New Combat Side Stroke Guide

Improve your swim. Use the Naval Special Warfare Combat Side Stroke Guide.

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Hoo-ya hey, did you swim today?

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  • Swim PT, seven swimmers, 0 contracted.

    WARMUP: Treading, with alternating swimmers doing a 50. A dive brick was introduced, and had to stay dry.

    Initial eval on three newer swimmers joining. Two headed for NSW and one Army 18x.


    Individual coaching on CSS and free. Identified a lot of issues, most of them pretty common ones.

    1. Not hitting a streamline at the apex of the stroke (or off the wall).

    2. "Crazy Legs." Furious, worthless kicking in the back after the scissor kick.

    3. Terrible turns.

    4. Timing issues - Pulling the first arm too soon and trying to do a 1 arm glide.

    5. Freestyle: - Shoulder internal rotation (impingement). Entering the water thumb first instead of with a natural shoulder position.



    Some races. Faster swimmers were turning CSS 100's in 1:19-1:22. Also did some "Spec Ops Medley" which is a 25 UW, 25, breast, 25, CSS, 25 free.


    This is general exercises to assess overall confidence in the water. Simple things like go to the bottom, pick up a 45# plate and hold it. Surface to breathe, then just sink back to the bottom of an 8' pool and stay there until you need to breathe again. Pass the weight after five breaths. It is very easy to spot a swimmer who is uneasy doing this. Those who have no issue can show off, and lay on the bottom with the weight on their chest.

    Brick Crawl: Two dive bricks. Crawling hand over hand on the bottom for 50Y. Bring the bricks to the surface to breathe, then get back down and keep going.

    Tire Roll: Roll the 45# on the bottom to the deep end and back. Bring it to the surface to breathe if necessary, then continue.

    Equipment Move: Two 45# plates and two dive bricks are in a defined area. Move as much equipment as you can from that area to a nearby one before surfacing.

    You would be surprised how well these work at exposing a swimmer who is uneasy in the water. If they can't complete the drill, an experienced swimmer joins them as a team mate and they do it together.


    30 Minute tread: 10 min hands up/down OTM, 10 min of surface (while treading) knot tying, 10 minutes of monkey-in-the-middle with the 10# medball.

    15 min. tread in pants with charged mask.



    • 1 Mile CSS Fin swim (36 laps in 25Y pool)



      • Swim PT, four swimmers, two contracted (one USAF PJ candidate).


        Stroke analysis work in CSS/Free/CSS-fins and Lead-arm only fin swim. Especially freestyle for the USAF swimmer. Focus on knitting the legs in with the arms for an effective two beat kick, and making pinky first entry even with or wider than shoulders to prevent crossing the centerline.

        Eggbeater treading work - probably a new video coming which will focus on flexibility for swimming (shoulders/hips).


        Staying with dive bricks at the bottom. Stand them up and surface to breathe, then get back down there.

        Up and down with the bricks, staying on the bottom until you need to breathe. 3x, then hand the bricks off to the next swimmer.


        Dive boots & pants swim races (Breast, CSS, Free). This was extraordinarily difficult.

        Team Wheel: Roll a 45# plate along the bottom and back for 10 minutes, switching off in rotation. Numerous failures, the drill was cut off at 5:00 and regrouped.

        Knot races: Five ropes at the shallow end. Swim to the deep end and back, grab a rope, go to the deep end, tie a bowline, swim back and get another. Whoever got the last rope won.


        Turn practice. Slick and with fins. Worked on leaving the bottom foot OFF the wall to use as a stomping leg to initiate momentum (also have a video on this, it's the fastest way to turn with fins).


        10 minute pants/boots/charged mask tread. If we are looking good, in complete control it stops after ten minutes. If not, it continues.

        How'd it go? It went to 16 minutes. Dive bricks showed up for the last few.


        It's hard to come up with ways to directly work at mental toughness, but I try.

        Log PT (for the three). Literally 20 minutes of nothing but up log/down log. Absolutely senseless. Annoying. Repetitive. Never ending monotony.

        The takeaway was very simple: "Did this get under your skin?" If it did, it's because you allowed it to.


        • 30 minute tread with a 10+ pound weight belt on.

          Simple, but still challenging.


          • Swim PT, four swimmers, 0 contracted

            Testing day. NSW PT times swam were: 8:02, 8:18. USAF 500M: 9:19

            Turn practice. Some of the turns on the PST/PAST were terrible. We worked on fin turns too. It's a completely different technique.


            46+ minute tread with weight:

            0-25min: Fin tread with 9# bars held up between two swimmers. Pyramid ladder of holding it up 1 min, down 1 min, up 2 min, down 1 min, up 3 min , down 1 min... Went through that twice.

            Fins and boots off. Time for some eggbeater:


            Holding a rescue gurney up out of the water as a 4 man team. 1:00 up, 1:00 down.

            Easy to see who wasn't holding their end up when dive bricks started appearing on it.


            Tread slick, holding a 9# bar or dive brick.

            WATER CON:

            Underwater swim technique work. Not long swims, just work on keeping a really good streamline and the mechanics of the double arm pull.


            Breast stroke kick instruction and kickboard sets. Getting the start position correct, keeping the kick narrow and pushing water straight back.

            If you do not have the breast stroke kick down, you absolutely need to have this.

            4 hours in the water.


            Max reps on bench press with 135#. Max was 32. I took second with 28. ;-)


            • Come on....

              Is the 50 year old swim coach the only one swimming here?

              Half mile "spec ops surface medley" 50 Breast, 50 CSS, 50 free, in the 16's.

              15 minute tread done so:

              1:00 hands up (wrists and ears out of the water)
              2:00 hands down
              3:00 hands up
              5:00 hands down
              6:00 hands up
              15:00 hands down.


              • Did a 1.5-2 mile open water swim with some buddies on Friday. 1/3 with fins.

                Also, been really coming along well with the eggbeater.

                "Those who will not risk cannot win" - John Paul Jones


                • 3 mile run/1 mile css with fins/3 mile run


                  • 2,000y swim freestyle and CSS mixed 36:29


                    • I think it's about time I start posting on here regularly. I've only been swimming for about two months, and I just completed my first mile swim today freestyle. Wasn't the fastest nor the prettiest, but I finished it.


                      • 1600 yds today

                        12 minute EMOM 50 yd freestyle sprints=600 yds

                        10 100 yd CSS sprint intervals=1000 yds
                        "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." -Thomas Paine


                        • Nice to see some life in this thread again!


                          • Re-tested my 500 yd swim today. Got a 9:13! Just need some fine tuning on my technique, but I'll re-test in a few weeks and see if I can break 9 minutes
                            "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." -Thomas Paine