Navy SEALs Launch Physical Awareness Pilot Program in Minnesota

Story Number: NNS061208-21Release Date: 12/8/2006 2:52:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brien Aho, Navy News Service

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (NNS) -- Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, Land) from the Naval Special Warfare Center Recruiting Directorate were at the Minnesota-Oklahoma State wrestling match held at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion Dec. 7, to promote a unique event, the Trident Challenge, with a goal to promote physical fitness.

The Trident Challenge is an athletic competition of running, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and swimming. The Navy SEALs have the military's most successful physical training program, and it's a training program they want to introduce nationally to coaches as an athletic standard of excellence.

While only men can be Navy SEALs, the Trident Challenge is open to everyone, not just those interested in joining the military. The competition is an opportunity for civilians to put themselves to the test and see how they stack up against the Navy's best.

"What we're doing is getting the SEALs and the wrestling community together to benefit each other," said University of Minnesota Head Wrestling Coach, J. Robinson. "I've always thought wrestlers would make ideal special operations commandos because they already have a lot of the physical skills."

The ultimate goal of the Trident Challenge is to promote physical awareness and to set a level of standards that hopefully will be picked up not only by college and high school athletes, but by all Americans in their everyday lives.

"The pilot program is not necessarily a recruiting event, it is more of a physical awareness campaign," said Chief Special Warfare Operator Darek Laviolette. "It's something that America needs. America is getting a lot bigger and we think if Minnesota embraces this, then we might be able to convince other people to say, 'let's do this on a national level.' Let's try to do that at every high school and college around America."

With Minnesota and Oklahoma as the top wrestling schools in the country, the pavilion was at standing room only capacity and the perfect time to advertise the Trident Challenge to the community.

The SEAL motivators, as they call themselves, set up a booth with information on what the Navy special forces community is all about. They walked around and met people at the door, offering them an opportunity to try a few pull-ups or a push-up challenge during half time.

The SEALs have always had an image as so physically fit that it's something that the average athlete can't accomplish. But by offering the local community the chance to come out and challenge themselves, Laviolette said he hopes they just might realize they are not that far from reaching "the SEAL legend."

"SEAL teams and Olympic athletes are way up here for people," said Laviolette. "People are like, 'this would be something really, really cool to do but this is impossible.' This challenge brings that SEAL legend to the ground, and it shows that individual that he or she might be able to do this."

The SEALs will conduct a Trident Challenge Dec. 10, from 12 p.m.-5 p.m., at the University Aquatic Center and Field House.

"The overall goal coming of the Trident Challenge is to broaden the awareness of the naval special warfare community and SEAL team opportunities, and to highlight preparedness of the physical requirements of becoming a Navy SEAL," said Cmdr. Duncan Smith of Naval Special Warfare recruiting detachment. "It also helps us identify qualified candidates who might be interested in becoming a SEAL and delivers to the community a physical standard set by the Navy SEALs."

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