Swimming In Coast Guard Boot Camp
Okay ladies and gents, here is the inside scoop on swimming in Coast Guard Boot Camp. First of all, you really don't swim that much while you're there. What it comes down to is that they want to make sure that the recruits they graduate have basic swimming ability. You don't have to be an all-star swimmer, BUT you do have to know how to swim. If your swimming technique needs work or is non-existent, then you my friend, need to take swimming lessons. Sorry to tell you but there is no other way around it.
Find a local YMCA or if you are already in touch with a recruiter, see if they can get you a guest pass to a nearby military base and take lessons there. It goes without saying that you should first call the base and get the phone number to their swimming pool area so you can find out if they offer swimming lessons.
I'm not sure how common it is, but I took swimming lessons to learn the combat side stroke at my local military base so hopefully you'll be able to do the same. You don't need to know combat side stroke by the way. As of the time of this writing, the Coast Guard allows you to use a wide variety of swim strokes to pass the swim portion of the test. The only thing (to my knowledge) that you can't do is swim underwater. Basically it's either breast, freestyle, or side stroke.
The swim test itself isn't too bad if you start practicing now. I honestly hadn't been in the water for at least 6 months prior to arriving at Cape May and I passed it with no problem. The official description says that you need to swim 100 meters in 5 minutes. That's the description. In practice, what actually happens is that you and some of your shipmates will jump off of a platform into the water and you'll all swim the perimeter of the pool. When you arrive back to your starting point, you'll continue to swim until you get approximately halfway up the length of the pool and then you're done.
Even though it's technically timed, in reality as long as you keep moving forward you'll be fine. Don't worry about the time, just worry about moving forward. When I was there, they weren't "form-nazis", but at the same time you can't doggie paddle your way through the thing either.
After you finish the swim part you sit in the bleachers waiting for your shipmates to finish. When everyone is done they will make you jump back in the water to do the tread water test which very few people fail. I had a decent amount of people in my company fail the swim portion of the test but no one failed the treading water part.
Aside from the swim test itself, you really won't be swimming in Coast Guard Boot Camp that much. Maybe like 6-8 times. If you're entering the DEPOT program you won't be doing any swimming at all except for the swim test itself. The exception to this is if you fail the swim test. You'll then have to wake up at 0415 (4:15am) instead of 0530 (5:30am) so you can go down to the pool for remedial swim. Yes this sucks, but as long as you know how to swim decently, the test isn't something you really have to train for like with the running and the exercising. They don't time you in the same way like with the running so it's not like you need to train to put up better numbers. Like I said, they basically want to make sure that you are comfortable in the water and can swim around if required to. Because of this, I don't include swimming in the custom training programs.
The bottom line is just make sure you are a decent swimmer, test yourself at least once to make sure you can swim the required distance, and you'll be fine.
I hope you enjoyed reading this lesson on swimming in Coast Guard Boot Camp and that you learned something from it. You can return to the Physical Preparation Page to check out some more FREE lessons on Coast Guard Boot Camp Training. You can also learn more about how to score yourself a FREE copy of the Coast Guard Boot Camp Fitness Success Program by clicking on the link below. Oh, and if you found this lesson helpful, please consider spreading the love to others who you think would benefit from it.
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