What You Should Know About Navy SWCC Fitness Training

A seaman apprentice uses his uniform as a floatation device during a training exercise in the combat training tank at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
Seaman Apprentice Damien Bell uses his uniform as a floatation device during a training exercise in the combat training tank at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. Bell is in the first phase of special warfare combatant-craft crewman training. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

The Vietnam-era Swift Boats or Brown Water Navy are the forefathers of the Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman (SWCC). The "Brown Water Navy" is now one of the three components of the Naval Special Warfare Command -- SEAL teams, SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) teams and Special Boat Units. These high-tech, high-speed boats make up the maritime component of the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

SWCC training is part of Naval Special Warfare School in Coronado, California. The program is nine weeks long and under the command of the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S).

Future SWCC operators go through an intensive course of instruction that is similar to SEAL training. It includes the following phases:

  • Fitness
  • Swimmer skills
  • First aid
  • Maritime navigation skills
  • Basic seamanship
  • Engineering
  • Communications
  • Weapons
  • Special warfare skills

Once stationed at the Special Boat Unit (SBU), the SWCC student will receive advanced training and operate in direct support of Navy SEAL missions as boat drivers, medic assistants, navigators, communications links and direct suppression fire from the arsenal of weapons on these vessels. Many get opportunities to attend jump training as well.

Below are the physical standards you must meet when at the SWCC Training Center. As you can see, the pace and intensity is challenging but not impossible. It is highly recommended that you be able to perform at least the Week 9 standards before entering. To ensure your graduation chances, it is recommended to surpass the following minimum standards with the recommended scores:

Navy SWCC PST standards

PST Event

Minimum Standards

Competitive Standards

500-yard swim


9 minutes










1.5-mile timed run


9-10 minutes

Most of the injuries at SWCC and BUD/S involve unprepared leg muscles for high amounts of running. You have to run to get better at running. Many of my favorite PT programs to train for the SWCC teams can be found at the following Military.com links:

Related Navy Special Operations articles:

A career with the SWCC will be exciting for anyone who transfers from a Navy gray hull and is also open to young sailors out of A-school as a closed-loop career path. Many sailors start in SWCC, make it to BUD/S and earn the Navy SEAL title. It is a great way to get into the SEAL community.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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