One of the many reasons why I chose to join the Navy is because of my inability to swim. Weird, right? But, true. I was in my late twenties and never learned how to swim. I thought that if I joined the Navy I would finally learn to swim because you to HAVE to know how to swim to be in the Navy.
I told my recruiter up front that I didn’t know how to swim and he suggested that I begin getting swim lessons immediately before going to DCOIC or Direct Commission Officer Indoctrination Course.
This is a 2-week intense course that teaches new officers in the Navy reserves everything they need to know as a new officer. The course requires a passing score of written test and a swimming test.
I got lessons like the recruiter suggested but I still didn’t feel comfortable swimming after five lessons.
I traveled during the winter to DCOIC, not confident in my swimming ability. One of the first days at DCOIC is the swim test. The first part of the swim test requires you climbing up a ladder to jump off a platform into the pool.
Climbing up the ladder to the top of the platform
I climbed up the ladder fine, but my classmate in front me was in the same position as me. He didn’t know how to swim well, but the only difference is he had more guts than me. He jumped into the water and I remember looking down and feeling like it was a long way down.
Then I noticed it took my classmate a while to come back up to the surface like everyone else. No one else seemed to think too much of it and looked normal.
Finally, he popped back up to the surface and he was flailing in the like fish out of water. Something was wrong and the expert swimmers in the pool began to swim towards him to get him out of the pool.
When I saw this I freaked out. I wasn’t about to jump in that pool! I kid you not I began to cry and I remember the instructor stand next to me looked at me like I had two heads and told me to get down.
I officially failed and that took me from scare out of my mind to disappointment and anger at myself. I came all the way out here away from my husband and son so that I could officially become a Naval officer and I failed.
Shortly after, one of the swim instructors came up to me and told me that it was okay and I would have to take the remedial class first thing at 5 am in the morning before our regularly scheduled classes.
Beginning remedial swim classes
Luckily my roommate volunteer to assist the swim instructors so I did have to feel terrible about waking her up in the morning.
The first two days I didn’t accomplish much. I was able to swim across the pool, but I still had 3 other sections that I didn’t pass.
The next day, I spent most of my time with my roommate by my side like a chick following its mother. I remember I was stuck doing the dead man float and there was an instructor that sat at the edge of the pool and talked to me through everything. In no more than 15 minutes she talked me through the second section of the test and I completed it.Sometimes all you need is someone in your corner to talk you through your goals when getting stuck or feel afraid.Click To Tweet
The next part was jumping off the platform. The scary part … at least to me.
One of the instructors told me to practice jumping off the side of the pool before going up to the top of the platform. I practiced jumping off the side of the pool a few times with my roommate close by watching me.
My conversation with Chief
My chief was watching me and all of my classmates. Finally, after the third time of watching me jump into the pool, my chief called me over. I sat next to him and he asked me why I was here. I was taken back because I thought he knew I didn’t pass the swim test. So he asked me again and I realized that he was asking me why I was in the Navy.
At that time I was doing it for my son. I wanted to wear the uniform and be an example to him. Thinking about being away from my son who was only one at the time made me lose it. I started crying like a baby.
The chief looked at me like “girl get it together.” He said something else that I don’t remember because I was embarrassed about crying again. The last thing the chief said was “Now, climb up those stairs and march off that platform. You can do it.”Just like Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, get ready to take down your goals and crush them!Click To Tweet
I stood up like I was Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider about to take someone down! I walked over to that platform and remember one of the instructors looking at me like “where is she going?” I climbed up to the top of the platform by myself. Two instructors swam over to the platform ready for me just in case.
I put my right over my nose and my left hand on my elbow. Looked out again and saw my chief nod at me to go. I looked straight ahead. In my head, I said left right left and marched off the pool.
I DID IT! I floated back up to the surface and heard my classmates and everyone in the building cheering so loud for me!! I felt amazing! I finally did it and it was so much fun!
I complete the last section of the swim test with ease and next thing you know I hear the instructor say, “you’re done, go dress out.”
I really felt like Angelina Jolie when she played Lara Croft then. I was ready for the world at that point!Accomplishing that goal was such a major confidence booster for me.Click To Tweet
Accomplishing that goal was such a major confidence booster for me. I truly felt that I could accomplish anything.
Do you have a goal that you have been putting off? It is time.
Break your goal up to steps like the different sections of the swim test. After you complete each step, you will gain more momentum and eventually accomplish your goal. Then you will feel like Laura Croft after taking down the bad guys!