Sgt. Trevor McLaren grew up in the pool.
His parents ran the public swimming pool, so he spent much of his childhood in the water. It was only natural for him to continue this passion while in the Marine Corps. In 2009, McLaren, originally an infantryman, became a Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival. Last year, he took the next step to become a MCIWS instructor trainer.
In April 2011, the Marine Corps revised its Water Survival Training Program to better prepare Marines for life-threatening situations in the water. The new swim qualification now requires Marines to conduct water survival bearing more gear and clothing than before. For Marines who aren’t quite as amphibious, adding gear and clothing only makes water survival more difficult. McLaren, however, shared with us what he calls the water survival Bible, or S.A.F.E., to help Marines around the Corps succeed in the water.
S — SLOW AND EASY MOVEMENTS
Using slow easy movements allows your body to remain calm longer and use less energy. If you were to use fast, choppy movements it would more than likely splash water in your face and many Marines are not comfortable with that. This often causes panic.
A — APPLY NATURAL BUOYANCY
Your body has a natural point of buoyancy. Use this point to your benefit when conducting survival training. If you know where your buoyancy natural point is in the water, then being able to swim and tread water will be easier simply because different techniques work better than others.
F — FULL LUNG INFLATION
When you fill your lungs all the way up with air, they become a set of natural floaties. Keeping your lungs full will add to your natural buoyancy level. To keep your lungs full use a technique called explosive breathing. This involves a deep inhale, followed by a quick exhale. The goal is to keep air in your lungs as long as possible.
E — EXTREME RELAXATION
Staying as relaxed as possible will allow slow easy movements as well as aid your natural buoyancy.
For Marines looking to boost their performance in the pool, McLaren provided us with workout ideas. He suggests that Marines add an article of clothing progressively as they get more comfortable with the workouts.
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