“The more water skills you got, the more water skills you got!” is a phrase I like to use while teaching any tactical swimmers course. Learning the fundamentals is critical to having water skills that you can rely on for the rest of your life. Just skating by on “good enough” to pass efforts will sooner or later show as a chink in the armor. Water skills are important so as to be comfortable in all types of open water environments and necessary if you want to expand the operational envelope you are competent to perform within. Some of these drills you need to demonstrate may seem basic but unless you have them almost perfected, the flaws will become evident when the whole stroke is performed. I can tell within 5 seconds of watching someone’s full combat sidestroke if a swimmer in the water really knows what they are doing. Just like any other sport, mastering the fundamentals is crucial to improving performance and learning the proper technique will come faster and be more permanent than just focusing on conditioning. Excellence in everything we do takes time and effort but the lasting lifetime skills are more valuable than you might imagine.