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Change the Stamina Tests

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by TMHeimer, May 3, 2010.

  1. AndyNZ

    AndyNZ Instructor, Scuba

    OK, I've taken some time to read the thread and point out some issues:

    You've kind of missed the point. The purpose of the watermanship tests isn't anything to do with "the real world", it's about seeing whether candidates are comfortable in water, under a variety of conditions and provide some measure of fitness evaluation across multiple dimensions - speed, power, stamina etc.

    Pointless. You can tell with in 5 minutes whether someone can float/tread water - in reality, beyond that 5 minutes there is no point continuing the appraisal.

    All your doing is changing the emphasis onto one aspect of the fitness evaluation, stamina.

    So PADI should make the test that you found OK harder, and the test you failed to do should be gotten rid of? I don't see how the 400m swim involves a combination of skills - it's swimming.

    If you couldn't swim 50m, you should have just been thrown out of the class. A PADI OW diver has to do 200m, so you've just said that you couldn't do a quarter of that......

    Again, it's not about real world. It's about evaluating comfort and fitness along multiple dimensions.

    The test is essentially a power test, as reflected in the times and the activity. If you make it longer, you are turning it into a stamina test. Given that you are wanting to change the snorkel test more towards stamina as well, you will only be evaluating a single fitness dimension.

    Stamina is important, but it's not the only dimension of fitness. And it may not be the most important one.

    What fitness dimension are you measuring, and what standard do you deem to be acceptable?

    I agree, Jim - but you have to define "strong". For example, I am a very capable swimmer, regularly swim multiple km in the pool and during summer am out ocean swimming. But my "strength" is in stamina, I am not a fast swimmer (hence, I have no power).

    Good. The 400m swim is integral to the watermanship evaluation. The combination of time and distance gives you an opportunity to evaluate power. But I don't think that 400m is enough to evaluate stamina. The snorkel swim attempts to do that, but it's aided. My thought would be to add an untimed 2km swim to evaluate stamina, then get rid of the "any time scores a 1" for the 400m swim and require faster times for each score 1-5.

    Personally, I quite like the PADI points approach - it accommodates variation in individual ability and enables you to counsel DMTs on what they need to improve and how, without being punitive about it. I would like to see the current tests have a minimum time to pass rather than any time, as well as a higher pass mark overall.

    You and me both.

    Again, I will say that the purpose of the evaluation has nothing to do with real life. It is up to the instructor to evaluate candidates on their fitness dimensions and counsel them after thinking about their shortcoming are.

    Don't know who told you that. PADI standards allow people to wear exposure compensation, but they then must be weighted for neutral buoyancy. Maybe it's a facility rule to intimidate you, but it's definitely not a PADI standard.

    NULL argument based on inaccurate information.
    MrsBBC likes this.
  2. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    AndyNZ, Thanks for plodding through it all. In general, we disagree on what the purpose of the tests should be. I feel they should be geared toward basically rescue situations, as this is probably the most critical aspect of divemastering. You feel they should be a general assessment of fitness and comfortability in water (as I mentioned, I feel I have always been comfortable). Different philosophies, that's cool.

    Re: the Float: Would you then recommend only 5 minutes and no hands out?

    Re: my "50 meter" 400. This was the first try. After remembering that I was kicking WAY to fast, I slowed it down and then could do 200 meters the same day. I did not have to do 200 meters in OW as we did the 300 meter MFS, which I aced, so entering DM class I hadn't swam literally in 39 years, despite all the snorkelling and other sports. Had we had to do the 200, I would've had problems then also. After a month of training and sorting out my mechanical problems (stroke style, kicking, breathing, body "rolling", etc.-- these are the many aspects to swimming I'm talking about, whereas doing the 800 has to do basically with leg strength which you can develop diving, walking, etc., and type of fins) I was able to finish the 400. Then on the test I got a "3", which was better than a guy in my class of similar age who got a 2 on his 2nd try. Do you really think I should've been kicked out?

    Re: exposure suit and neutral buoyancy for swim: My bad. I was sure I read somewhere you had to do the swim without any aids. As I seem to be really negatively buoyant, that may have helped me a lot. Maybe it was just a LDS policy.
  3. Ber Rabbit

    Ber Rabbit Floppy Ear Mod ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ohio
    AndyNZ, my organizations approach allows you to counsel DMTs and instructor candidates easily. The goal is set at a reasonable level, we just have to work with the student to get their performance to the bar. No math aerobics needed to average where they are strong with where they are weak. They get the goals ahead of time so they know where the bar is. We coach as needed to help those who have trouble achieving the goals on their own. Meeting the goal is something to be proud of. The ones who have to work a little harder really get a sense of achievement. We don't give away the certifications, they earn them and some people work extra hard to do so.

    Neither system is wrong, they are just different. No matter what your organization or for that matter, your sport; I think my bull riding instructor summed it up pretty well when he said, "Winners do the things losers aren't willing to do."

    RU4SKUBA Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: West Coast
    I'd like to see some additional time spent with a number of Rescue scenarios, water safety instruction around pools and lakes, use of backboards and c-collars in various environments, more in-depth emergency action planning, dive skill evaluation beyond the 20 basic skills.

    I would include free ascents/descents with references, buoyancy control at safety stop and bottom, alternative kick use and development, introduction to drysuits and DPVs, gear removal and mask drills while hovering, use of oxygen equipment, hazmat procedures, basic use of marine radio and coast guard procedures, trim dynamics and gear configurations, intro to technical diving, and care for different types of equipment.

    Obviously these are things any dive op or instructor could include as amenities, but some of them I would consider fundamentals of a true professional.
    MrsBBC likes this.
  5. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    Incubus34, While these suggestions have little to do with the present Stamina Tests, I agree with all of them.
  6. raftingtigger

    raftingtigger Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Woodland, CA, USA
    OK, I'm going to stick my foot in my mouth here.

    " rescue situations, as this is probably the most critical aspect of divemastering."

    I thought as DMs we were supposed to keep this fun, safe, and AVOID needing to use our rescue skills. If divers under our charge need rescuing then we have probably already failed. Yes, there are circumstances that are beyond our control, divers who don't listen, etc. But that is rare. Day in and day out a DM uses their leadership/observation skills to prevent the need for rescue skills. That isn't to say you shouldn't know and BE PREPARED to use rescue skills, just that there is a LOT more to what I see as a Divemaster's job than being a lifeguard.

    As we say in aviation: use your superior judgement to avoid needing superior skills.

    So back to the topic of swimming skills. While I haven't read every post in this thread what I didn't see was advice to pick a swimming stroke that you can sustain. Its not how many total points you can get, it is can you get ENOUGH total in the 5 assessments. Nothing in the requirements I've read specifies WHICH stroke you must use.

    When I did this assessment I hoped for a 5 in every task. Started with the treading water I got my 5, went on to the swim and knowing it was long picked my favorite stroke (breaststroke) and just cruised. It was quickly apparent that if I wanted a 5 I would have to 'kill' myself, so I settled for a 2. Did the 800 yd snorkel, cruised and again got a 2 (could have done a 3 if my feet had weights), cruised through the tired diver tow - while chatting - with a 3. That left the equipment exchange -- pure fun, my only problem - my buddy kept handing me the regulator back too soon. Did I do the very fastest I could? NO, but I did pass first time, doing all the requirements immediately following each other in one evening. So, here's a case of using superior judgement (knowing my limits) and avoiding a 'rescue' (tiring to the point of failure).
  7. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
  8. bracko

    bracko Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: sydney, Australia
    I agree with none of your ideas.

    1. the 400m swim is nothing other than a fitness requirement and proving you are fit and can swim. a dive professional should be reasonably fit and definitely should be able to swim a reasonable distance without the aid of fins.

    2. a 1 hour "float" is stupid and favours unfit people who have a high fat content over fit people (especially men) who have a low fat content. the hands out of water at a guess is simulating someone who is tired and still has to kick out of the water to complete rescue breaths, unstrap gear or help get people into a tender... i.e. task loading at the end.

    3. when have you had to snorkel a mile? when you're supervising at the surface most of the time you're barely moving. considering I nailed the snorkel with swimming fins, I'm down with it... however I think the 800 should stay, but requirement for open water, also perhaps a requirement to do the 400m swim, have no more than 3min rest then into the water for the 800m. if you need a higher score in one, you re-do both. as a side note... you're more than likely to be more efficient without the use of arms.

    4. i notice you discuss something about turning around in the pool... try doing the tired diver tow in the ocean. I scored 4 (much closer to a 5 than 3) and i was by far the closest to puking after that than any other of the stamina tests.

    it is my opinion that ALL the stamina skills should have to be repeated annually as an insurance requirement. Dive professionals need to be fit and active, if not for rescuing then to give students confidence that they can when required complete physically difficult tasks to potentially save a diver.
  9. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)

    It's an endless debate with many opinions, but I'll comment on these:

    1. Pretty much agree. The thing in question is what is a "reasonable" distance? Agree that a pro should be reasonably fit and able to swim. The two are not always directly related. "Fitness" vs. "swim fitness". You can be super physically fit and a lousy swimmer. The "can swim" part is obvious. Also agree that this has nothing to do with rescuing or anything other than just a swim test. Some say there are scenarios where swimming a long ways is directly related to scuba/divemastering. I continue to wait for that scenario.

    2. Agree that you are generally correct about it favouring fat guys. But not always so--there are other factors affecting body buoyancy. My torso is positive, my legs sink like stones. I put forth the idea of the hour long float because it may be that you have to do that or more someday, regardless of your buoyancy. Re: the hands out--you are referring to "rescue" here, which is interesting--supporting somewhat my ideas that the tests should be related to rescuing?

    3. OK, you'd never swim with mfs a mile, you'd move the boat or call 911. Except for the tow, you may never do any of this stuff. But since mfs swimming is how Rescue Class teaches you ("almost always have them handy"), I though it might say something about one's fitness to do this by making one do it longer. But I can live with just 800. Disagree completely about use of arms. I've tried using arms with fins-- you go like a rocket.

    4. I would agree that doing the tow in the ocean is more practical than in a pool, but the tests for us are in a pool due to logistics. Again, in the ocean (or lake) makes sense to me because that is where you would be rescuing someone, not in a pool.

    As far as having to do the tests annually I must agree completely. Doing the tests once to pass serves no purpose at all. It would be difficult for those of us with very cold ocean temps. and long distances to pools, but that would be our problem.
  10. SubMariner

    SubMariner C'est Moi ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: A Canuck Conch
    Just an FYI:

    Confined water is not just a pool. It is ANY BODY OF WATER WITH POOL LIKE CONDITIONS.

    So you can do any of the CONFINED WATER SKILLS in a lake, on a shore, etc.

    As long as there aren't HUGE waves or poor vis, you can do any of those watermanship tests in places other than a pool.

    We have in fact done things like swims or other watermanship skills in quarries, lakes, (etc) when doing other levels of training where DM was only one of those levels.

    Gawd... I can't believe this thread was resurrected after a year & I got sucked into it. :wink:


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