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Swanee

Self aware since 2014
pilot
None
Contributor
I think there is a strong correlation between those who were fortunate enough to learn comfort in the water and swimming as a life skill from their parents growing up and passing the swim phys stuff at both TBS and API.

If you grew up swimming it was just some fun stuff to do in the water.
 

Meyerkord

Well-Known Member
pilot
Good survey!

When I did the dunker initially in API, it was a lot of fun (strong swimmer, lots of experience in the water). When I did it during advanced, I actually struggled quite a bit using the bottle. My body just wouldn't allow me to take a breath when I was upside down with water-filled sinuses. I feel like if I had more time to practice it would be better, maybe doing some SCUBA diving or something , but for the training I basically just ended up holding my breath and barely using the bottle if I felt myself start to lock up.

I go back for another refresher in a couple weeks. We'll see if it's any different this time around 🤷‍♂️
 

johnboyA6E

Well-Known Member
None
I agree with the above posts. If you were in the water a lot as a kid, and grew up swimming , jumping off rocks, dunking your buddies and holding them underwater, swimming under boats, capsizing sailboats etc etc, then the helo dunker was fun. - a little less fun with the blackout goggles , but not scary.

But if you were never around the water, or if you only swam straight and level in a pool once in a while, then i can see why it might be terrifying

Interesting note from an above post about changing the order of classroom vs pool training. When I went through it back in the 90s, I was more nervous in the classroom before the pool. Once in the water it was fine.
 
I remember being nervous about the dunker before I did it for the first time. Thereafter, I haven't felt much anxiety about it, and actually find it to be kind of fun. Tread and float is a different matter. I feel close to death the first 15-20 seconds of doing that every time.
Tread and float seems to be another common exercise to have anxiety for. I'll look into the other water exercises for my writing portion. Thanks!
 
good survey for an interesting topic. Two thoughts:

First is I don’t think you need to be a strong swimmer, you just need to not freak out when you swallow a little water or go past what you think is running out of breath. I remember listening to a SEAL talk at school about the knot tying portion of BUD/S. His view was your body had another minute at least of Oxygen past what you think is your limit, and if you run out you will pass out and the instructors will pull you off the bottom of the pool. Obviously that is a batshit extreme mentality on why he is a SEAL, but if you learn to be comfortable under water you can get through swim Phys.
second, pretty much to a person, all my friends that dread the helo dunker during our 4-year rehack, had a bad experience with it in API.

Anywhoo, good luck on the study and would be interested in reading the final product!
That is some extreme mentality. That reminds me of a different SEAL story regarding the "40% Rule".

That's a really interesting note about individuals who had a bad experience with dunking at API. I'll definitely want to look into that and include something about it in my write-up, thank you. And I'll post a link to this thread once I graduate in August! Thanks for the interest and help in shaping this research.
 
Good survey!

When I did the dunker initially in API, it was a lot of fun (strong swimmer, lots of experience in the water). When I did it during advanced, I actually struggled quite a bit using the bottle. My body just wouldn't allow me to take a breath when I was upside down with water-filled sinuses. I feel like if I had more time to practice it would be better, maybe doing some SCUBA diving or something , but for the training I basically just ended up holding my breath and barely using the bottle if I felt myself start to lock up.

I go back for another refresher in a couple weeks. We'll see if it's any different this time around 🤷‍♂️
My body also struggled to comprehend the idea at first. I'm not sure if there is any actual research behind this, but my SCUBA instructor advised me to practice breathing through my mouth while on land the week prior. The underwater breathing apparatus did feel more natural after that. Good luck at the refresher!
 

P3 F0

Well-Known Member
None
Never had a problem with any swimming stuff other than the little API tower dive and underwater swim (didn't like that at all, held the line up for a minute, making me even more stressed, then almost passed out at the end), and for some reason, for my last swim qual of my 20 years, I could not for the life of me do the underwater "clear the surface" swim. My body just would not cooperate. Instructor basically said, "Eh, not a big deal." And I grew up swimming and swimming underwater. So, yeah, props to the guys and gals that never swam and somehow made and make their way through everything.
 

Pags

Positive Void Coefficient
pilot
Yeah, I grew up on swim teams, lifeguarding, white water kayaking, diving, surfing, sailing etc. Being a lifeguard involved a lot of teenaged shenanigans around a pool like jumping bikes into the pool, seeing if an umbrella would work as a parachute off of the high dive, full contact water polo, ending up in the pool in your clothes, etc. So after all that being upside down under water or swimming in a flightsuit wasn't a big deal. Also, the training really effectively builds you up to it via the chair (which is way worse than the drunker).
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
Count me as one of the people who was never had water survival anxiety and that I grew up swimming.

I never swam competitively but I did first learn to swim at summer camp (Grandpa taught me how to keep my fingers together and other important basics), the local school board had swimming lessons as part of the standard curriculum, we also went to open swim/kid swim the Y on Saturday mornings for a while, and some good family friends had a nice backyard pool with a 8' deep end.

I've heard about the connection between urban poverty and non swimmers and I know it's a real thing. It's something that leaves me scratching my head a bit and feeling kinda sad though- my own hometown was in economic decline when I was growing up yet there were still opportunities for every kid to swim. Some kids had more opportunity but all kids at least had adequate opportunity, so it's a shame when I hear about cities that just don't make it work.

Early on in the Navy one of my friends set me straight about non swimmers who join the Navy. I thought it was pretty funny but he pointed out those guys and gals have guts for joining, which they do, and that deserves a lot of respect.
 

zipmartin

Why do I keep getting messages from Hoveround?
pilot
Contributor
An old, non-swimmer prior to joining the Navy chiming in. I went through AOCS in '76 and was on "sub-swim", as it was called then, almost my whole time in P-cola. The sub-surface survival exercises were a killer for me. Just couldn't relax enough or hold my breath long enough. Twice a week I had to march to the swim tank after evening chow for remedial swim classes. I did master the treading water part and learned how to relax and did OK with that, though. The Dilbert Dunker was actually fun for me and I did enjoy that and the "slide for life" out in the bay. The helo dunker didn't come on the scene til late in my career and I actually escaped ever having to do it, due to it being inop when my swim qual was due for renewal.

Back to P-cola and AOCS. Candidate "J" and myself were the only two in our class struggling with swim. One day, just before evening chow time, our names rang out over the intercom to report to our DI's office immediately. We ran down, performed our office entry, and proceeded to stand at attention in front of his desk. He then proceeded to explain he wanted to help us since we were having difficulty mastering some of the swim requirements. We relaxed a bit and started thinking he might have a heart after all. He asked if we had to do a stroke that incorporated a frog kick. When we responded yes, he immediately shouted, "Frog f***ers begin!!!" As we went to the floor and began performing burpees, he circled us, lecturing us about not trying hard enough, being lazy, etc. After several minutes, the lecture stopped. Afraid to piss him off, we continued our exercises til we lay in our own pools of sweat in the middle of his office wood floor, exhausted. Expecting to hear his voice resume the lecture, we lay there panting, looking at each other. Silence. We slowly sat up and looked around. Nobody around. We rose to our feet and peaked out the door and down the passageway. Nobody in sight. We went back across to the other side of his office and looked out the window to where his car was always parked. The space was empty! He went home that evening, most likely laughing all the way at his subjects PT-ing in his empty office. We never heard another word about that, and we both passed several swim tests on the last day and graduated with our class, so I guess his instructional technique was successful.
 

Notanaviator

Well-Known Member
An old, non-swimmer prior to joining the Navy chiming in. I went through AOCS in '76 and was on "sub-swim", as it was called then, almost my whole time in P-cola. The sub-surface survival exercises were a killer for me. Just couldn't relax enough or hold my breath long enough. Twice a week I had to march to the swim tank after evening chow for remedial swim classes. I did master the treading water part and learned how to relax and did OK with that, though. The Dilbert Dunker was actually fun for me and I did enjoy that and the "slide for life" out in the bay. The helo dunker didn't come on the scene til late in my career and I actually escaped ever having to do it, due to it being inop when my swim qual was due for renewal.

Back to P-cola and AOCS. Candidate "J" and myself were the only two in our class struggling with swim. One day, just before evening chow time, our names rang out over the intercom to report to our DI's office immediately. We ran down, performed our office entry, and proceeded to stand at attention in front of his desk. He then proceeded to explain he wanted to help us since we were having difficulty mastering some of the swim requirements. We relaxed a bit and started thinking he might have a heart after all. He asked if we had to do a stroke that incorporated a frog kick. When we responded yes, he immediately shouted, "Frog f***ers begin!!!" As we went to the floor and began performing burpees, he circled us, lecturing us about not trying hard enough, being lazy, etc. After several minutes, the lecture stopped. Afraid to piss him off, we continued our exercises til we lay in our own pools of sweat in the middle of his office wood floor, exhausted. Expecting to hear his voice resume the lecture, we lay there panting, looking at each other. Silence. We slowly sat up and looked around. Nobody around. We rose to our feet and peaked out the door and down the passageway. Nobody in sight. We went back across to the other side of his office and looked out the window to where his car was always parked. The space was empty! He went home that evening, most likely laughing all the way at his subjects PT-ing in his empty office. We never heard another word about that, and we both passed several swim tests on the last day and graduated with our class, so I guess his instructional technique was successful.
This should definitely end up in your thesis, @erauresearcher.
 
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