What Goes into a Swim, Technique and Skills Day

Marines swim laps at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.
U.S. Marines with Delta Company, Light Armored Reconnaissance Detachment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, swim laps during water-conditioning training at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Sept. 19, 2015. (Sgt. Steve H. Lopez/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Some days should be light, but instead of completely resting and doing nothing, focus on your techniques, especially if swimming is somewhat of a weakness of yours. Here is a simple workout that will help you with swimming and loosen tight muscles from previous workouts, but also build confidence in the water. This is a much-needed skill if you're considering any profession that involves water such as SEALs, AF PJs, rescue swimmers, public safety and recovery divers, Navy EOP and divers, etc.


  • Tread water without using your hands for five minutes.

  • Swim 500 meters, using any stroke, then lightly stretch.

Swimming/skills set:

  • Swim 100 meters fast

  • Bottom bounce one minute

  • Swim 100 meters fast

  • Float one minute

  • Swim 100 meters fast

  • Travel 50 meters

  • Swim 100 meters fast

For PJ or SEAL focused training, an option for you is to keep your hands behind your back and your feet together to simulate the drownproofing test. Do not tie your hands and feet while practicing. 

There are good skills to practice between sets, like a life-saving buddy drag with your partner for 25 meters, or practice knot tying on the side of the pool.

Finish off with a 500-meter swim with fins.

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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