Chinese University Mandates Students Learn To Swim Before Graduating

A Chinese university has announced a new requirement for its students to fulfill in order to receive a diploma, one that would entail passing a swimming test in order to graduate.

Tsinghua University, located in Beijing China, has announced that learning to swim is considered a compulsory skill and all students must be able to swim at least 50m using any stroke in order to officially obtain their degree. Those who fail to swim the distance will be required to take a mandatory course throughout their academic stay at Tsinghua, culminating in final swim test by the time they graduate.

Liu Bo, Head of the university’s Sports Science and Physical Education Division, maintains that the rule is being imposed as a means to encourage students to stay fit, although exceptions will be made for students with physical or mental conditions, if proven by medical staff.

“Although Tsinghua has a long tradition of emphasizing sports participation, fewer students are exercising regularly,” Liu said. “It’s time to take compulsory action to urge students to exercise more to strengthen the sports culture on campus.” (China Daily)

Considered a research university, Tsinghua is consistently ranked as one of the top academic institutions in China.

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Our university had this mandate as well. If you could not pass you had to take intro to swimming instead of your choice of exercise class. Great idea to have not even for just exercising, but drowning prevention. Unfortunately it was complained to be a racist rule so it no longer is required.


It’s not new at all! When I was in college 20 years ago, all Chinese colleges used to have a lot of similar non-academic criteria bound to students’ diplomas, such as running speed, throwing distances, pull-up times, swimming scores (south), skating scores (north), and so on. If you fail for any of them, you won’t be issued a diploma. It was a SOVIET system.

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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