Swimming

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by MMA19kid, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. MMA19kid

    MMA19kid Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm really bad with swimming, and even somewhat nervous while trying to swim a lot of the time. I'm currently at the academy I have to take swimming text tri-mester, I'm doing OK with other courses this tri-mester. I dont think I will able to pass the swimming class next trimester which is STCW so i have to have a passing grade to get a license. Attempting to swim is basically hellish for me and from looking at the required tests i have to pass it seems as though I'm destined to fail. my question is should I save myself the time and effort and drop out now ? if Im going to fail a required class like Swimming.

    I like all of the other stuff at the academy except swimming.

    please someone with experience on if they will actually fail me if I'm not good. and no "You should have known this would happen since its a maritime school" responses.

    thank you.
     
  2. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    It is all in your head. Get an attitude that you will excel in swimming. Not sure what the requirements are these days, but when I was there, it was basic swimming skills, i.e. treading water and swimming under the water a certain distance. You will most likely not have to become an Olympic class swimmer. Go check the skills needed for STCW and practice those in your "spare" time. . . .
     
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  3. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Agree with Cmakin. I was in the beginner swimming class at West Point. We called it "Plebe Drowing." We spend about first half of the class getting comfortable being underwater. We started off with holding the edge of the pool and lowering ourselves under water, then to just lettting ourselves down to the bottomm (shallow end). We also had to jump off of 10 meter diving board. I never got comfortable, but just managed to control my "fear" of being under water. Just think, you will be in a pool.
     
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  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    MMA19, didn't go to USMMA, but USNA had lots of swim classes. We had our share of "rocks." First off, work on the mental game. Get an attitude that you can do this no matter what. You won't drown. There are teachers, coaches, lifeguards around to make sure that doesn't happen. Second, find the swim coach, teacher, etc and set up time for extra swimming. They can help with technique and get you doing things properly. Swim daily, get comfortable in the water. Find someone on the swim team and get them to help you. Honestly, just getting out there and doing this daily will raise your confidence and skill. This is something that you can improve and work on. I have seen folks go from not being able to swim to passing all the USNA requirements. Not sure what USMMA's are, but USNA we have swim class for like 3 semesters. Hang in there, you got this.
     
  5. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    Go talk to the instructor now and see what he/she recommends and what your options are should you not be able to pass. Can you do all the classroom but take an incomplete and make up the swimming section with a later class? You need the STCW before sea-year so your split will be the driving issue for you. Incompletes can be a valuable tool ... I took an incomplete in another class as a plebe and made it up as a senior.

    I will guarantee that you are not the first swimmingly-challenged person to go through the Academy.
     
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  6. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    As a volunteer swim instructor, I include plenty of confidence building exercises for adult learners. If you can get a pair of swim fins, it may help you to feel more confident as you increase your ability to do some lap swimming.
    My students go from 5 minutes of swimming to 30 with fins.

    Keep swimming, it is a great lifetime sport. You can do it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
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  7. MMA19kid

    MMA19kid Member

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    Well I'm not in the class yet, so I dont really have an instructor. I'm going to be in basic swimming next tri. And I can swim the distance of the pool without drowning, but my technique is terribly terrible probably the worst in the class of 19, and I can't tread water for more than 4 or 5 minutes. which obviously doesnt meet STCW requirements. Swimming is probably the hardest thing for me although a physics exam today kinda smoked me.

    unfortunate i didnt forsee this happening before i came.
     
  8. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    If you think you're going to fail, you probably will. You can't tread water NOW, but you will by the end of the trimester. Why is this class different from your approach to any other class? NavyHoops gave you great real-life do-able advice. Like her, I remember my share of classmates who were also rocks (could not swim AT ALL). A good friend of mine could not swim AT ALL during plebe summer, but he graduated and commissioned, for which he had to complete the "40-year swim" (google it!). Sorry, but we've seen too many of our friends and classmates succeed to let you talk us into believing you can't do it!:cool:

    Learning to swim is NO DIFFERENT than learning physics. You don't know how to do something now, you take a class, you approach it with a sincere attitude that you CAN learn, and you do it. You mentioned you got smoked by a physics exam. You going to give up? Convinced you'll never learn physics? Gonna bail? OF COURSE NOT. I will bet you folding money that you're already thinking about how to study harder or smarter or with other people (that geeky guy who sits behind you has it going on - ask him), seeing your prof for extra instruction, finding some extra physics problems on the web to do... . Whatever you're planning, it's the same for swimming. You may not know what you need to do now, but you'll find that out during the class. And, just like physics, you'll do what you need to do to meet STCW standards to get your license.

    Unless you want to let a pool full of crummy water stop you from, you know, a career that you like so far.

    But I'm a dyslexic biology professor, what do I know??
     
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  9. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Taking you at your word that you like all the other stuff at the academy except swimming, then my answer to your question is - "HECK NO" do NOT "save yourself the time and effort and "drop out now". That said it's likely this (passing swimming) will not be the last thing that looks "daunting" between you and graduation. So please, put your head down and drive hard toward your goal of graduation.

    My advice for you right now on this current challenge is four items: 1) From your description of your current situation is you are likely a "natural sinker" while most of us are naturally more bouyant, this affects your swimming and you have to keep your body moving forward through the water faster or "tread water" harder than those of us who float better. 2) It's likely that because of your situation you fight the water more than a little re: "my technique is terribly terrible" - you will indeed get better with practice and instruction though your "glide" will always be shorter than someone who naturally floats - don't let that bother you or make you afraid to glide at least a little - it will help you keep your face under the water longer rather than frantically rotate your shoulders, etc which then amplifies all sorts of bad technique items that are making it harder for you to confidently swim lengths of the pool. 3) As far as treading water two subitems here - a) find someone the best would be a water polo player to show you how to do the "egg-beater" kick properly - it's likely you have muscular legs (low body fat is a typical trait for "natural sinkers") that will help a lot and b) find someone who can teach you the "survival float" now - it's likely both will give you mo confidence in your ability to get through the upcoming required swimming class and required SCTW test. 4) Find a swimmer (remember the real KP Motto while your enrolled at the Academy - Graduation Through Cooperation!) in your class whose been a lifeguard preferably one who has a WSI (Water Safety Instructor) certification who will go with you to the pool during a day or two a week for a while and help you work on item 2), 3a) and 3b) above.

    At the end of the day I'm betting doing those items will all help you get the capability and confidence you need to be less stressed about the upcoming swimming course and be comfortable in making the decision to stay and continue to follow the path towards successful graduation.

    Good Luck and hang in there!
     
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  10. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    As Jasperdog stated above, there will be lots of challenges that you didn't see coming before graduation. Oh, and here is a bit of news, even more of them AFTER graduation. . . .
     
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  11. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    MMA19kid

    Just wanted to acknowledge you for reaching out to the forums for some help. Perhaps learning to swim may end up being your biggest accomplishment at the Academy. In the future, you might want to reaching out to organizations that need people like you who have overcome their water fears to serve others. Your story will be very powerful, authentic and helpful to others.

    As other posters suggested, keep learning by reading, watching videos and making it a science. Perhaps you can even do a science project on the science of swimming. Also, dedicate your goal to become a stronger swimmer to someone you admire or a higher cause. Your new thoughts will slowly overtake your current negative thoughts.

    Here are some of the organizations that I suggest you check out for inspiration and knowledge.

    National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA)

    Chapters of the NDPA Map (Includes a Long Island Chapter - yes, you can become involved).

    US Masters Adult Learn-to-Swim (ALTS)

    Just so you know, I know about that fear you are talking about, but in a little different way. Even though I have been a competitive swimmer since I was a kid, there were times I wanted to quit swimming because of tragedies that I witnessed, including watching my brother drown in Hawaii. But I made a decision at age 15 to become involved in water safety programs and return to the water, which included getting back on my surfboard and winning some surf competitions in some scary surf. :)

    One of the reasons I volunteer to teach adults who have major fears of water to swim is to honor my brother. Hope this post will help you. Please let us all know your progress and accomplishments.
     
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  12. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    One of our sponsor sons at USNA was an Aqua Rock. As captain of the track team and sprint record-setter, he joked he could walk across the bottom of the pool faster than he could swim it. He nearly left the Academy after 3/c year, dreading upcoming test swims. With encouragement from many, he gave up a summer leave block and hit the pool three times a day, staying at the Academy. He sought out a SEAL company officer who taught him some tricks about not fully expelling air to maintain buoyancy. He asked the swim coach for tips on form and workout routines. He asked buddies to go with him and just horse around in the pool so he could get more comfortable. He went to the counseling center to get help on visualizing success in the pool and mental routines to keep the fear at bay. He told himself he could do it. And he did. He later told me overcoming his swim challenge was something he was most proud of at the Academy, not his success in track, because that came easily to him. Above all, he wanted to be a Marine, and he figured no devil dawg would be stopped by a little water.
     
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  13. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I'm sure you know or can easily find out who is currently instructing the course. You do not need to be currently in the class to talk to them. I would think they would be very happy to help someone they may get in the future.
     
  14. MMA19kid

    MMA19kid Member

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    I have remedial swim tomorrow with the academy's head swim coach. The thing about incompletes could be a temporary fix. but I ultimately have to have a C or better to go to sea, and sea year is coming pretty soon 1st tri of sophomore year if I am B split or the next if I'm A. Plus theres another swimming class, called aquatic survival that's probably also STCW. cant help but think this was all a mistake, and I should just go now and not waste anymore of my life pursuing something that wont come to fruition
     
  15. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    Don't psyche yourself out. Remember, it is swimming CLASS, there to teach you how to swim, not swimming TEST. . . . There will be bigger challenges than swimming when it comes to getting out of there with a license.
     
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  16. MMA19kid

    MMA19kid Member

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    definitely know that might be true first hand, a 1/C Midshipman got dis-enrolled for not doing his sea projects, now he just hangs around campus. even the superintendents son isnt graduating with his class for some reason...but then again, a license from going to a state academy is just as good as one from going to KP.
     
  17. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    "It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." Theodore Roosevelt
     
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  18. MMA19kid

    MMA19kid Member

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    This is actually not true, my coach said that I'm a natural floater. But my technique is still terrible.
     
  19. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    All right. You've received lots of good and practical information about how specifically to take action about this, yet you're still absolutely convinced you're stewed. So, after 18 posts - five from you and 13 encouraging - I'm left wondering, what is your purpose for posting? If the practical actions we've suggested haven't even got you considering a different perspective and you're still as convinced you're going to fail as you were on Sunday afternoon when you started this thread, then... what do you want from us?
     
  20. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    Still hanging around after being disenrolled? Interesting. . . as far as not graduating with your original class, not a new thing at all. Quite a few on the 5 year plan. In my class, we had the Turn brothers. One started the year before and was set back. So, of course they were called Turn and ReTurn. . . . And getting that license from a state school? Yeah, it isn't any less shinier than one from KP. It IS a lot more expensive and you will still have to pass swimming over there, too. . . .
     

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