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Leslie's Swimming Pool Games

Welcome to the latest edition of Leslie’s Games! Bring out your competitive side, and have a little fun with an exciting lineup of swimming pool games! Whether alone or in a group, there’s a little something for swimmers of all ages.

Chicken Fights

chicken fights swimming pool game

Mount your magnificent steed and ride into battle! Er, we mean, grab your chicken and start kickin’! Or something like that. To play Chicken Fights, all you need are a pair of rideable floating chickens. The object of this swimming pool game is to knock your opponent off balance so they fall into the water.

You can either start at opposite sides of the pool, or start close together on the count of three. Use your feet, legs, body, or chicken float to jostle your opponent and knock them off balance. No forceful hitting, punching, or kicking allowed!

If only two people are playing, keep track of the battles to determine the winner. The first one to earn five points wins the round! If multiple people play, set up a bracket to crown the overall champion. Within each bracket, the first player to earn three points proceeds to the next round.

Pool Pong

floating swimming pool game pool pong board

This one’s sure to be a hit at your next pool party. Who doesn’t love a fun game of pool pong?! With the Floating Pong Game by Park Play, you can put your accuracy skills to the ultimate test. 

The rules are very simple. You’ll need at least two people to play, but four people (two on each team) is way more fun. Grab at least 20 cups to stack in a triangle formation at each end of the floating pong board, and have at least two ping pong balls ready to go. If you’re just playing for fun, put about an inch or two of pool water in the bottom of the cups to keep the ping pong balls from bouncing out. On the other hand, if this is a drinking game, you can still use pool water in the cups. However, you'll drink from your own separate container as cups are removed from play. Just remember, no glass cups or bottles in or near the pool — plastic or aluminum only!

Each team gets two shots per turn. The goal is to get their ping pong ball into one of the opponent’s cups. With two players on a team, each person takes one shot per turn. If the ball lands in a cup, that cup is removed from play. Once one team clears all the cups from their opponent’s side of the table, the opposing team has one last opportunity to send this swimming pool game into overtime. As long as there are one or two cups left on the table, they may take another turn to attempt to clear the cups. However, if they miss their first or second redemption shot, their turn is over and they lose the game.

swimming pool pong game

Alternate Pool Pong Rules

The fun part about this game is that you can write your own rules. Different regions have their own spin on this game of accuracy, and holding the game in the swimming pool brings its own unique set of challenges. Here are a few examples of alternate rules you can use for this game:

  • During a turn, if both shots land in the cups, the team can take one additional shot as a reward for accuracy.
  • If the ball bounces on the table before reaching the cups, the opposing team can try to swat the ball away. Otherwise, no interference allowed.
  • When the arrangement of remaining cups is staggered, teams reserve the right to ask for a re-stack to bring the cups closer together. Only two re-stacks are allowed per team per game, so use them wisely!

Slam Dunk

If you’re looking for the perfect all-in-one swimming pool game, you need to get your hands on the Swimways 3-in-1 Basketball, Volleyball, and Paddleball Game. Whether you have two players or a whole pool full of people, it doesn’t take much to get going with this aquatic take on classic sports.

swimming pool basketball game

Pool Basketball

For basketball, the goal is to score points by getting the ball into the basket. Each basket counts for two points. However, you can pick a point in the pool that counts for three points, if you want. Besides, who doesn’t crave an extra challenge?! If someone gets fouled (or dunked) by the opposing team, they have the option to take a free-throw shot for one point. With pool basketball, set your own rules for how this swimming pool game ends. It could be based on which team scores the most points in 20 minutes. Or maybe it's the first team to reach 50 points, or the most points scored over four quarters. It's up to you!

volleyball game in swimming pool

Pool Volleyball

Volleyball rules are a little different in the way points are scored. The serving team volleys the ball over the net to the opposing team to start playing. The two teams bounce the ball back and forth across the net with their hands or arms. If there is a fault or the ball lands in the water, this signals the end of the rally. This is also when points are earned.

If the ball lands in the water, the opposite team scores a point. Also, if it lands on the pool deck (out of bounds), the last team to touch the ball forfeits a point to the opposing team. If any other faults happen (more than three consecutive hits by a team, one player contacting the ball twice in a row, touching the net, etc.) the team that did not make an error scores the point. The team who wins the point serves the next ball, and players rotate clockwise each time the serving side changes back to their team. The first team to 15 points wins the game! To level the playing field, teams should switch sides between games.

swimming pool paddleball game

Pool Paddleball

You need two players to play this game. Using a paddle and ping pong ball, players bounce the ball back and forth across a net. Just like with volleyball, you score points when the ball lands in the water on the opposing side, or whenever there’s a fault caused by your opponent. The person who scores the point serves the next round. The first person to score a certain amount of points wins the round. Most often, the winner of the round is the first to earn five points, but you can set your own guidelines for the tournaments in your pool.

Noodle Tennis

pool noodles floating in water

If you have a volleyball net, two pool noodles, and an inflatable beach ball, you’re all set for this next game! The rules are similar to regular tennis. However, the beach ball is your tennis ball, the noodles are your rackets, and the pool deck is your sideline. Flip a coin to determine which player serves first.

Points are scored if you land the ball in the water on your opponent’s side, or if your opponent hits the ball out of bounds. The game is over when one player scores four points. Then the players will switch sides to start a new game. This helps even the playing field, especially if you’re playing in a pool with a sloped floor. Players will continue playing games and switching sides until a player has won six games. They are the winner of the set. If multiple people are playing the game, the winner of the set will move forward in the bracket to play in the final championship match.

Diving Contest

swimming pool diving contest and game

This test of endurance and coordination is a classic swimming pool game. To play, you can use just about any type of diving toy — fun torpedo-shaped toys, squirmy squids, brightly colored dive rings and dive sticks, and so much more. Rules depend on the depth of your pool.

If you have a pool depth that’s safe for diving, toss the toys in the deep end. Start the timer for each contestant to see who can collect their diving toy(s) and return to the surface the fastest.

If it’s not safe to dive into the pool, toss the toys in random places, and have the competitors start in the water in the same location, such as the steps. You can either time each swimmer while collecting the diving toy(s), you can set a specific amount of time to collect as many toys as possible, or you can set it up like a relay race with multiple people. There are so many ways to turn these bright, colorful pool toys into a bit of competitive fun.

motorized pool float

Professional Sunbathing

Now here’s a game we can all get behind! Who can relax the most? Bring out the cold refreshments, slather on some tanning lotion (or sunscreen), and grab your favorite pool lounge. It's time to soak up some vitamin D!

Competition rules can vary based on many different categories — best swimsuit, coolest pool float, most cohesive theme, etc. If you want to turn it into a race, grab a couple of motorized pool lounges, and race your friends around the pool while you catch a tan.

Leslie's red, white, and blue pool volleyball

So, what are you waiting for? Start up the opening ceremonies, pick your teams, and let the swimming pool games begin! For an increased sense of camaraderie, wear colors to support your team, or wear color-coordinating swimsuits.

If you’re watching the United States swimming team compete in international swimming pool competitions abroad, show your support with red, white, and blue pool accessories! We have patriotic volleyballs, pool floats, hats, inflatable coolers, and so much more to choose from.

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Leslie’s makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and Leslie’s assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Leslie’s assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.