Army Swimming Team Prepares to Compete in the 2013 Warrior Games

Staff Sgt. Robert Iem, Warrior Transition Battalion Cadre Staff (left) and Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness-Performance Enhancement Specialist Kelly O’Brien (right) check in with Sgt. Delvin Maston after the team’s practice at the Iron Horse Pool on Fort Carson, Colo. on May 7, 2013. (Photo by U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command).

Staff Sgt. Robert Iem, Warrior Transition Battalion Cadre Staff (left) and Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness-Performance Enhancement Specialist Kelly O’Brien (right) check in with Sgt. Delvin Maston after the team’s practice at the Iron Horse Pool on Fort Carson, Colo. on May 7, 2013. (Photo by U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command).

After months of training and tryouts, a full day of rest, and experiencing a small piece of Colorado Springs, seven Soldiers from the U.S. Army swim team spent three early-morning hours swimming laps and perfecting their form at the Iron Horse Pool at Fort Carson, Colo.

The Army team, a dynamic mix of Soldiers and Veterans, certainly has the talent and confidence to win gold. “We’ve got a really good team of athletes and swimmers… they are a lot of fun,” said Coach Bob Bugg.

A swim instructor from Georgia, Bugg was introduced to the Warrior Games this year when a previous student – and coach for a Marine Corp Warrior Games team – recommended him. He committed to the team after a few swim camps, and along with the team’s resilience coach and Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) Cadre, provides a tremendous amount of support to the team, while encouraging them to train hard. Other supporters in attendance for practice events included a WTB Commander, an Occupational Therapist from Fort Knox, Ky. and a handful of Fort Carson’s active duty Soldiers and Family members.

Army Swim Coach Bob Bugg helps Spc. Alaina Barnes perfect her form during practice at the Iron Horse Pool on Fort Carson, Colo. on May 7, 2013. (Photo by U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command).

Army Swim Coach Bob Bugg helps Spc. Alaina Barnes perfect her form during practice at the Iron Horse Pool on Fort Carson, Colo. on May 7, 2013. (Photo by U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command).

The Army Swim team will continue to train throughout the week in preparation for the start of the Games on Saturday, May 11, 2013. And when they are not in the pool, they are training to compete in other Warrior Games sports.

Sgt. Delvin Maston, a native of Birmingham, Ala., is no stranger to the Warrior Games, though this year is most important; he’s taking his competitive spirit from the gym floor to the pool. “I’m most excited to swim this year,” he said, adding that it has only been about six months since he learned to swim after his 2009 injury. He also plans to win more gold medals in the Wheelchair Basketball and Sitting Volleyball events.

Fellow Infantryman Spc. Quinton Picone decided to end practice on a lighter note when he pulled himself up the stairs of the higher of the two diving boards and jumped in the pool surrounded by his teammates and coaching staff. “I just wanted to do it for fun,” he said “but tomorrow, I am going to do a backflip!”

Spc. Quinton Picone dives into the pool “for fun” after three grueling hours of practice at the Iron Horse Pool on Fort Carson, Colo. on May 7, 2013. (Photo by U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command).

Spc. Quinton Picone dives into the pool “for fun” after three grueling hours of practice at the Iron Horse Pool on Fort Carson, Colo. on May 7, 2013. (Photo by U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command).

Bugg has taken quick to the courage and determination that is the warriors’ spirit and has the upmost confidence in each of his Swimmers. “They will race, and they will win!”

The Swimming events will take place on the morning of Friday, May 16, 2013 at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Warrior Games bring together wounded, ill, or injured service members in a sporting competition hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Competition continues throughout the week with archery, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, and track and field.

To learn more about the Warrior Games or the Army athletes, visit the Warrior Transition Command at www.WTC.army.mil.

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