Top Gun (practice activity)

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Anyone have any Top Gun themed practices?

We played a Top Gun game years ago when the first movie was released. Here is how we did it.

  • Flashback to Peoria Central Park Pool.

Details

Two teams on different sides of the pool, no lane lines. Each swimmer has a partner called a wing-man/woman. 

You can stay on the sideline (sorta like an airport or aircraft carrier) as long as you wish, but the coach can whistle everyone into the water within 10 seconds.

Upon entering the water, if you break stroke (freestyle only) then you crash and burn and must exit the pool. So, the swimmer has to make continual front crawl strokes.

If anyone (opponent or otherwise) touches your legs you are hit. Like tag. Can only happen on legs. Upon being tagged, the tagged swimmer crosses his or her legs. (Pulling without a PB.) Then the tagged swimmer must swim 20 strokes (stroke count) in a crossed-leg manner. If that swimmer gets tagged again while legs are crossed, then that swimmer crashes and burns and exits the pool. So, this is for the wing man to come upon a swimmer that was first tagged, legs crossed, then the wing man tags again. That second tag is ejects the pilot from the theater.

If the first tag happens and then legs cross and 20 strokes are done without a second tag, then the swimmer uncrosses the legs and swims at full power.

Teaches stoke count, turn-over-tempo, pulling, teamwork, head-up swimming, never breaking stroke, sighting, drafting, strategies, core mobility, endurance, and a tad of honesty.

To set up the game, I'd be certain that everyone knew the concept of the crash and burn when they can't fly themselves and stop swimming. Both hands have to always be cycling. Any dog-paddle or over-reaching glide is fatal. So, have a 5 minute swim, individually, all around the pool and spot the ones that swim 2-strokes on one arm or stop / hesitate. Then eject them.

In a practice situation, you might have the pilots that have been tagged out (hit) or crash-and-burn be able to go back to their airport (side) walking in the pool so as to not be a factor with others in dog fights. Then if they do 40 press-ups, they can recharge and get back into the game. Might be sit-ups / push-ups / jump rope / etc.

Game is over when one side has zero players in the sky.

We did this in an 8-lane pool with age group kids. Might be good 10 on 10, or else stage the flight plans among the couples.

With masters, bigger bodies, might be ideal with 6 on 6 with a 6 lane pool.

It is a stretch to call this a test set. And, since the only "game" one should play in swimming practice is SKWIM, this is more like a practice activity.

About the author 

Mark Rauterkus

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