JJ was prepared mentally. She’d been lucky enough to have a former Navy SEAL instructor as a swim coach. He’d beat the shit out of her and her team physically and mentally to the point that she knew the game and was thankful for it.

“Bring it on,” she thought…

Initially, she and Olga had been split up into different boat crews. But in Week Four the class had to be reshuffled into groups of seven-person boat crews based on height (since they had to carry the boats on your head). JJ and Olga had been matched up in the same crew because both were around 5’9″ inches, a little above average for the class. Amanda, at almost six feet tall, was in boat crew number one with the tallest of the class. 

One thing the women talked about during their routine of after-class nightly dinners or coffee meetings was how average the class looked four weeks into training. 

The candidates definitely did not look like what Hollywood depicts on a movie poster. Most of them were of average height and weight and you could’ve passed them on the street and never known.

After four punishing weeks, the class had started to bond. Most were too afraid to get close in the beginning for fear of making friends with someone who’d quit and be gone in an hour and nobody wanted to be next to a quitter. The women, especially, seemed to get it even worse, Soon enough, though, most of the weakest in the class were gone as Hell Week was about to kick off.

One thing that had surprised JJ was that the instructors did not go easy on anyone, especially them. Actually, they got it worse, much worse.

They came hard and fast 24/7 at the entire class and if they sniffed out any weakness or a crack in character, they exploited it as much as they could.