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(Boston Globe)   As graduation approaches, it's sink or swim for MIT seniors. Literally   (boston.com) divider line 118
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15420 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 May 2006 at 8:33 AM (8 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-05-08 08:38:25 AM  
Walking on water isn't good enough?
 
2006-05-08 08:39:29 AM  
I'm actually about to go take mine...

/Cornell senior
 
2006-05-08 08:40:10 AM  
Why it's a good idea FTA:
'It's their first test at MIT, and they fail," said Ben McElhiney, MIT's assistant aquatic director. ''And these are kids who aren't used to failing anything."

''They over-think it," said Carlson. ''When I teach them, they want to learn what angle to hold their arms. I just tell them to go ahead and try it; don't worry about the numbers."


Swimming isn't what this is about; It's these two life lessons. Both are vital ones for nerds to learn.

/nerd
//can't swim
///but I've failed plenty and don't overthink
 
2006-05-08 08:42:10 AM  
High dives and un-equipped scuba missions from freaked out MIT studuents coming up!

It's about as regular as a U-Haul truck getting stuck under a low bridge on Storrow in September.
 
2006-05-08 08:42:11 AM  
Cambridge trifecta is now in play.
 
2006-05-08 08:42:47 AM  
'Yeh's little bubble of denial popped last month when an e-mail gave a deadline to pass the test. No test, no graduation. That's when she cried. ''It just seemed unfair," she said. ''I mean, who cares if you can swim?'

...she was set to graduate near the top of her MIT class next month and start a six-figure job as a Wall Street analyst.


Yeah, life's a b**** sometimes, ain't it? I really hate how unfair it is. But at least you're donating a large chunk of your 6-figure salary to the homeless, right? 'Cause we need to be fair.
 
2006-05-08 08:43:32 AM  
This thread needs pics of swimsuit models.
 
2006-05-08 08:43:41 AM  
If I were her, I'd would have drowned. That would show them.
 
2006-05-08 08:44:14 AM  
So blind people are not allowed to go to MIT? Or people who can't move on their own? Or is the article missing something important?
 
2006-05-08 08:44:52 AM  
I'd hit it
 
2006-05-08 08:45:59 AM  
Mahreen Khan, whose father had not let her swim in public pools in her native Bangladesh because he said they were dirty.

Holy shiat....
 
2006-05-08 08:46:31 AM  
same thing at UNC
 
2006-05-08 08:47:20 AM  
My alma mater just dropped their swim test requirement because it was culturally biased, or some such bullshiat.

Next thing you know they'll stop giving math tests because those are culturally biased against people who don't have enough fingers to count to ten.
 
2006-05-08 08:47:30 AM  
Meh, that's nothin:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drownproofing (doesn't pop)
 
2006-05-08 08:49:26 AM  
So that's why MIT doesn't have that many black students?

/Going to hell.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2006-05-08 08:49:53 AM  
I knew an MIT swim instructor who said she had to work with 80 pound Asian girls with no body fat who would sink like a rock.

The test is no big deal if you know how to swim. If you don't know how to swim, you have four years to learn. There's a tougher test for people who want to get involved in boating. I think you have to tread water for five minutes.
 
2006-05-08 08:51:55 AM  
Personally, I think this is the best test ever. Do you have any idea how many people drown in perfectly calm, shark-free water just because they can't even tread water for one minute never mind swim even a single lap of a pool? Being freinds with four lifeguards I've heard the pathetic stories about the woman who had to be saved because she waded out into the lake, slipped on the drop off, and couldn't take a single stroke to get back to shallower water, even though she would only have had to move four feet. And she couldn't tread, a whole lot of useless thrashing was all she managed. I think everyone should have to take this test in high school in order to graduate.

Thinks people who can't swim should just kick the bucket now, drowing hurts more than slitting your wrist. Or learn to swim. Seriously, it's one of those life skills right up there with reading that every child should be taught.

Water is one of the few phobias that can be overcome in only a few weeks - one of my lifeguard friends used to be horribly phobic of water, took a six week class, decided she loved swimming enough to become a lifeguard.
 
2006-05-08 08:54:27 AM  
Surveys indicate that about a third of Americans are afraid to put their heads under water.

Why should I stick my head in water when there is all this perfectly good air above it?
 
2006-05-08 08:54:58 AM  
Had the same kind of thing at my alma mater, Carleton College. Dunno if they still do it there, but it's a sound idea IMHO--it's not like you can avoid water your whole life.
 
2006-05-08 08:55:15 AM  
scutter

ya because the homeless made all the sacrifices for her to get there, helped her study, missed the parties and unfettered social life to make sure she succeeded.

if u arent seriouisly mentally or physically challenged, and ur homeless in america, ur a POS douchebag.
 
2006-05-08 09:00:53 AM  
You also need to know how many smoots it takes to get from The Common Ground to The Muddy Charles.
 
2006-05-08 09:01:42 AM  
if u arent seriouisly mentally or physically challenged, and ur homeless in america, ur a POS douchebag.

Ladies and gentlemen, this man has a heart of gold.
 
2006-05-08 09:02:10 AM  
ZAZ

I knew an MIT swim instructor who said she had to work with 80 pound Asian girls with no body fat who would sink like a rock.

FAP FAP FAP FAP


The test is no big deal if you know how to swim. If you don't know how to swim, you have four years to learn. There's a tougher test for people who want to get involved in boating. I think you have to tread water for five minutes.


Treading water for five minutes is the tougher of the tests? Man, that must be an easy test.

Most ironic thing ever: I dated a Navy girl when I was in the Army. I took her sailing. She had never learned how to swim (much less handle a boat). I made her wear a life jacket. She wasn't too happy about that, but I didn't want a dead squid on my hands.

To top it all off, the winds and surf picked up pretty good that day (Western shore of Oahu, near Waianae), giving me a bit of a fright also. Sunfish surf pretty good, by the way.
 
2006-05-08 09:05:14 AM  
Lol Fredriksstad Blad-

I passed mine when they made us take them in the first week here freshman year :P I was slow though. So what are you, Arts? CALS?
 
2006-05-08 09:11:37 AM  
TFA doesn't say that there is a restriction on how said students must complete said 4 lengths of the pool. The People afraid to put their head underwater could backpaddle, or even Dog paddleing


/heh doggie style = Comic gold
 
2006-05-08 09:13:43 AM  
Lordy, who are these parents who don't teach or won't let their kids swim in a pool, which is probably the safest body of water ever? Swimming is a life skill. It's more dangerous to not know how to swim than to learn how to swim. I know several people who don't know how to swim and who own pools and who have kids, and it just boggles my mind every time. If their kid starts drowning, they can't save'em, because the parents don't know how to swim.

/swim team for 8 years
//loves swimming in the ocean
 
2006-05-08 09:17:48 AM  
Ha,

I put it off forever and Ga Tech dropped the class my graduating quarter! Got to take Bowling for my final PE credit...

Pass / fail
wheeee...
 
2006-05-08 09:18:12 AM  
lepidoptera

Lol Fredriksstad Blad-

I passed mine when they made us take them in the first week here freshman year :P I was slow though. So what are you, Arts? CALS?


Arts... But I was a transfer and only just found out I didn't have enough credits to place me out of the test or something like that.

/Passed, FYI
 
OCB
2006-05-08 09:19:09 AM  
likelyculprit:
so did you head down to Woolen on the last possilbe day like everybody else? My friends and I got there 45 minutes before the doors opened, and we still had to wait almost 2 hours.

None of the kids in the group of behind us could swim. They just flailed about until the lifeguards pulled them over the the edge. Why go try to take the test if you know you can't swim? You can't fake buoyancy.
 
2006-05-08 09:19:37 AM  
This is a pitiful story. Damn. They should make the test a state requirement.
 
2006-05-08 09:23:34 AM  
She was there for four years, she knew this was coming up. She should have worked on this when she was a freshman.

I had to pass (easily, as I was employed as a lifeguard at the time) a similar test to get out of high school--but we had to jump into water over our heads, swim 100 yds, and then tread water for 5 minutes.

dittybopper: Sunfish surf pretty good, by the way.

You need a little bigger boat than that to take a date on, IMHO. Something with a cabin and berths. Trade up for a Laser if you want a one-man surfing dinghy. 470 if you want to bring guests.

/Learned to sail on Sunfish--part of a lifeguard gig.
 
2006-05-08 09:26:46 AM  
My mom and dad had to do this where they went to college. I thought maybe it was some weird 70's fad that has since faded out, but apparently it's still going on...and at MIT of all places??!!! I guess I don't have a problem with it. Everyone needs to do a lap now and then.
 
2006-05-08 09:28:25 AM  
Ha, ha, take that genius chick! It's honestly simply bizarre to me that you don't know how to swim. Can you walk and run...? What was you plan for dealing with the fact that 75% of the planet you live on is covered in a substance you can not move in...?

/go ahead, point out the percise percentage of coverage while I laugh at you
 
2006-05-08 09:30:12 AM  
sutel: Lordy, who are these parents who don't teach or won't let their kids swim in a pool, which is probably the safest body of water ever?

The hyper-overprotective type. There's parents out there who won't let their children do anything, because they're afraid of what might happen. It's really sad; those people really aren't fit to be parents, I don't think.
 
2006-05-08 09:34:56 AM  
I can't believe this is a requirement for colleges, least of all MIT. I thought they put brains over everything? That said, I think it's great they have a mandintory swim test, everyone should know how to swim.
 
2006-05-08 09:35:37 AM  
pandabear

You need a little bigger boat than that to take a date on, IMHO. Something with a cabin and berths. Trade up for a Laser if you want a one-man surfing dinghy. 470 if you want to bring guests.

/Learned to sail on Sunfish--part of a lifeguard gig.


I learned on a Sunfish also, at Boy Scout camp.

As for taking a bigger boat, well, I was an E-4 at the time, and my only choice was to rent the Sunfish for the afternoon. I couldn't afford anything bigger. She had fun though, especially when it got 'interesting'.

I didn't let on that I was slightly above my skill level at that point. I just used what I had learned from hours spent on a longboard to get us back in.
 
2006-05-08 09:37:09 AM  
"Arts... But I was a transfer and only just found out I didn't have enough credits to place me out of the test or something like that."

Haha cool, I'm arts too. They don't make you take it if you have enough credits? That's weird.
 
2006-05-08 09:38:51 AM  
Everyone should learn how to swim. Should be taught when you are around 3 years old.

I have a friend who can't seem, and they are now 30 years old. Should be a law in every elementary school.

/will teach my kid to swim
//lives in midwest, not surrounded by water
///location should not matter
 
2006-05-08 09:39:27 AM  
Had a swimming test in high school. Stoned outta my mind on acid. Thought I was in Atlantis. Passed with "flying colors".......
 
2006-05-08 09:46:14 AM  
I am glad everyone is up in arms about the whole swim thing, but did anyone catch the "SIX FIGURE JOB OFFER OUT OF COLLEGE QUOTE!!!!!?!?!?!"

Just trying to point that out. I would love to make that kind of scrilla coming out of school damnit!
 
2006-05-08 09:47:27 AM  
ZAZ: There's a tougher test for people who want to get involved in boating. I think you have to tread water for five minutes.

The boat test is 10 minutes, and it's harder than you'd think. No floating allowed, either. I stopped thrashing at about 2 minutes and spent the rest of my time just barely keeping my nose above water.
 
2006-05-08 09:48:13 AM  
Magic Chopstick -
When did you graduate? I was class of '05, and I'm pretty sure '04 was the last group with that requirement. I may be mistaken about the exact year, but I do know that the requirement was recently removed.
 
2006-05-08 09:50:54 AM  
I grew up on a boat and regularly swam miles in open water. "Tread water for 5 minutes" puhlease.. What will these people do when the polar ice caps melt and we all turn into waterworld-ish kevin costner freaks?
 
2006-05-08 09:51:54 AM  
Swimming's one of those 'life skill' things. You really should know how, just in case you need to do that.

Just like you should be able to tie a good, solid knot. Or identify poison ivy.

Yeah, if you live in downtown Bumfark, Kansas, where there's no open water for fifty miles other than that one swimming hole, it may not be particularly pressing--but you should still know how to do it.
 
2006-05-08 09:55:26 AM  
dittybopper: I learned on a Sunfish also, at Boy Scout camp.

Same here, except I was working at the Boy Scout camp. Someone donated 4 Sunfish to the camp. So the boss says, "You can teach sailing merit badge." "I don't know how to sail." "You've got all weekend." The next week I was a few pages ahead of the kids in the merit badge pamphlet.

Teutonic_Knight: Everyone should learn how to swim. Should be taught when you are around 3 years old.

Having taught hundreds of kids to swim, I think there is a "dead zone" from about age 3 to age 5. Before that, you can teach a baby/toddler to hold its breath and maybe float a little, and after that, when a kid will voluntarily (or under peer pressure) put their face in the water and open their eyes, you can teach them to swim, but not in the middle for some reason. I see this with my own kids, too.
 
2006-05-08 09:56:55 AM  
Let's remember, folks, that lots of people in this country (not even talking about other parts of the world) don't have easy access to swimming pools. In my small hometown, the municipal pool was closed, the high school didn't have a pool and the only other pool in town was the expensive country club (members only). I was 13 before I learned to swim, only because my parents went out of their way to get me lessons.

If you don't learn early, it gets a lot harder. And group swim lessons absolutely suck...
 
2006-05-08 10:03:35 AM  
When I was 20, I couldn't swim. Then I decided didn't want to die like an idiot in 7 feet of water. Took a course at the Y and learned the basics. Still don't like swimming though.
 
2006-05-08 10:05:22 AM  
How is swimming a life skill? I suppose... if you are by water a lot. I really don't know how to swim, and it's not been a problem in my life. It's not like I am in the ocean or on boats... what's the big deal?

I tried to learn some last summer, since I now live in a house that has a pool, but I can't put my head under water [combination of an ear that will get infected if I get water in it and a fear of not being able to breathe that relates to a childhood illness] but I fail to see how it is essential.
 
2006-05-08 10:11:22 AM  
babyduckmonger

Graduated '98, right about the time when the momentum to ditch the swim test was building. As I recall, it was a stipulation attached to a rather generous grant to the college made by the parent of an alum who had died from drowning back in The Day. I could be wrong, though--if you're curious, the College Archivist knows this topic (and most others) inside-out...

/ hail the maize and blue
 
2006-05-08 10:18:23 AM  
Heh, I went to Bryn Mawr. That 1 minute treading is a lie; it was longer than that, but because I took the test in my first week of classes, I can't recall. Someone in the class above me did indeed fail the test, not bother to take beginner swim, and thus fail to graduate. Backstroke and a really crappy front crawl FTW. Technique didn't really matter, as long as it was sort of distinct two kinds of moving-through-water.

It is indeed a life skill; it is a basic form of locomotion. I just don't see how anyone can avoid wanting to know basic skills like that - what does it hurt?
 
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