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Don’t Get Confused by the SEAL /​ SWCC Draft

Sailors taking a physical screening test. Sailors interested in applying for SEAL or Special Warfare Combatant– craft Crewman (SWCC) training must complete a timed swim, run, push– ups, sit– ups and pull– ups. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Dominique M. Lasco)

A new system used by Naval Special Warfare has been helping to screen recruits before they get to SEAL or SWCC training. It is called the Spec War Draft. Please do not get this confused with Vietnam era draft. It is more like the NFL draft process and the PST is now considered the Spec War version of the combine. See email from a young man confused by the terms being used:

“About the Navy SEAL draft — I don’t see how this would make sense. This is strictly an all volunteer group in the Navy. Plus, if there would be a draft for SEAL candidates, that would just mean more guys quitting, wasting more tax payers money. The reason that SEALs are not mass produced is because SEALs cannot be mass produced. This just seems completely ludacris.”

Easy — what is happening now in the SEAL recruiting world is that the huge list of candidates take the screening test. They are graded by adding the times of their 1.5 mile timed run and 500yd swim. Then they subtract the number of pushups and situps and pullups (x6) from that number. The lowest score wins and the candidate is at the TOP of the draft list. This just means the number 1 candidate ranked will go to BUD/​S first.

For example: If you get a 8:20 swim that equals 500 seconds. A 9:00 run equals 540 seconds. Add those together for a base score of 1040. Now let’s say you get 100 pushups and situps in 2 minutes each, you would subtract 200 points from the 1040 to get 840. Now since pullups are harder they are weighted more and you get 6 points per pullup. 20 pullups gives you 120 points. Now subtract 120 from 840 to get 720.

This (720) is considered an above average score on the draft. The lower your score the higher ranking among the candidates nationwide on the draft you become. You have to strive to get WAY above the minimum standards to get to attend BUD/​S and SWCC training now. You are competing with every kid in the nation who wants to be a SEAL /​ SWCC. You have to be in the delayed entry program to take the test with your SEAL /​ SWCC /​ Diver /​ EOD /​ SAR swimmer mentor. The mentor program is made of former Spec War /​ Spec Ops members and it is their job to get you ready for your future training as well as screen out those who are not making the grade.

So the U.S. has not instituted the draft nor does the Navy SEAL /​ SWCC community need it. This is just a way of making sure on a nationwide level, the best candidates are going to BUD/​S and SWCC training and are prepared enough to make it through training physically.

Related Topics

Navy Special Operations Navy Fitness Special Operations Fitness Stew Smith Military PFT Prep

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Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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