The Birth of a Champion

  • Published
  • By Dean Siemon
  • Northwest Guardian
Katherine Shroyer had a pretty good day at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Swim Meet Jan. 22 at Soldiers Field House with four first place finishes.

What makes it an even more impressive accomplishment is that just eight weeks prior she gave birth to her daughter Vera, who was in the audience with her husband and sister while she competed.

"I'm feeding her, then running here and swimming," Shroyer said.

Competing for the 62nd Airlift Wing, Shroyer started off with a win in the women's 200-meter freestyle with a time of 2 minutes, 53.78 seconds -- more than 20 seconds faster than second place Alex Hauser of the 218th Medical Detachment.

Shroyer also had impressive times in the 100-meter individual medley (1:28.49), 100-meter freestyle (1:17.92) and 100-meter backstroke (1:19.23) as the Air Force spouse finished as the top individual female swimmer for the third-straight year.

While she said her personal best event is the long-distance freestyle races, she was happy to be back in the pool for the annual base competition that she has participated in -- and dominated -- the last three years.

"I swam a lot when I was pregnant, but I've only swam three times since having her," Shroyer said. "So I'm a little out of shape."

Shroyer was one of 34 participants from seven units to compete. Madigan Army Medical Center upset the three-time team champion 62nd AW for the 2014 title by three points with a score of 106-103.

Madigan was able to clinch the team victory in the final event by finishing first and third in the 200-meter freestyle relay.

The team of Marion Keehn, Jon Ellement, Brian Pomerantz and Craig Anderson finished with a time of 2:21.01 -- five seconds faster than 62nd AW's Chris Slauson, Todd Risk, Tyler Boyd and Brandon Shroyer.

Madigan's second relay team of George Mount, Peter Henning, James Woodrow and Mark Potter finished third in 2:37.93.

"I think all of the relay teams did a really nice job pulling it together," said Madigan's Victoria Sullivan.

Sullivan was one of a few participants who competed in several events. After she finished fourth in the 200-meter medley relay, she finished second in the 50-meter backstroke. She also earned victories in the 100-meter backstroke (1:50.30) and the 50-meter backstroke (47.41), and also participated in the 50-meter freestyle and the 200-meter freestyle relay.

Sullivan said being part of the competition brought her back to swimming growing up from when she started at 5 years old and competed through high school.

"One of the things when you get out of high school or college, there are much fewer opportunities to a part of a team," Sullivan said "They said the max number of events you could participate in was six, so I said, 'Sign me up for six.'"

Other standout individuals included 62nd AW's Boyd who swam in six events -- finishing first in the 100-meter and 200-meter individual medleys.

Boyd said one his strongest strokes is the backstroke, which he said was integral to his success in the individual medley events while knowing how to put all four strokes together.

It also helped him overtake the lead and edge Madigan's Ellement in the 100-meter medley.

"You have to take it easy on the butterfly and use your legs to be able to get ahead in the backstroke so you can give everything you have in the end," Boyd said.

Andrew Callens of the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment was the top male scoring swimmer. He won the 100-meter breaststroke, 50-meter breaststroke and the 50-meter freestyle by .02 seconds over 62nd AW's Brandon Shroyer in the closest race of the meet.
Dean Siemon: