I have been considering joining for a while now but the only thing holding me back is the fact I cannot swim. I'm gonna go down to my local army careers office tomorrow, I would like to know though before I go, am I likely to get help with learning to swim from within the army, or will I have to sort it out myself before I join? Also, how important is the ability to swim during training?

Thanks alot, Mordelly.
You will be fine, there are plenty of non swimmers in the Army that get coached and go on to pass the Mil Swim Test (which isnt actually essential to pass).

It will have no bearing on your phase 1 training anyway :)
i agree with todo. However it might be a good idea to get yourself down to the local pool just to get some basic knowledge in. When i did my phase 1 swim test i was shite at swimmin but just about managed to pass. Its treading water for 2 mins then two lengths of a 25 meter pool then climb out unaided. Youll have to do it in CS95's (shirt, trousers, socks) so while its not essential that you know how to swim at first, its a good idea and will make your life easier in phase one
Just don't tell them you can swim, when you can't. Some tw@t did it during my basic training and when we jumped in the pool for the two minutes of treading water the git was flapping and trying to hold onto me.

Nearly drowned both of us.


War Hero
Hi Mordelly, ring your local pool and you will almost certainly find that they run swim courses for adults. A good teacher will have you confident in the water (and confidence is the main requisite) within four or five lessons.
I am lucky enough to have swum all my life and still do in my seventies and see adults in mid life being taught regularily. First week or so, they are understandably nervous, but after a couple of weeks, I see them thrashing away down the pool. They are never going to win any contests but they would get themselves out a river or pool should they fall in.
Swimming is a simple skill and a fit young fella should pick it reasonably quickly with good instruction.
How long did it take you to earn to drive? Good luck mate. :D :D
Thank you all for the kind words. I went to the army careers office earlier and have now got my barb test date and all the forms to fill in in the meantime. The sergeant there was very helpful to me and told me it is not essential that I know how to swim as I will get help with it should I need, but I've gone and bought a pair of speedos anyway, it wouldn't hurt to go down the local baths and see if I can get some practise in.

I was also talking to a soldier who is younger than me but has finished all of his training although he is not yet old enough to go to Iraq. It is funny, he was trying to get me interested in his regiment. I read on here about them trying to get you onto their one, made me smile when I realized what he was getting at.

Thanks again for the help, Mordelly. :thumleft:
You do not have to be able to swim to get in but equally, dont expect the Army to teach you. I have yet to serve with a unit that successfully taught a single non-swimmer to swim. There simply isnt time, resource, or incentive.

Treat it as a personal development thing. It is, in my opinion, an essential life skill similar to, but far more important than, being able to ride a push bike. If nothing else, basic swimming ability will give you the confidence to take part in a variety of water sports that will otherwise be spectator sports for you when your mates are having fun.

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