When the mercury starts rising, the siren's song of a swimming pool draws even the most introverted into the deep end. If you're going to be spending time swimming with friends and family, though, nothing adds flavor to the afternoon like a game. If you don't know any, or you're tired of playing the same old games, then consider adding some of these to your list.
#1: Dolphin Race
Chances are good you've had swimming races before, but dolphin race is only partially about who is the fastest swimmer. The rules, according to Australians and Pools, are pretty simple. Every racer begins at one end of the pool, with a ball right in front of them. They have to swim to the other side of the pool, using only their noses (or their heads in general) to push the ball ahead of them. First one to the goal wins, but if anyone is caught using their hands to move or adjust their balls, then they have to go all the way back to the starting line as a penalty.
#2: Ping Pong Madness
Sort of like an aquatic version of the classic game Hungry Hungry Hippos, this one is pretty simple to play as long as you have a bag or three of ping pong balls on-hand. Play is pretty simple, too, as Active Kids points out. All players begin at a particular starting point (at the sides of the pool, or poised to jump in), and you pour all the ping pong balls into the water. Once the balls are bobbing along, you call a start, and the participants surge out. The goal is to collect as many ping pong balls as you can, and whoever has the most when they've all been collected is declared the winner!
#3: Dolphins and Sharks
This particular game requires a lot of players, but if you've got a big family or plenty of friends it can quickly become a party favorite. First, you divide players into either sharks, or dolphins (and if you have some way to designate them, like a gray fin hat, so much the better). Once you have your two teams, you designate one person as the leader (this person is kind of like the referee, so they won't be playing according to Swimming Pool), and you declare one end of the pool the safe zone for dolphins, and the other the safe zone for the sharks. Once everyone is ready, the leader calls out one team, and they then have to swim for their safe zones while trying to avoid being tagged. The leader then randomly calls out the name of the other team, turning the tide. Also, everyone who gets tagged joins the other team when the switch happens. The game is over when everyone has been tagged, and all that's left are either entirely sharks, or entirely dolphins.
This game is particularly good for teams where no one wants to wait on the sidelines after being tagged out.
#4: Noodle Jousting
We're all familiar with the joust, that medieval sport where two knights get up on their horses, grab lances, and try to knock each other out of the saddle in a pass. If you've got a few inflatable rafts and some pool noodles lying around, then you could try noodle jousting! The way it works, according to Babble, is that each jouster gets astride their raft, takes their noodle in hand, and pushes off toward one another. The goal is to knock the other off their raft using only the noodles, but the game can get interesting if the rafts are shaped like unstable horses, or other elements are brought into play (such as NERF shields or swords for a full gladiatorial effect... though goggles are recommended, in this case).