Swim Tests

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Swim test rules & guidelines

OURCs Rules

It is the responsibility of clubs to ensure that their club has safe practices including requiring all rowers and coxes to be sufficiently proficient at swimming. The rules laid down by OURCs and COUR are designed to assist clubs in best practice but will be enforced. OURCs insists on all event participants being swim tested.

The rules are summarised as follows (see 2.4.1a for full details):

Any breach of the latter two rules will be treated as a Major Transgression, and it is the responsibility of the clubs to check the pass/fail lists published by the RowSab after each swim test session. If you have any queries about the above rules, contact the Rowing Sabbatical Officer on sabbatical@ourcs.co.uk

Declaration Form

A declaration form based upon RowSafe guidance should include the following question:

Are you competent and confident in and under the water and able to do the following?:

COUR advice to university and college rowing clubs

COUR is the Council for Oxford University Rowing, and comprises representatives of the University Sports Department, the University Squads, the College Clubs, and OURCs. It exists to oversee the safe practice of rowing within the University, and therefore has the authority to change the OURCs Rules in the interests of safety.

Swim test booking & procedure

Next Sessions

Swim tests for Hilary Term 2018 have been scheduled for:

- Friday 19th January, 7-9pm

- Saturday 17th February, 5-7pm

Slots start every 30 minutes.

For dates further in the future, contact the RowSab.


These are taking place at the Rosenblatt Pool, Iffley Road Sports Centre.


Club captains who want to book swim tests for novices at their club should email the RowSab. Please indicate the number of people you wish to book and preferably a list of names of the novices you are sending. If this number significantly changes after you make the booking please send another email with this information.


Swim tests are charged directly to the boat club at the following prices:

The Test

You will need to bring with you:

The lockers at the Rosenblatt pool take £1 coins (returned afterwards).
You may wear a swimming costume underneath the shorts and t-shirt. White clothes tend to go semi-transparent.
You may not wear goggles of any kind for the test.

At present the test consists of :

This is in-line with the requirements of British Rowing and all have real-world practical reasons for their inclusion. All testing is carried out by qualified personnel.

Failing a swim test

We try to acommodate minor fails due to misunderstandings with a quick re-test should the time permit. We have to ensure that all persons have their first chance as well. We will accept re-tests for other failures if there is space and the circumstances permit, but swimming lessons are frequently advised prior to retaking the test. These are usually available by asking at reception. No refund is available for failing a test.