This event tests cadets’ skills in water survival and takes place every year. Male and female cadets must complete the same requirements. This year 72 cadets, all except the seniors and cadre who act as mentors, participated in the CWST.
The four events of the CWST include the commissioning swim, unexpected entry, equipment ditch, and equipment swim. The commissioning swim includes swimming ten minutes of repetitive laps without touching the sides or bottom of the pool and treading water for five minutes in a stationary position. The unexpected entry involves a blindfolded, fully dressed cadet jumping with a dummy rifle from a 15 meter high diving board.
The equipment ditch entails a cadet dressed in fatigues and wearing a Fighting Load Carrier (FLC) vest jumping into the water and removing all gear before returning to the surface.
The equipment swim event involves a cadet wearing fatigues with FLC gear and holding a rifle while swimming the length of the pool using a side stroke.
These intense maneuvers help cadets overcome their fears and build confidence in the water so they are prepared for uncertain combat situations.
Zachary Stuart, a second-year cadet, said this testing is a “leap of faith.” Stuart thought the drop from the diving board felt longer than 15 meters.
“Mentally the more you do that high jump, the easier it gets,” Stuart said. “It’s still fairly mentally taxing because you’re voluntarily jumping off a pretty tall platform blindfolded, holding a rifle. So it’s pretty taxing, but still fun.”
Aidan Yamada, a third-year cadet said his least favorite event was jumping blindfolded off the diving board.
“I was pretty confident,” Yamada said. “You just know that you got to do what you got to do and you have to do what they tell you. So there’s not really an option.”
“You just got to do what they ask. That’s the army.”