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Clemson ROTC cadets test their skills with water survival training


A Clemson Army ROTC cadet jumps from the three-meter diving board into the pool water below.

Last Thursday, Clemson’s Army ROTC conducted their Combat Water Survival Training at the Fike Natatorium. The training featured a group of predominantly freshman and sophomore Cadets going through a series of tests in the water, overseen by upperclassmen.
The tests, which are mainly designed to test stamina and courage, consist of ten minutes of laps in uniform, followed by a five-minute tread after a short break. From there, the Cadets go through three specialty tests: swimming 15 meters carrying an M16, dropping from the diving platforms at three or six meters while blindfolded and an equipment ditch where the Cadets are put into a tactical vest which they must take off after submerging into the water.
Cadet Fritz Drescher, a freshman taking the training for the first time this year, said that his favorite part was “the drop for sure. Nothing can beat that kind of adrenaline.” Overall, it was “easier than I expected. [I] just shrugged out of the rig. [We] dropped from less high than last year.”
Cadet Jean-Luc Sambira, the Civil Operations Officer for the ROTC and a junior who remembers taking the test in previous years, said “this is my least favorite lab. I used to not be a strong swimmer. But I was motivated by the older guys [from] then.”
Drescher, who plans to go into the National Guard, said how much the campus life as a Cadet “puts it in perspective” and saying that it “teaches you time management and leadership. Lots of leadership.”
Sambira, who hopes to continue his family’s military tradition, discussed how life in ROTC is “very different from typical students’” but said that “academics come first” and that teaching and mentoring others is a major priority.

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