Swim Club – Deep End Test / Black Tags

For many years, child access to the deep end of the I-Pool and T-Pool was governed by a Black Tag and White Tag system. To obtain their White Tag, children had to demonstrate an ability to swim 5 widths of the I-Pool without stopping, and then, immediately after, be able to tread water continuously for 5 minutes. Success provided access to the deep end of the I-Pool, but the child was required to wear his or her White Tag at all times when swimming there. The tag was a piece of white boondoggle knotted around his or her wrist.

Success in the Black Tag test provided access to the T-Pool compound. In this case the candidate had to be able to swim 10 widths of the T-Pool deep end without stopping, and then, immediately after, to tread water for 10 minutes continuously. This had little to do with safety and deep-end proficiency, since the White Tag already demonstrated that. Rather, insofar as it applied to Swim Club members, the Black Tag test was a thinly disguised effort to keep the T-Pool compound as a more or less adult-only area, with a quieter atmosphere, since most children below a certain age could not successfully complete the test. For children in the single digit age range, wearing a Black Tag (a piece of black boondoggle knotted around the wrist) was a badge of considerable honour.

One thought on “Swim Club – Deep End Test / Black Tags”

  1. Thanks for posting this. As a child of the swim club in the 60’s and ‘70’s, the white tag and black tag tests were absolutely rites of passage, and symbols of growing independence. I can still remember, about 45 years later, the day I proudly walked down the steps into the T-pool area, my new black tag showing everyone my new status among the adults. Not so sure my parents were so thrilled about it…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *