Photo Information

Sgt. Eric I. Pressman, Marine Combat Instructor Trainer of Water Survival, Instructional Training Company, Support Battalion, removes a recruit from the pool during Swim Week aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Aug. 19. Recruits are removed from the pool if they fail to complete an event with proper technique or for safety reasons.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Pedro Cardenas

Co. C plunges into Swim Week

21 Aug 2013 | Lance Cpl. Pedro Cardenas

The Marine Corps is always closely connected with the water, whether at home or forward deployed. It is during the fourth week of recruit training that recruits are introduced to the amphibious nature of the Corps.

Recruits of Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, plunged into the pool during Swim Week aboard the depot Aug. 19.

Swim Week is used to certify that recruits can swim and help those who cannot through remediation. Combat Water Survival basic qualification is a graduation requirement, which recruits must pass to continue their training.

“Every Marine needs to know how to bring themselves to safety. They need to know how to conduct a self rescue,” said Sgt. Eric I. Pressman, Marine Combat Instructor Trainer of Water Survial, Instructional Training Company, Support Battalion. “Whether swimming to shore (while wearing combat utilities) or shedding their gear, every Marine needs to be swim qualified.”

Swim qualification begins with a 25-meter swim across the pool. Then, recruits must jump off a 10-foot tower using the abandon ship technique which requires keeping their bodies straight while crossing their arms and ankles. Once they are submerged in the water, recruits swim 25 meters to safety.

Next, recruits tread water for a total of four minutes. Recruits then move to the shallow end of the pool where they must shed a rifle, helmet and vest while underwater in a time limit of 10 seconds. Lastly, recruits jump in the water and drag a service pack for 25-meters, which concludes the test.

All events are performed while wearing combat utility uniforms and boots.

If at any point recruits begin to show signs of panic, struggle or don’t perform the proper technique they are removed from the pool. A Marine Combat Instructor of Water Survival will teach them how to properly perform the technique, according to Pressman.

If they fail at the end of the remediation process, recruits are dropped to the next training company. After the third attempt, recruits who fail are dismissed from recruit training according to Pressman.

Some recruits come to recruit training with little swimming experience and, even though some have swam competitively, combat swimming can be different as it requires proper technique and efficiency.

“I was struggling because I wasn’t breathing properly, it was difficult,” said Recruit Cody M. Burnett, Platoon 1051, a native of St. Louis. “I’m from the Midwest so this was a new experience swimming with boots, gear on and different weights.”

Recruits obtain the Combat Water Survival basic qualification during recruit training with the possibility of earning intermediate or advanced qualifications once they get to the Fleet Marine Force.

Co. C conquered the pool and learned first-hand the amphibious history of the Marine Corps. Marines deploy aboard naval vessels, therefore, it is imperative for them to be swim qualified.

“The Marine Corps, at its core, is an amphibious force by nature,” said Burnett. “It is essential for a basically trained Marine to be able to operate in an aquatic environment.”