among kids at camps, resonates with adults and guardians.

A pilot program in August 2018 operated with Citiparks blessing. See https://Ammon.4rs.org. With grant support, expansion to 15 city public pools can give kids and adults meaningful team and group activities for increased interactions and wellness.


File:Dare to C.A.R.E.2016 Pittburgh (1).pdf

SKWIM has a distinct culture. In SKWIM, the culture is called it C.A.R.E. (Critical Aquatic Response Education). The leaders and founder of SKWIM are serious about C.A.R.E. It is in each of the four facets of the game.

  • Life-Ring Philosophy: C.A.R.E. has distinct Virtues and Aspects
  • SKWIM Certification: Each player is certified by international standards
  • Lifesaving SKWIM Gear: Soft PDF fins, soft disk, float belts, soft boundaries
  • Safety SKWIM Rules: SKWIM is a non-contact/finesse game of team strategy

C.A.R.E. is about ensuring that every “Skwimmer” is comfortable and confident in the water and having an enjoyable time, playing and working, but always within the context of freedom of expression within structure in the water. In addition to standard issue of Skwim fins, players may wear flotation belts or vests. We want them to love SKWIM and coming back for a lifetime of play, as youths, as coaches, parents, guardians, and grandparents!

Unlike water polo or full court basketball, SKWIM is a zone position sport (like soccer) and there is no need for every swimmer to continually lap up and down the full pool. The disk moves fast making the game fast, and players move at their own pace.

But most importantly, C.A.R.E. is an educated passion we must inspire in others, regarding heightened attention and awareness around water. Every player, coach, official, guard, parent and spectator must have C.A.R.E. C.A.R.E. is the SKWIM Culture. We can significantly reduce the number of incidences in and around the water if we bring C.A.R.E. to the forefront. Everyone at the water needs to have a balance of joy and attention toward the welfare of others, as we have for ourselves and our loved ones. If everyone had real team C.A.R.E., then few if any would be in danger around the water.

We have enacted a C.A.R.E. Pledge this season for players, parents and all SKWIM enthusiasts:

The SKWIM C.A.R.E. Pledge:[]

“I __________________, recognize and acknowledge, the gift and dignity of each person, and therefore hold the life of others, in equal value to my own; and I pledge to remain vigilant, while performing my level best, along with my team and community, to help keep people safe, in and around the water, so help me God”.

  • (the phrase, “so help me God”, upon explanation of unbelief, may be omitted by the pledger provided sincerity is still present, and therefore substituted by the phrase, “and I speak this with sincerity and truth”.)

SKWIM Founder, Kevin McCarthy, would love to one day take the time and resources to come to Pittsburgh and hold a clinic and teach about a unit the covers the SKWIM.

I would love to meet all your staff and the players! You and I have connected over the years because we are dedicated to kids and to water safety. We both want kids to love the water and want them to come back again and again for a lifetime of enjoyment. Therefore when we teach or train a skill, as those on this list, we, as the coach, are most always with the students, performing the skills with them. This means unlike swim coaching or polo, in SKWIM, we are usually in the water. There must always be an additional guard or two supervising SKWIM in addition to the instructor. One cannot be a good instructor and guard simultaneously. However, in SKWIM, the instructor is in the water and with goggles and scanning periodically, as are all other players.

In SKWIM, players are not permitted to play underwater, hide underwater, or swim underwater for distance, but are expected to periodically scan, which is done from the surface.

SKWIM Certification and subsequent badges, digital or otherwise[]

Every youth must pass the primary standards of Response Endurance and Distance, but does not need to accomplish each Response sub-skill to 100%. Some will be stronger at certain skills. Keep it fun and always give reasons for the skill ( i.e., sculling = with the hands – angled hands like propellers can produce high and low pressure just like an airplane prop or wing, causing lift). As an instructor you must primarily know that they can accomplish comfortably the “Written” test (Response) , the “Time” in overhead water (Endurance), and Distance prescribed for the particular test LEVEL being administered. Regarding these practicum skills in water and on deck, students must perform 80% or better, and situational discretion by instructor, based on effort and participation, may be considered. We want to ensure students understand the many ways they can be of help to themselves or other swimmers. Water safety is about both play and work. In SKWIM, we do both.

If playing ‘disk-only’ SKWIM (no goals), we urge you to play with fins also as a help to the skwimmers and to the game, making it safer, easy to learn, faster and more enjoyable. PDF fins are the best for directional changes, multiple strokes, and for safety. PDF fins are required in ‘officially sanctioned’ SKWIM Games at any level.


The game with goals is called SKWIM Premier, the game without goals is SKWIM Ultra (all SKWIM Ultra Rules apply, except for the scoring, which in Ultra, is like Ultimate Frisbee and the scoring pass must come off the water before received in the end zone.)

Regarding a swim course for the Response test, use buoys as course markers to swim around if no SKWIM goals are available, so the students have a water location away from the pool sides to turn a corner, instead of going to the wall. Remember, you are emulating an open-water swim course.

Do you want the Level-4 and Level-5 Practicum Response list we cover in our SKWIM camp sessions, or are you good with the first 3 levels? As you know, Level 4 is 100 questions, 1000 meters and 40 minutes in open water

Will you have kids wanting to go to Level-4?