By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christian B. Martinez

BANGOR, Wash. – Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) participated in a second-class swim test Nov. 15 at the fitness center on Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

The test involves displaying proficiency in variety of strokes as well as drills and scenarios designed to assess a Sailor’s swimming ability and comfort level while in the water.

“This test is important because you learn techniques that can save your life,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Xavier Lynch, the 2nd class swim test proctor, from Simi Valley, Calif.

The exam begins with an abandon ship drill where the Sailors, standing ready to jump into the water from a high dive board, look left and right to ensure the area is safe and clear of debris.

“There is a big difference between jumping off the proper way and what you are normally comfortable with,” said Ensign Jason Carroll from Stockton, Ill. “Having done it, I feel more confident with my skill and encouraged by my experience.”

Following the abandon ship scenario, candidates are tested on four basic strokes, the back, breast, side and cross strokes. Sailors swim 25 meters, or one length of a standard lap pool, using each stroke.

After swimming all four strokes, the participants perform a five-minute prone float that tests the Sailors’ comfort level in the water.

“I encourage any Sailor to come out and try it,” said Lynch. “It is a way to challenge yourself.”

Stennis is currently undergoing a Docking Planned Incremental Availability maintenance availability period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

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