ARLINGTON Va, - Team US is literally “diving” into hard core training before worldwide competition in the Netherlands. Invictus 2022, which was postponed in 2020 due to the Corona Virus crisis, is April 16th through the 22nd at The Hague.
Head swimming coach Atiba Wade reflects on the delay of this prestigious competition for wounded, ill and injured military members from twenty nations around the world. “Taking this time off has been a challenge but at times, challenges can be good because challenges force us to adapt. Being able to see these athletes adapt in such unique circumstances has been fantastic.”
Coach Wade says whenever the athletes are together, the goal is to do some very basic skills to the best of their ability and then after that, they can work with whatever challenges may be there. He stresses athletes having a positive attitude is great start. Athletes like Retired Army Specialist Angela Euson is a shining example.
“I am so excited to be going to Invictus it’s been two long years of waiting. Getting to work with Coach Atiba again is great, he is really awesome! He’s not afraid to get in the water with us when we need help.”
Wade, who started coaching Team Army and Team US since 2015, says the sport of swimming helps these athletes recover and overcome. It can help anyone with or without a challenge.
“The fantastic thing about swimming is it’s a life skill that can save your life. Being able to take those skills and apply them to whatever challenge may be facing you that’s the beauty of the sport being able to transition these athletes into their new normal.”
Euson found her new normal while recuperating in the Soldier Recovery Unit at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington. She sees the honor of being selected to Team US as a continuation of her recovery. The instruction from her world class swim coach is the extra confidence she needs.
“I’ve been focusing a lot on my technique because I want to be better and I want to use his knowledge to be better,” says Euson who is also competing in rowing, track, and field as well as power lifting.
Coach Wade says on a scale of one to ten, he gives this long- awaited journey finally in motion a big fat ten. He is proud of what he’s seen at this Invictus training camp at Fort Belvoir this week. “As long as we are doing our best and giving it all that we are giving a hundred percent I think Team US will be pretty competitive… as always.”
Always the motivator and coach of encouragement, he summed up what he wants everyone on the planet to know about these athletes…something he’s known for a long time.
“If you want to remove the word can’t from the dictionary, then you should check out these guys! These are fantastic Soldiers and Veterans… they will help you to remove the word can’t from your vocabulary.”