Monday, October 18, 2010

Week 3 Seal PT Update - Taking on Water

In my training program, I admit I haven't graduated to wearing fatigues in the water, although I have done it when earning my Eagle Scout when my retired Army Captain Scout Master took me to a YMCA for swim testing for my swimming merit badge.  To all of you who think that was a walk in the park, here are some of the requirements: 

1) Demonstrate survival skills by jumping feet-first into deep water wearing clothes (shoes, socks, swim trunks, long pants, belt, and long-sleeved shirt). Remove shoes and socks, inflate the shirt, and show that you can float using the shirt for support. Remove and inflate the pants for support. Swim 50 feet using the inflated pants for support, then show how to re-inflate the pants while still afloat (you cannot touch the side of pool during the exercise).

2) Swim continuously for 150 yards using the following strokes in good form and in a strong manner: front crawl or trudgen for 25 yards, back crawl for 25 yards, sidestroke for 25 yards, breaststroke for 25 yards, and elementary backstroke for 50 yards.

3) Do the following:
    a. Float face up in a resting position for at least one minute.
    b. Demonstrate survival floating for at least five minutes.
    c. While wearing a properly fitted personal floatation device (PFD), demonstrate the HELP and huddle positions and explain their purposes.
   d. Explain why swimming or survival floating will hasten the onset of hypothermia in cold water.

4) In water over your head, but not to exceed 10 feet, do each of the following:
    a. Use the feet first method of surface diving and bring an object up from the bottom.
    b. Do a headfirst surface dive (pike or tuck), and bring the object up again.
    c. Do a headfirst surface dive to a depth of at least 5 feet and swim underwater for three strokes. Come to the surface, take a breath, and repeat the sequence twice.

5) Demonstrate snorkeling and scuba diving knowledge:
    a. Demonstrate selection and fit of mask, snorkel, and fins; discuss safety in both pool and open-water snorkeling.
    b. Demonstrate proper use of mask, snorkel, and fins for underwater search and rescue.
    c. Describe the sport of scuba diving or snorkeling, and demonstrate your knowledge of BSA policies and procedures relating to that sport.

I swear I felt like I was going to drown like 10 times and all for ONE merit badge of the many you are required to earn to be an Eagle Scout.  Still think it's lame?  So back to the future, things are going pretty well with the training.  I have stepped it up on the treadmill and I feel pretty good about the progress so far.  To keep my energy up, I make sure I don't miss any meals.  I also make sure my meals are as well rounded as possible.  I'm not counting carbs or calories, just making sure I eat well and avoid excess.  I also take a multivitamin in the morning and Omega3 Fish Oil.  As for the training, my current regiment looks like this:

Running: 2 miles at 8:30 pace (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
Pushups: 4 Sets of 12 with 1 minute of rest between (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
Situps: 4 Sets of 15 with 1 minute of rest between (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
Pullups: 3 Sets of 5 with 30 seconds of rest between (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
Swim continuously 5 minutes (4-5 days per week)

Notice anything about that plan??  I do.  I stink in the water.  Of course you have to factor that I run at an aggressive pace for 2 miles, complete all of the strength exercises, and THEN try to jump in the pool to swim continuously and you begin to grasp the difficulty.  My first lap is fine, seconds lap I barely make it.  After that I have to do a series of different strokes to keep going.  To make matters worse, I can't float.  I can't float at all.  For me, stopping = sinking.  In other words, I don't just merrily glide across the water.  All that said, I realize now more than ever I am in bad need of some swim tutoring.  In addition to not being able to float, I'm not good at establishing a breathing rhythm.  Between the breathing, bad form, and inability to float, I think I've identified about 70% of my problem (I hope).

So all in all, not too shabby for Week 3 but I have a ways to go before I am up to even the starting point of the official Seal PT regiment.  I say that because although I am up to speed or beyond the requirement for Week 1 of official training on land, in the water, I'm clearly struggling.  My goal is to get some assistance this week in the pool.  Check back next Monday to see how things turn out.

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