I always thought that guys who enlisted in the Navy would be excellent swimmers.
My cousin Chuck. He was in the Navy. He is a woodcarver. During carving this week he talked about his Navy swimming experience. Turns out he was not a swimmer when he enlisted. In fact he had a great fear of the water. During the initial Navy Swimming Test he jumped off the deep end of the pool and promptly sunk like a rock. He said they fished you out with a bamboo pole. Every day after boot camp he went to swimming class. He learned to swim. He learned to set aside his fear of drowning.
Early one spring when he was about six years old he was riding on top of a load of loose hay. His father( Uncle Jalmer) was driving the team of horses. His brother Gerald and a neighbor were riding at the back of the load. The water was up from the spring rains and winter snowmelt. Chuck was at the center of the load. The wagon wheel hit a hole and the whole load of hay was dumped upside down in the creek. Gerald and the neighbor were thrown clear. Chuck was in the icy water with the load of hay on top of him. Uncle Jalmer dug him out. This was in about 1946… 66 years ago..Chuck says he can remember it as if it happened yesterday.
I found an old photo taken right about that same time.
Evelyn, Uncle Jalmer, Chuck, Gerald and Aunt Jenny
Chuck says that the last time he went swimming intentionally was years ago. Although one year while collecting nets in a boat up on one of our Minnesota lakes he and Roger W. took on too heavy of a load of wet nets and sunk. They overturned the boat and crawled part way on top of it and paddled to shore. He said that Roger was laughing so hard he had a hard time paddling. Chuck was not amused at the time..although he did smile whilst recalling the story:)