|By Cornell_Hopeful (Cornell_Hopeful) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 08:42 pm: Edit|
I've been hearing about this swim test and I'm a bit nervous about it. Does every freshman have to take one? What if you know how to survive in water, but it's not exactly considered swimming? I can "swim" but not good. Will I have a problem?
|By Cornellhopeful (Cornellhopeful) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 08:44 pm: Edit|
yes, everyone has to take the swim test. I know that in CAS(not sure for the others), it's required for graduation. I'm guessing it's b/c of all of the waterfalls and bridges around campus. If you can't pass, you can take a class to learn and take it again. When I went to Cornell for the visitation program, a student told me that there are people who don't pass or put it off, and find out that they won't get their degree until they pass it, and end up taking it over the summer AFTER senior year.
|By Gabushida (Gabushida) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 09:13 pm: Edit|
The swim-test is a UNIVERSITY WIDE requirement for graduation. However, they are supposedly pretty dam liberal as to what qualifies as "swimming" :b
If you dont pass, you have to take the basic swimming class as one of your two gym classes. No biggie.
The test is left over from WWII.
|By W1628 (W1628) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 09:17 pm: Edit|
I think a huge grant was made on the condition a swim test was made mandatory.
|By Nebul0us (Nebul0us) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 09:24 pm: Edit|
you have to swim 4(?) laps, but there is no time limit. The tour guide told us that he got off with swimming only two, simply because he befriended the person conducting the test. Guess you can try that...
|By Cornellgrad04 (Cornellgrad04) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 09:38 pm: Edit|
Haha, most people float and let the wind carry them...it really is damn funny because most of the people who "pass" are horrible swimmers:P
|By Nirvanarageatm (Nirvanarageatm) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 09:39 pm: Edit|
My tour gude told me you only have to swim 75 yards/meters. Despite the fact that I am a varsity swimmer in high school, 75 meters is not that hard, and if you can't do it you can take the swim course and earn an easy A, which I understand is quite valuable at Cornell. There are also other physical education requirements.
|By Cornellgrad04 (Cornellgrad04) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 10:03 pm: Edit|
P.E. classes are ALL pass/fail no As .. sorry Nirvana :P No A's are EVER easy at Cornell
|By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 10:08 pm: Edit|
are you guys serious or is this a joke! wtf! i hate water! i can't swim! lmao!
|By Ghhizzmo (Ghhizzmo) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 10:25 pm: Edit|
Previously posted in the January 2004 archive- this will answer all of your swim test questions!
From the "Ask Uncle Ezra" column on Cornell's website:
When I was a Freshman I was told the reason Cornell requires a swim test is because the child of a former president/admistrator/dean/etc.'s drowned a long long time ago.Is there any truth to this story? Thanks, Simon
You've stumbled upon one of the campus' biggest wives tales! The rumor has even made it on to Snopes.com (http://www.snopes.com/college/admin/swimtest.htm), an internet rumor debunker, but they reference a different college. The "T"ruth from the source is that the swim test is not the result of a mandate from a generous benefactor or influential administrator, nor is it an opportunity to drum up business for the Physical Education department.The real reason that CU has a swim test is far more practical.If you search the Ezra Archives you will learn that it began during World War II, because so many students were going off to fight, and it was deemed a necessary skill to have. After the war ended, the swim test remained. It is a graduation requirement as voted on by the University Faculty. Several years ago it came up for renewal and was reaffirmed by the faculty. Cornell is one of a handful of schools that still require a swim test, but like the swimming anxiety some students face, its origin tends to loom larger than the actual experience. I hope you successfully passed your swim test, or are enjoying learning this life long skill.
Dear Uncle Ezra,
What does the swim test given to all freshmen actually test. I was accepted early decision and never learned how to swim. I really do not want to be forced to take a swim class, so I plan on learning this summer. If you could tell me what they test, I could prepare myself. Thanks.
Dear Swimming in Summer,
Congratulations on your acceptance to Cornell! The swim test is indeed a requirement, albeit controversial one, for graduation as approved by the University Faculty. Those students who are able to swim are asked to take the test during Orientation on one of their first few days at Cornell. Those who do not know how to swim are encouraged to sign up for the Learn-to-Swim Physical Education (P.E.) class for a semester or two. Taking the learn-to-swim class also helps to fulfill your P.E. credits that are also a requirement for graduation. And it's good exercise.It can be fun, especially if you plan a spring break at the beach sometime!
The requirements for the swim test are:
-Jump in at the deep end of the pool (feet first is fine, no need to do a fancy dive)
-Swim one length (25 yards) on your stomach
-Swim one length (25 yards) on your back
-Swim one length (25 yards) any style
No one will judge you for style points. You can doggie paddle or kick your way down the pool if you like, and you can repeat a stroke during your third length. The swim test can be an annoyance for some, a dread for others, and for a few a great triumph! Many students who complete the learn-to-swim class are the first person in their family to learn how to swim!
Enjoy getting a jump-start on learning this life skill this summer. I look forward to seeing you on the hill and in the pool!
|By Itziar (Itziar) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 10:29 pm: Edit|
This comes from the Widener family. Mrs. Widener's son (sorry, I can't recall their first names) drowned when the Titanic sank and he didn't know how to swim. The Widener family donated a lot of money to Harvard on the condition that all students must pass a swim test (there were also other conditions unrelated to swimming, such as not altering the Widener library building in any way...anyhow, that's another story!). I believe the swim test is required at all Ivys; it's definitely at Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell.
Hope this provides some clarification! I hear that most people put it off 'til senior year, anyhow.
|By Itziar (Itziar) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 10:32 pm: Edit|
^ Ha, Ghhizzmo, you posted right before me. The Widener story definitely holds true for Harvard...either it just caught on at the other schools, too, or it was instituted during WWII, like you said.
|By Noodleman (Noodleman) on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 08:18 am: Edit|
The origin of the swim test began around 1918 for women when the Director of Women's Physical Education felt that it was a necessary skill for women to have. The swim test requirement for men was instituted about 1937 and was the result of World War II Cornell's strong connection to ROTC; many Cornellians served in the war. After WWII, the faculty felt that the swim test (and the result that if you do not know how to swim, you need to take a class to learn how to swim) was an important life skill to have, and kept it in the requirements for graduation. And it is great exercise for your computer-bound generation. This specific requirement for graduation was reviewed again 2 years ago, and the faculty chose to keep it in the requirements for graduation.
Indeed, some transfer students are required to take the swim test, others are not. This is based on transfer credits/classes taken. Those transfer students who still need to fulfill physical education requirements at Cornell are required to take the swim test.
The subject of swim tests, where the test originated, why not everyone takes the test, etc. are long standing and popular questions among Cornellians. If you search for "Swim Test" in the Uncle Ezra archives, you will find additional information.
|By Mjl86 (Mjl86) on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 08:41 am: Edit|
you guys must be kidding; now it makes the ivies look so unappealing. what about brown? Do they administer a swim test?
|By Noodleman (Noodleman) on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 10:03 am: Edit|
No. At Brown you need to be able to demonstate the ability to appreciate the rights accorded to microscopic water-borne bacteria and to accept them into the diverse environment of universal experience.
Swimming is prohibited at Brown because it discriminates against such unicellular organisms and disturbs their natural habitat.
|By Cornell_Hopeful (Cornell_Hopeful) on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 03:56 pm: Edit|
Thanks everyone. I'm glad to know it's not a test that favors pro swimmers. Maybe I have a chance at passing ... somewhat.
|By Minimonstercas (Minimonstercas) on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 09:22 pm: Edit|
I can doggy paddle!!
|By Itziar (Itziar) on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 10:11 pm: Edit|
Hey, that's my best stroke! =)
Honestly though, I heard you can literally take a half hour if you need it to complete the "test." I'd like to hear some funny stories about it if anyone has them!
|By Gabushida (Gabushida) on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 10:43 pm: Edit|
When I went to the engineering session, I was talking with the presentor (who happened to be Mark Spencer, Director of Admissions for Engineering) afterwards, and he commented how it was extremely lax. Said somehting to the effect that you could practically walk around the edge of the pool and still pass if you really wanted :b
|By W1628 (W1628) on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 11:34 pm: Edit|
Apparently there's a story about how one guy claimed to be the captain of the varsity swim team, then failed the swim test....
|By Ghhizzmo (Ghhizzmo) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 11:46 am: Edit|
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