USAG CASEY - 2nd Lt. Nicole Gonzalez, Headquarters and Headquarters Service Company, 2nd Infantry Division, won the most awards in the Eighth Army Swimming Championships held July 12 at Casey's Hanson Field House by finishing first in the women's 50 and 100 meter Freestyle, 100m Backstroke, and 100m Breaststroke events.

Forty-five competitors from throughout the South Korean peninsula participated in the meet, the most in nine years, said Jim Williams, USAG-Red Cloud sports specialist, Family Morale Welfare and Recreation.

Each swimmer was allowed to compete in a maximum of four individual events and two relays, which included the 200m Medley Relay, 200m Freestyle Relay and 200m Individual Relay.

Gonzalez said overcast weather made swimming easier and helped her win. "I loved it not being sunny and finally having some competition," she said. "The first time I swam here I was the only female and ... with seven of us this time, competition was great."

Gonzalez said the range of competitors from all four areas of the Korean peninsula was more varied, which made for closer races. "I like having more people here," she explained, "so I actually have to try to win, which makes winning much better."

Sgt 1st Class Shon Dodson, 55th Military Police Company, USAG-Casey, winner in the men's senior 50m Freestyle, said he used the event mainly to tune himself up for a following 8th Army Triathlon. "I'm not really an avid swimmer," he explained. "It's just something I picked up as a child; here I do it to deal with stress and meet new people."

Dodson said he enjoys competing against younger Soldiers to compare his level of fitness and skill. "It feels good when I beat (younger Soldiers)," he said. "By pushing myself, other Soldiers might say 'I can do it' and find other things to do besides going out the front gate every weekend."

Dodson also finished as runner up in the men's senior 100m Freestyle, and the 50m and 100m Breaststroke.

Following the final race, Capt. David O'Leary, 2nd Infantry Division, Bravo Battery commander, was chosen to present medals to the winners, runners up and third place finishers. "This is the sort of participation commanders want to see," he said. "The majority of participants are from USAG-RC, but I know we have some from all four areas and I would like to thank everyone for showing up."

O'Leary said events like the swimming championships are made more rewarding with increased attendance, which makes winning a medal more important.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16