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Swimming Requirement for 1st Class

I understand that the swim requirement for rank advancement can be waved up to Life. My question is about how the requirement is written. It says that the scout must “complete” the swim test. One of our scouts took the test but only achieved ‘beginner’. Do you have to be a “swimmer” in order to make 1st Class without a waiver?

The COVID-19 FAQ says

Q: Will there be any changes to the Swimming requirements for Second and First class?

Swimming remains a major health and safety concern and cannot be abandoned by Scouts BSA. With that in mind, the Swimming rank requirements for Second Class (5b) and First Class (6a) may be deferred until each Scout’s next rank, as necessary (through Life, but not Eagle).

Completing the swim test is the same thing as passing the swim test. Per the COVID-19 waiver, the Scout must complete the swimmer prior to the Eagle Board of Review.

Thanks for the response. So every scout has to be able to swim?!? Complete and pass are two different things. One could “complete” the test and be identified as a beginner.

The distinction is in the wording of the Second Class requirement 5b “Demonstrate your ability to pass the BSA beginner test…”

For First Class it says “Successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.”

Second Class requires qualifying as a beginner (at a minimum minimum) using the BSA swim test requirements. First Class requires qualifying as a swimmer using the BSA swim test requirements.

ETA: Clarified that you have to be Beginner or better to complete the Second Class requirement.

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Bottom line: Yes, 1st Class Scouts are expected to be able to swim 100 yards in a strong manner, among other things.
There’ll be some catching up to do once this Pandemic is over. But, gaining those skills really can make a difference in someone’s life.

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My understanding that the wavier is for Scouts who have some medically documented disability.

First Class requirement 6a. says:

6a. Successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.

Successfully complete” is another way of saying “pass”.

I would call it a deferral, not a waiver. Under the BSA’s current COVID-19 rules:

[T]he Swimming rank requirements for Second Class (5b) and First Class (6a) may be deferred until each Scout’s next rank, as necessary (through Life, but not Eagle).

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