On a dreary rainy morning, a group of plebes can be seen dragging their weary bodies through freshly dug, muddy trenches covered with barbed wire.

A few yards away, another bunch is figuring out how to repair bursting pipes as they may someday have to do on a submarine or ship. 

Tuesday marked the Naval Academy's annual , a series of grueling physical and mental tests that serve as a "capstone" event for the academy's freshman class.

The plebes started the day's activities—which also included a combat fitness test, paintball and underwater challenges— at 3:30 a.m. and will finish up around 6 p.m.

"It was an early morning but it's going pretty well," said Greg Fountain, a fourth class midshipman.

And though the tasks are no doubt exhausting, some plebes relished completing the arduous tests.

"We started off running around and bumping into each other," Sean O'Brien said. "But its been awesome."

The Sea Trials are also an exercise in leadership for the upperclass midshipmen. Barrett Moorehouse, the event's commander and a senior student, started leading the planning of the event last year.

"Seeing the ideas we came up with in October come to life has been really interesting," Moorehouse said.

He added that he's been impressed with the fourth class midshipmen's performances thus far.

"There's a lot of motivation coming from the plebes, which has been augmented by the staff," Moorehouse said.

The top-performing unit of plebes will be recognized with the Iron Company award during a presentation at the end of Sea Trials, organizers said.

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