Swim or Be Separated

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by AquaRain, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. AquaRain

    AquaRain Member

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    To all of you in the Class of 2016, 2017, and so on...

    Here is a piece of advice that I wish someone had told me earlier. The Navy as you may or may not know is downsizing. This includes USNA and they are begining to separate people for not being able to pass certain swim tests. They are not kidding around. If you dont know how to swim Plebe year, you are in a deep hole.

    Right now I am missing 2 tests that I do not think I will be able to pass by the end of the Academic Year so I will be separated from the Academy. I did not know how to swim when I got here and even though I have learned how to, the needs of the Navy outway any individuals personal acomplishments It is horrible sittuation to be in but hey, the Navy is a business.

    Trust me you do not want to be in this sittuation.
     
  2. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I've heard that USNA is leaning much more to the "One strike, you're out" philosophy as opposed to their multiple-chances approach that became particularly prevalent under the previous administration.

    But, I have to ask: When you were applying to the Naval Academy, did it ever occur to you that your less-than-adept swimming abilities might end up presenting a problem at a Navy school on the Chesapeake?

    I had a classmate that almost got separated his last year because his failure (i.e. unwillingness) to jump off the tower which, at the time, was mandatory for graduation. He eventually jumped. It wasn't pretty.
     
  3. navyasw02

    navyasw02 Member

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    I dont see why people dont practice the physical requirements of USNA prior to applying or accepting an appointment. In a quick google search I found all the physical fitness requirements including PRT and swim requirements. It should be part of a candidate's preparations to get physically ready, not just academically ready.

    That said, I never thought USNA set people up for success physically in the admissions process. The entry PT test is a joke and isn't representative of anything at USNA or in the fleet. A Basketball throw.... really? How about we just give prospective midshipmen an actual USNA PRT in the admissions process or actual USNA swim tests or even a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd class Navy swim test? These things already exist, why doesn't USNA use them? It's frustrating to see good mids get the boot for things that don't carry over into the fleet after commissioning. That's a leadership failure right there.
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    The reason USNA uses the CFA is that it was decided among USNA, USAFA, and USMA (not sure about USMMA; USCGA has its own test) that they would come up with one test so that candidates who apply to more than one SA (and there are many) don't have to take multiple tests that -- more or less -- measure the same thing, fitness. Thus the CFA was born.

    It includes events that each SA wanted. As has been posted many times on these boards, USNA could care less about the basketball throw, but USMA wants it. So, everyone takes the whole CFA and each SA scores it as they see fit.

    As for why the standards are what they are . . . . all SAs recognize that, with a concentrated PT program -- to which not all candidates have access -- fitness will improve. So, as long as someone is reasonably fit and has a general interest in sports/fitness, the SA can and will do the rest. Once you get to an SA, it's up to you to ensure you stay fit so you can pass the test your full four years.

    Finally, as for swimming . . . USMA and USAFA could care less about swimming ability, at least to the extent USNA does. More importantly, it would be an administrative nightmare for USNA to require swimming tests as part of the application process. Let's face it, not everyone has easy access to any pool, let alone everyone having access to a lap pool of the exact same length in which to take the test. The fact is that, if you can swim when you arrive at USNA, you should be fine. You may not make As or Bs but you'll pass. If you've never swum before, you may struggle. USNA will teach you to swim but you may still struggle.

    So, for those planning to attend USNA, if you are not comfortable swimming 200m at a "reasonable pace" without stopping, you may want to take a swimming lesson at your local YMCA/YWCA, etc. before showing up. And, before someone asks, I would define a "reasonable pace" as: if someone is watching you from the pool deck, they don't think you're going to die halfway through nor are you so slow that they can have lunch before you finish. Thus, a moderate pace where you aren't struggling is ok; you need not be the second coming of Michael Phelps.

    I would agree that USNA could do a better job of making sure candidates are aware of the swim requirements. I typically discuss them with my candidates and, if they tell me they aren't comfortable in the water, suggest they might want to take a swim lesson.

    Finally, fitness is important in the fleet; there are PT standards and people get kicked out for failing. Swimming is important for some disciplines (SEALs, Navy and USMC Air) but less for others. Still, when you're a water-based service, being able to swim is probably a good idea.
     
  5. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    USCGA uses the exact same fitness test for candidates as it does for cadets.

    The only difference is the score that must be achieved.

    It seems every year there are a few who will not be commissioned due to their failure to meet the minimum commissioning score (200+).
     
  6. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    For a place where at least 3 of your 8 semesters of PE will be swimming you should probably practice before showing up. I was a terrible swimmer before coming to USNA, but there are enough resources (formal and informal) to get to the passing point.
    You know when you have swimming, and plebe year it's spring semester. If you know you're a bad swimmer, you KNOW to get with the good swimmers all first semester to work on it.
     
  7. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    If candidates are out there who can't swim, and can't afford lessons/swim memberships:
    - Many cities have lap lanes at public pools in city parks that aren't too expensive.
    - There are on-line videos of great swimmers. You can learn a lot just by watching them. There are also lots of "how to" swim books. Check your library.
    - If you can't get the coordination of doing both arm and leg motions, focus on one at a time. It's easiest to start with kicking while using a kickboard (usually available for free at a pool with lap lanes).
    - If you're scared of putting your face in the water, or you can't get the hang of breathing while turning your head to the side while swimming, practice while standing in the shower. Breathe out with your face in the shower, turn your head to the side, breathe in, then face into the full shower stream again. Once you feel relaxed doing this, try it in the pool.

    Even if you can't swim at all right now, it's not hopeless! As an example, by going to the pool daily, my Mid went from being a non-swimmer to being able to swim a mile without stopping in one year of hs, on her own. No lessons, just lots of hard work and persistence. Ended up with A's and B's in swimming at USNA, and even validated at least one semester. You can do it, too. Just don't put it off.
     
  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Best of luck to AquaRain, hope you can pass your tests.

    We have had some plebes and other sponsor mids struggle with the swimming. One in particular had never had access to a pool growing up. It was the one thing standing between him and being able to achieve his goal of being a Marine. He took his spring break and leave blocks during the summers to stay at USNA and work on his swimming, asked one of the SEAL company officers and some swim team class mates to help him come up with a swimming program, talked to the psychologist about his fears - and he bore down, giving up leave, became a pool rat, passed every test. He often says his greatest achievements at Navy, even more than some of the school records he set in his own sport, were conquering his fears of the water and gaining competency.

    Good advice to incoming plebes...if you're not comfortable with the water, see if you can't find a Y or community pool where you can take some basic lessons and lessen the discomfort.
     
  9. Candidad

    Candidad Member

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    A question for current Mids

    Do they still teach you drown-proofing at the Academy? When I was an undergrad at Georgia Tech, we were all required to take "Drownproofing" (PE 1010 if I recall). It was a famous class that I believe was set up by someone at USNA (or maybe USN) during WWII and passed along to the ROTC units. It was required for graduation whether you were in ROTC or not, and some people really dreaded it.

    We swam various strokes for grades, had to go one length of the pool underwater in one breath (I did two lengths because I was a shameless grade grubber), hold up weights while treading water forever, learned life saving techniques like how to turn a business suit into a life preserver; and for the final, were tossed fully clothed into a freezing cold pool with hands and feet trussed behind our backs. This was supposed to simulate going down in the South Pacific while on a business trip to purgatory or however that show turned out. All that was missing were the sharks, although my joker instructor played the theme to "Jaws" over the PA.

    The whole point was to relax, float and breathe on occasion. It's not like we were in 20-foot seas. If you made it through the 50 minute class period alive, you passed. I'm not sure what happened if you gave up or drowned, but that was the easiest A in my life.

    My dad taught me to swim by throwing me in a lake, so I've always been able to handle the water. I know it is tough for some. I wouldn't be afraid to get a basic swimming lesson if you need it.
     
  10. rosetapper

    rosetapper New Member

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    Practice what you Preach?

    My daughter just got her appointment to NAPS 2013. She has one big problem-she is a USA swimmer with sectional time cuts and doesn't want to accept because there are athletics at NAPS but no swim team!! That's right, the Navy Prep School has no swim team!!! Take a really good swimmer out of the pool for 10 months and you will get a swimmer who will no longer have any competitive times, and when they get to the Academy next year they will be unable to make the team. All this after working hard in their sport for 12 years!
    Come on , the Navy really should have swimming at NAPS if they expect to help cadets with their swim tests later on. It is ironic that swimming well will keep my daughter out of the Naval Academy. They don't ask football players or wrestlers to give up the sport they love, why swimmers?
     
  11. cdb3

    cdb3 Member

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    Thats a great point, a prep school with the intention to prep for the navy...has no swim team.

    however, i'm sure there is a pool and she can dedicate her little free time to practice.

    Good Luck!
     
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Probably for the best. I understand if it's a normal college, but this experience has more years tacked on after graduation.
     
  13. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Yeah they've definitely cracked down here. There are a handful of people in 2012 and 2013 who were kicked out mid-semester because they couldn't meet the 200/300 physical fitness standard.
     
  14. d.mcknight

    d.mcknight Member

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    If her BIGGEST concern in regards to college is whether or not they have a swim team, USNA probably isn't the school for her anyway.
     
  15. osdad

    osdad Member

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    Naval Station Newport has a nice pool LINK. How much time she'll have to use it is another question.

    Was she recruited for swimming at Navy? If so, then the coach thinks a red shirt year can help or they wouldn't have offered. If she wasn't, then there's little chance if making the team regardless of direct appointment or NAPS.
     
  16. rosetapper

    rosetapper New Member

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    Practice what you Preach?

    She had conversations with the coach upon visiting Annapolis, but was not actively recruited because she just achieved times comparable to Division 1 times in January, not last summer when recruiting began. She has Division 1 colleges recruiting her now, and has times comparable to some on the team at Annapolis. Her fear is that she will lose the stamina, endurance, and speed that she has worked so hard for if she doesn't get the opportunity to train at the collegiate level like the mids at Annapolis.
    I knew someone would say that if this was her main concern, she probably shouldn't be at the Academy anyway. But she works hard physically and academically--she received the Iron Woman award at NASS last summer and practically maxed out the CFA. Being an athlete is ingrained in her,she has worked at it since age 6. Since all the students must do sports, shouldnt she do the one she excels at? I doubt if the exceptional football players would take their appointments if they were told they couldnt play football after they arrived at Annapolis.
     
  17. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    There are many great athletes who were studs (and studettes) in high school who do nothing but play intramurals at the Naval Academy. You have to remember that about 95% of each incoming class participated in varsity sports. It's a Division I school and the level is rather high.

    Pretty much, unless you were recruited there is not much chance that you are going to be playing a varsity sport. Walk-ons are few and far between - just like most Div I schools.
     
  18. rosetapper

    rosetapper New Member

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    Practice what you Preach?

    Actually, she just might go to NAPS and lead a new swim program to help others pass all those future swim tests that "Swim or be Separated" was talking about.
    Also we found out that if there is a specific sport that is unique to a few, the athletic director finds that sport in the area for the student to participate in. Thingas are looking up!!
     
  19. JettAirliner

    JettAirliner USNA Appointee 2016

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    Where there's a will, there's a way! I'm sure your daughter could also contact the USNA coach for even more help.
     
  20. rosetapper

    rosetapper New Member

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    Practice what you Preach?

    yes,we thought of that today,actually! We are trying to contact him.Thanks.:smile:
     

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