Clemson ROTC cadets will sink or swim with water survival test
CLEMSON – Clemson University Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets will be tested on their stamina and personal courage with the Combat Water Survival Test in the Fike Recreation Center pool at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
The test evaluates each cadet’s stamina in water and their ability to complete three stations while wearing a uniform. Passing the events helps ensure they have the fundamental water survival skills necessary to lead soldiers in a hostile environment where there’s water.
During the test, cadets first must swim laps for 10 minutes without touching the pool sides or bottom. After a five-minute break, they must tread water for five minutes without touching the pool sides or bottom.
Next come the three events with full gear on.
In the “equipment ditch,” cadets must wear a tactical vest and hold an M-16 rifle while stepping backward into the water. The cadet must submerge completely and remove the vest and weapon before resurfacing.
Then the cadets must swim 15 meters carrying the M-16s without touching the pool sides or bottom.
Last is the five-meter drop, widely considered the most nerve-wracking event. Cadets are blindfolded and guided off a five-meter diving board carrying M-16s. To pass, they must hold onto the weapons upon hitting the water, take off the blindfolds and return to the side of the pool with the weapons still in hand.
Completing each of the tasks is a matter of handling anxiety without panicking.
The Clemson ROTC program was established as an integral part of the academic curriculum in 1893. It offers a general military subject curriculum, producing officers for a wide variety of assignments.