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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. — Gunnery Sgt. Adam Martin with Wounded Warrior Battalion-East prepares to dive off a block start during a swim meet at Marine Corps Air Station New River Jan. 15. Martin, who swam competitively before joining the Marine Corps, was the fastest athlete at the meet.

Photo by Lance Cpl Ned Johnson

Wounded warriors prepare for swim trials

15 Jan 2016 | Lance Cpl. Ned Johnson Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. — Athletes with Wounded Warrior Battalion-East completed a week long swim camp that culminated in a competition-style swim meet at Marine Corps Air Station New River Jan. 15.

            Twenty Marines participated in the camp which was designed to prepare the athletes for the 2016 Marine Corps Trails which begin Feb. 28 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

“We worked on freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke, and worked more on the technical aspects of competitive swimming,” said Sarah Gillam, a swim coach with WWBN-E.

            Gillam added that most of the athletes had never swum competitively.

            “It was a lot of fun. I didn’t think I would enjoy it because I have never really swam, so it was something new for me,” said Cpl. Alexander Salazar with WWBN-E.

            While the swim meet was designed to allow swimmers to experience the excitement and stress of race day, there were no winners and losers.

            “By the time it was all said and done, everyone was excited. Everyone was very proud of themselves and they had a lot of fun.”

            The swim camp was also about more than just the Marine Corps trials, it also allows the Marines to exercise with less pain.

            “I love it,” said Salazar, a 22-year-old native of San Antonio, Texas who admitted to having chronic pain in his shoulder, knees and hips. “It’s easier to move around in the water. It’s easier on my body and to move around.”

            Salazar is excited about the trials and hopes to qualify to compete for the Marine team.

            Gillam expects all 20 Marines to go to the trials and compete in swimming and to her, that makes the camp a success.

“It was amazing. They remembered what they were supposed to do and they all gave their all.

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