Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

March 21, 2012 at 4:23am

4th Airlift Sqn: Fast in the air, quick in the water as well

Courtesy photo

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On his frequent trips to deliver cargo to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Maj. Todd Risk would hit the pool as part of his daily physical training regiment.

Risk, a C-17 Globemaster III pilot with the 4th Airlift Squadron, began noticing that other pilots from his squadron had a similar affinity for swimming laps at the pool.

"I started putting two and two together," said Risk, a Lacey resident. "I knew that the (base championship) swim meet was coming up."

After the flying squadron captured the 2011 Joint Base Lewis-McChord Swimming Championships, Risk began recruiting a team of swimmers to defend the squadron's title. Back at the squadron headquarters on McChord Field, Risk would make the rounds and continue building excitement for the swim meet.

"I was asking everybody (to compete)," he said with a laugh.

He eventually assembled a team of pilots and spouses - most with experience swimming competitively in college. Capt. Eric Santroch swam at the Air Force Academy. Capt. Kathryn Shroyer coaches youth water polo and is constantly in the pool. Shroyer's husband, Brandon, also a C-17 pilot, played water polo at the Academy.

"It's pure luck we have so many swimmers," Risk said.

Risk's determination paid off as the 4th AS won the 2012 Joint Base Lewis-McChord Swimming Championships at Soldier's Field House Jan. 31. Risk captured an individual title in the 500-meter freestyle, and the team won 16 of 25 events to repeat as installation champions.

While Brandon Shroyer and Capt. Dayle Hartung couldn't make it because they were away flying, the team added a couple of spouses and didn't miss a beat.

"It was so nice to have the females, because they dominated," Risk said.

Katherine Shroyer led the females with four first-place individual finishes as well as two first-place relay finishes. Shroyer won the 100 individual medley, 100 freestyle, 200 individual medley and the 50 freestyle to repeat as overall top female swimmer.

Capt. Christopher Slauson, his wife Faye, Capt. Jane Elzeftawy and her sister, Anna, also turned in strong performances to help lead the team to victory.

Despite the fact Risk was the only one actively training for the meet, the team dominated nevertheless.

"The whole thing was to just get everyone out there and into the pool," he said. "Everyone on the team is all really self-driven. They literally just jumped in the pool and pulled it out."

While the team constantly turned in strong swims throughout the meet, nobody really knew how the standings would play out until the very end.

"We knew we were doing well throughout the meet," Risk said. "When we found out we won we were ecstatic."

Photo cutline: The 4th Airlift Squadron swim team of Capt. Christopher Slauson, Faye Slauson, Capt. Kathryn Shroyer, Maj. Todd Risk, Anna Elzeftawy, Capt Jane Elzeftawy and Capt. Eric Santroch, from left, celebrate their 2012 Joint Base Lewis-McChord Swimming Championships at Soldier’s Field House Jan. 31.

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