News: Marines show amphibious skills with Birthday Ball swim & challenge
Story by Lance Cpl. Brian Stevens
IWAKUNI, Japan - Station residents showed their aquatic capabilities throughout the weeks leadingto the Marine Corps Birthday Ball with a motivated swim competition, which took place at the IronWorks Gym here.
Marines often refer to themselves as amphibious, but it can be rare to see them doing much water-based training outside of swim qualification.
IronWorks Gym aquatics department provided encouragement to station residents to participate in water activities in the form of a birthday swim.
“The Birthday Swim isn't a competition or race, it's to get people in the pool,” said Stephanie Brown, Marine Corps Community Service aquatics manager.
“They do one lap for every year. So, this year, it's 237 laps. They have exactly one month to complete it, and the first 25 done receive a t-shirt.”
The event originated at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., but was brought to Iwakuni in 2008 by Brown and has become an annual event ever since.
“I was looking for an event that was free for our customers, but encouraged people to come to the pool,” said Brown.
Swimmers had the opportunity to use their preferred swim style and could also use accessories, such as kickboards and fins.
“As of right now, we have seven people who have completed it,” said Brown.
“We had one guy complete it all in one day, but for other people, it takes about two weeks, it just depends on schedules.”
Individuals tracked and recorded laps by the honor system.
“Swimmers record the date and number of laps completed each time they come in,” said Brown. “When they're done, my staff and I get the order that they finished.”
In addition to the birthday swim, IronWorks Gym's swimming pool is beginning to offer more programs for swimmers. Starting in January, IronWorks Gym is slated to start their Tri-Japan challenge. The goal of the event is to accumulate the equivalent mileage to the length of mainland Japan by running, cycling and swimming the distance.
The challenge runs until September and will be a training evolution for the Goodwill Triathlon.