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SAS: Who Dares Wins star Rudy Reyes has opened up about the hardest situation he’s ever found himself in during his adrenaline-filled career – admitting it partly stemmed from the fact he ‘couldn’t really swim’ when he first joined the Marines.
Reyes is the show’s new Chief Instructor, having made his debut last week alongside fellow newcomer and former US Navy Seal Remi Adeleke to complete the all-new directing staff, which also features veteran stars Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox and Billy Billingham.
As an ex-US Recon Marine, Reyes has found himself in all kinds of hairy situations, but says there’s one that particularly sticks out.
Speaking to LADbible, he said: “What I love about SAS: Who Dares Wins is that it helps me reflect back on the times when I was completely out of my element - when I was doing things for the first time, when I was doing things that I'd never done before and under immense pressure, like the water."
He continued: “You know, I did not know how to swim when I joined the Marine Corps - not really swim; there's a difference between playing around in a pool and swimming across a pool and swimming in the open ocean for 20 miles.
“And as a Marine - with full combat kit, weapons systems - to be able to infiltrate in the cover of darkness from a helicopter 26 nautical miles out, zoom in a cover of darkness in a Zodiac boat, and then once you get within three miles, deploy, rolling off that freakin' Zodiac boat cammied up with your rebreather and combat dive subsurface underneath... There's a big difference between playing around in a pool and doing that.
"So when I first went through my swim training, I was such a dominant land animal – I was the fastest runner, was physically strong and I could fight really good - but, boy, that water.
"I had to tread water for half an hour with my cammies on and my boots, while the Sharks [Recon Marines] are swimming up and then throwing you in chokeholds and dragging you down 20-25 feet."
Explaining how you're expected to fend them off, Reyes said: "And what you have to do is touch their shoulders, bring your hands to their elbows, squeeze as hard as you can to smash into these pressure points, spin away, kick them and then swim up in an angle.
"Doing that for half an hour after a 100-metre swim with a 20-pound brick out of the water, tread with your rifle for 30 seconds, 50 metre underwater swim, and before that a six-mile run with 75-pound pack, three times through the obstacle course, three-mile sprint and then you get to the pool for drown proofing.
“I was the very first one to the pool because I was so fast. I got a whole half an hour to rest before everyone else got there."
Of course, Reyes went on to become a successful combat diver rescue swimmer. But he still remembers just how gruelling that part of his training was.
He said: "At that time that pool session was the physically and spiritually the hardest thing I've ever done because water does not support human life. It is an aggressive and dangerous environment."
Reyes added: “Now it's a different story, but that initial imprint [was] absolutely frightening and it was very courageous that I never gave up."
Watch SAS: Who Dares Wins on Sundays at 9pm.
Featured Image Credit: Channel 4
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