Navy SWCC training is undoubtedly tough; it tests students mentally and physically. It’s designed to be a suckfest, especially its Basic Crewman Selection (BCS) portion. Being a member of the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community means you have to be equally comfortable in the water, on land, and in the air. Feeling at home in all three of these environments is not very normal for any human being. There’s plenty of SEALs and SWCCs who are scared of heights or would prefer not to swim miles in pitch dark water, but they find a way to get it done.

Water competency and the relative comfort of being in the water is a paramount requirement for making it through SWCC training. SWCCs specialize in maritime special operations, which makes it no surprise that water evolutions are an integral part of the SWCC pipeline.

Individuals planning on entering the SWCC pipeline must recognize the need to learn how to be comfortable in the water in less than ideal conditions. Not only are SWCC students subjected to long and tiresome swimming evolutions in the pool and ocean, but they are also tested on their water competency. This comes in the form of water survival training, water rescue, treading exercises, and various underwater activities. These evolutions test students physically and mentally, pushing them way past their comfort level. There are times that students probably feel like they’re going to drown or that they can’t go any further — they have to push past these barriers.

SWCC Water Competency: Being Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
SWCC students undergoing underwater competency training. (DVIDS)

I always felt that these water evolutions were the ultimate mediator for everyone. I saw a lot of people quit in the pool. They freaked out in the water and didn’t stay calm, which only caused the instructors to be harder on them. By panicking, students end up failing their training evolution. This results in being rolled back or removed from training.