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Navy SEALs Launch Physical Awareness Pilot Program

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- The Navy SEALs have one of the military's most successful physical training programs, and they’d like to introduce it nationally to coaches as an athletic standard of excellence.

The Navy SEALs from the Naval Special Warfare Center Recruiting Directorate were at the Minnesota-Oklahoma State wrestling match in early December at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion to promote the Trident Challenge, an athletic competition of running, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and swimming.

The Trident Challenge is open to everyone, not just those interested in joining the military, and is an opportunity for civilians to put themselves to the test and see how they stack up against the Navy's best. The ultimate goal of the Trident Challenge is to promote physical awareness and to set a level of standards that someday may be picked up not only by college and high school athletes but all Americans in their everyday lives.

“The pilot program is not necessarily a recruiting event, it is more of a physical awareness campaign,” says 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.”

Because Minnesota and Oklahoma are two of the top wrestling schools in the country, the pavilion was at standing room only capacity, which made it the perfect time to advertise the Trident Challenge to the community.

The SEAL motivators, as they call themselves, set up an informational booth about the Navy special forces community. 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.

“SEAL teams and Olympic athletes are way up here for people,” says 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 Trident Challenge also broadens the awareness of the Naval special warfare community and SEAL team opportunities, and highlights the physical requirements of becoming a Navy SEAL, says 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," he says.

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