BUD/S Pool Comp Tips

We get this question about every week “Coach, do you have any tips on making it through BUDS Pool Comp in Dive Phase?”. We are talking about Navy SEAL training in Coronado and the infamous (insert organ music) pool comprehensive test where you get tied up, thrashed and spun around and your regulator pulled out of your mouth.

Are you training for BUD/s? SGPT has the most complete 365 Day Training plan for BUD/s Prep. Click HERE and learn more!

We looked around the internet and were shocked not to see any tips for pool comp and treading water drills.

SGPT went through Pool Comp twice (I liked it so much the first time) so we figured we had enough experience to give a few tips.

Is pool comp hard at BUD/S? Check out this video and you decide.

Video – Dive Phase pool comp at BUDS

BUDS Pool Comp Tips #1
Well yeah; no duh, Coach. Just in case you did not know this one then we will start here. If you panic your done – so calm your #$% down and breathe deep before you go. One thing to never do is get tense or frustrated underwater.

BUDS Pool Comp Tips #2
Be Mentally in the Game.
If your thinking about your girlfriend or the possibility of failing this drill, then you are not in the game. Think about each thing that you will have to do and then visualize yourself performing and succeeding. Those that fail lose sight of each task and get overwhelmed and are disqualified and dropped from the program.

Special Forces Water Confidence drills #1
Run or bike to pool. Swim workout: 250 meter warmup freestyle. 5 rounds for time. 50 meter swim with 10 push ups at end of each 50 meter swim. Note time. Cool down with 250 meter breast stroke without fins.
Pool drills: with a swim buddy – with a brick or weight bely with two lead weights. Tread water with brick at surface. Pass to buddy when tired. Note total time you held brick. Do not do this exercise alone – Only with a swim buddy.

This will give you a good inside look at BUDS and how truly hard it is to survive the cut.

Read this book and start training really hard.

Video – BUD/S Water Competency

Use your Buddy Pass “2 for One” Deal @ GoRuck.com

BUDS Pool Comp Tips #3
When you go to the pool and swim – practice, practice, practice. With a swim buddy, put on your dive mask and lay down in the shallow end of the pool. Fill the mask with water. Looking up at the surface. Clear the mask. Come up the surface. Go to deeper water and repeat.

Special Forces Water Confidence drills #2
Run or bike to pool. Swim workout: 5 rounds for time. 50 meter swim and then climb out of pool and do 20 air squats. Cool down with 250 meter side stroke without fins. Pool drills – with a swim buddy – practice treading water with hands out of water. Note time for treading and sets performed.

BUDS Pool Comp Tips #4
Dive Cert.
Before you even go in the Navy – go to a certified Dive center and learn to dive with an instructor. Once you get certified then work on more advanced drills and up the ante in a controlled environment.

Question: What boots do the guys wear at BUDS? I would like to get a pair and start training now.

At BUDS you are issued the Bates 922 boots which are a good all around boot that are lightweight and drain well.

The Bates boots are good for ruck march training or just wearing to the shooting range.

BUDS Pool Comp Tips #4
Tread water.
Learn to tread water in your sleep. But more important – learn to tread water with a weight belt on with fins – treading water with your hands out of the water. In Dive Phase you will be required to do this drill with a full set of double SCUBA tanks. Might as well learn how to do it now. With a buddy practice in the deep end without a weight belt and fins. Then later add the fins and obviously tread for a longer period of time. Use long big kicks and build up your legs and hip flexors. Time yourself and always have a swim buddy on hand next to you.

Question: What is a good mask to use to train for these types of drills?

Any mask that has high volume is good like the Aqua Lung Tempered Swim Mask.

This mask is very basic but will be similar to what you will be issued in BUDS.

Marine Recon shows treading water with brick drill

Question: In buds second phase water do you have to tread with full dive tanks and your hands out of the water? Yes; it is harder than it looks. I would start working on that now to build up your leg muscles and build endurance. Check out the video above.

Question: How do you avoid sucking in water in BUDS pool comp? Try to relax and lightly push out with your lips when your mask gets pulled. Have someone spray you in the face with a water hose and you can practice the same method. Relax.

Question: Is it true that in BUD/S Navy seal training that you are tied up and thrown in a pool? Yes; this is called drown-proofing and is actually at the start of First Phase – it is not in Second Phase (Dive Phase). All candidates are required to pass this evolution.

Question: How far do you need to swim underwater for Navy SEAL training? The furthest distance we had to swim underwater holding our breath was fifty meters. It was harder than I thought and I almost blacked out at the end. You also have to hold your breath while tieing knots and rigging charges on underwater obstacles.

Question: What is a good swim fin to learn with and train harder?

Check out the IST rocket fins.

These are similar to what you will be issued and are a great fin that will last a long time. They have a wide blade so you will be able to generate a lot of power and also get your feet, ankles and calves in shape for swimming with fins.

Video – Treading Water Tips

Check out IST Deep sea military Rocket fins @ Amazon.com

Question: Did you ever see anyone pass out in pool comp? I went through pool comp twice and saw several guys fail. Swallowed too much water and hauled to the side of the pool.

Question: Do you have any tips to pass the 50 meter underwater swim at BUDS? Yes; practice 25 meter swims with a swim buddy often. Don’t push off at the start. Relax and slowly build up your distance. Always swim with a lifeguard and buddy next to you.

Is the scuba test in the navy seals really hard? Yeah; it is pretty hard if your coming off the street to give it a go. If your a professional diver then probably not so bad.

Question: Do you have a dive knife that you can recommend?

Yes; try out the Ontario 6141 MK 3 Navy Knife (Black) as it is very similar to the dive knife we used in the SEAL Teams.

The knife is very sturdy and you will have it for decades even if you abuse it and use it a ton.
I like the knife as it has some weight to it and has a thick blade.

Question: What are benefits of treading water with hands out water? It makes treading water harder and makes you more confident in water.

Question: Do you have to tread water in buds? Yes. See the info above.

Question: What is the best advice to make it through buds? Believe in yourself and your teammates.

Question: Do many guys fail our in BUDS dive phase. Yes; we see many fail but not as many as first phase and Hell Week.

Question: Coach, can you try wearing a t shirt to increase intensity for swimming? Yes; you can do that but only with a swim buddy and lifeguard on duty.

Question: Do you perform buddy breathing in Navy SEALs dive phase? Yes; we do buddy breathing as part of pool comp at BUDS.

Question: How much sleep do you get in buds? You get a few hours of sleep each night but muster is very early in the morning. You get your extra rest on the weekends.

Question: How hard is BUDS? It is 3x harder than you think it is sitting at your computer in a warm room.

Question: “How far do i need to be swimming before BUDS? If it were me I would have a 2 mile ocean swim under my belt. I would also do a 1 mile wet suit appreciation swim. I would be very comfortable doing all of the pool drills listed above. Always swim with a buddy.

Question: Coach brad! I’m getting ready to enlist! I have a strong competitive pst! But my swim coach says I should wait and build my lunges. He is a great coach but dosent think I should go without being able to do 50m. I currently at 25-30M. From the research I’ve done it seems that this topic comes up very often. And the answer, usually , is along the lines of… Don’t worry you will be in good enough of shape by the time you get there… My coach dosent believe me. Any good pegs you know of that cans show him What I’m saying. (Mentally I know I will be fine and am very confident) but it would be nice to have him on the same page.

Answer: Yes; practicing breath holds will be beneficial and tested in training. I would only train with someone who knows what they are doing and with a lifeguard on station.

Question: Thanks for those workouts they are a kickin my ass. I leave here on March 18th, I feel very ready for everything to come fitness wise. My running swimming and strength are all top notch. Yet one piece of my training is bugging me. My underwater breath holding I feel like is BRUTAL. I am not afraid of the underwater swim and have been working on it a lot (bobbing, underwater swim, knot tying etc.). Yet I just feel like I am making no progress. Is it just something I’m gonna have to deal with come bud/s. Pretty much accepted the fact that I will be passing out underwater and gliding to the finish come time for the 50m swim. Any tips on how I can improve this. It is starting to bug me that I can not improve in this area.
Peter F.

Answer: Good question Peter. I would have a 50 meter underwater swim under my belt before I go to buds. I would start with 3 meters underwater, 4 meters, 5 meters, etc. and slowly work your way forward. For any underwater workouts, always swim with a life guard and a coach that knows what they are doing.

Question: How can I learn more info about the Navy SEALs and signing up? Check out the Navy website here:

Navy SEAL Jeremy Debie Interview
Navy SEAL Recommended Swim Fins
How Did You Know You Wanted to Become a Navy SEAL?

Seal Fit Stack

SGPT Upcoming Events

Personal Online Coaching

Work 1-on-1
with SEAL Grinder's Brad McLeod
To Achieve Your Goals

pic of brad

Personal fitness training from Brad McLeod, Navy Seal and CrossFit Level 1 instructor. Delivered online, directly to you.

"I recommend Brad to anyone that seriously wants to go to BUDs or anything else in life... try these workouts. Hooyah!" - Chris H.

learn more button