Swim Lessons

In the late 1980's, I was a 17 year-old high school kid with no real plans after graduation. I had no athletic abilities and was a very scrawny kid with no self esteem.

I gained a huge interest in aircraft carriers which culminated with the movie "Top Gun". I was sold! I wanted to be on an aircraft carrier more than anything so I signed up for delayed enlistment in the Navy.

As boot camp approached, I became more and more nervous because boot camp included a swim test.......and I didn't know how to swim (I know, who would join the Navy and doesn't know how to swim right?)

My recruiter reassured me that the personnel at boot camp would help me through it. At last the day came at boot camp in Great Lakes for me to jump from the tower into the pool (which was required of all recruits).

I was pleasantly surprised to see the number of recruits that had joined the Navy and didn't know how to swim, just like me! I was terrified of the task in front of me but followed orders as required.

There were divers in the pool to assist me from the bottom and make sure I didn't drown. On command I jumped and with the assistance of the divers, I came up sputtering and coughing.

I'm sure it sounded like I was drowning! I soon realized that I completed one phase of the requirement. I still had to demonstrate some strokes and float on my back which I eventually accomplished after many, many remedial sessions at the pool during my "free time".

At that point in my life, it was my greatest accomplishment ever! Boot camp is about facing fears (whatever they may be), conquering them and becoming a stronger person.

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