Months of practicing seem to pay off for the Fort Bragg Masters’ Swim Team, a group of fitness, triathlon and competitive swimmers with ties to Fort Bragg and the Fayetteville communities.
The team competed in the National Swimming Championships in Greensboro, N.C., in April and placed first as part of the North Carolina team.
Team member Jessica Siegel took first place in the 50 meter fly and the Fort Bragg Masters’ Team as a whole placed first in the Masters’ Short Course Nationals.
Additionally, the Fort Bragg Masters’ Team participated in six, N.C. regional relay teams that placed first for the National Championship Team. It also had three, second-place individual finishes; 19, individual top ten finishes and seven relay team top ten finishes.
Besides Wolff, Fort Bragg Short Course National Team members comprised of Jessica Siegel, Laura Dotson, Dawn Hildebrand, Susan Jaescke and Daniel Martin, and Khalil Sharif.
Wolff said it is very rewarding to see team members perform so well at the national level, proving that despite Soldier training or Family responsibilities, they are dedicated to the sport.
“Representing Fort Bragg is a privilege that we take very seriously,” Wolff said. “Many in the swimming community are surprised to find out that our team is made up of Family members and community members, not just Soldiers. They were proud to be able to swim, side-by-side with our warriors competing at the meet and were very supportive and grateful for the sacrifices that we make.”
The Fort Bragg Masters’ Swim Team has two categories — competitive swimmers who swam in high school and college who focus on conditioning and on tweaking their swim strokes; and triathlon competitors who work to improve their basic stroke technique and aerobic capabilities, Wolff said.
Siegele falls into the first category. A former collegiate swimmer at the University of Kentucky and now an aquatics manager with the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, she said being on the team has taught her to train in shorter, more focused time frames.
Siegele, who competes in the various 50 and 100-meter events, typically swims three to four days a week for about an hour and a half each time, she said.
Fellow swimmers understand not only the dedication to competition, but the escape that swimming provides.
Sharif has been taking part in swim competitions for the past six years. He said his favorite event is the 200-meter butterfly because so few people can do it and besides it’s fun.
For all the team’s efforts, they received garrison coins from Col. Stephen Sicinski, Fort Bragg garrison commander, May 13, at Twin Lions Pool.
“Not a lot of people know about swimming. Anything that gives the sport attention is wonderful,” said Sharif.
“Whenever you get a chance to recognize people who participate in your program, it validates what we do,” said Bob Vogt, then interim FMWR director who has since been succeeded by Joe Johnson, former FMWR Recreation Division chief. “You’ve got some great facilities here at Fort Bragg for the customers and the staff do a great job of supporting each other.”
Sicinski wished the swimmers good luck next year.
For more information about the the Fort Bragg Masters’ Swim Team, visit one of their practices, Mondays to Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Twin Lions Pool (Building D-4050 Normandy Drive and Ardennes Street), or visit www.fortbraggmwr.com.