News: 1-1 AD dominates Commander’s Cup Swim Meet
Story by Sgt. Edward Garibay
FORT BLISS, Texas – The 1st Brigade Combat Team splashed their way to an easy victory at the Fort Bliss Commander’s Cup Swim Meet with a score of 346 event points, a 273-point lead over the runner up, Nov. 7.
It was a three-day competition at the Aquatics Training Center here, but the “Ready First” Brigade proved to be an early favorite on day one with 10 out of 16 first-place wins, led by Spc. Bryce Hillman’s 1:00.13 100-meter freestyle.
“It’s been four years since I’ve really competed this way, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to do,” said the former Georgetown swim-team competitor. “I had a good start; I felt really fluid in the water, really smooth and on top of it. I had a really good finish, a good reach and when I was done, I had enough time to pop my head up and see other people finish. You always feels pretty good when you have enough time to look around and see everyone else end.”
The team maintained their dominant position over second-place 4th BCT the remaining two days with decisive victories in the 200 and 400-meter freestyle relays for both the male and female categories. They even had a strong showing in the 500-meter swim, which was considered by many to be the most difficult of the meet.
“The 500 tells you who’s been training the hardest,” said 1st Lt. Nathan Duitch, the general manager of the 1st BCT swim team. “It’s awful. Things that you’re not even aware of start going on in your head. Like, I can’t even remember one thing I was thinking of during that whole race. When I finished, it was like the clouds parted and the angels sung. I was just glad I was done.”
Although 1st BCT took the cup for the swim meet, it was 11th Air Defense Artillery’s third place that pushed them over the top to clinch the overall Commander’s Cup competition from the hands of runner-up 2nd BCT.
“We just needed to hold off 2nd Brigade,” said Staff Sgt. Bernard J. Springuel, captain of 11th ADA’s swim team. “It’s been a while since 11th Brigade has held the Commander’s Cup trophy, and I was glad that when it came down to the swim meet as the deciding factor, we were able to hold them off and secure the trophy.”
The loss of the overall Commander’s Cup did not put a damper on 1st BCT’s victory at the swim meet though, especially considering, just the year prior, 11th ADA squeezed out a narrow victory over Ready First.
“The swim meet was really the only thing I was concerned with,” said Duitch, who started hanging fliers for swimming tryouts immediately after last year’s loss. “This has been over a year in making. When we started training, there were some people who couldn’t swim 50 meters; now they’re swimming 200s and doing well. Just look at the scoreboard. I mean, it felt good to win as an individual last year, but to win as a team, there’s just a greater sense of pride. Each person was a piece that contributed.”