Wasil earns gold, two bronze in CISM Swimming/Para-Swimming Open

By Armed Forces Sports

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Fontainebleau, France – Competing in the men’s division, Army Sgt. Elizabeth Wasil of Fort Carson, Colo. captures gold in the Para-Swimming 100m breaststroke with a time of 1:27.66 at the 2015 Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) World Military  Swimming & Para-Swimming Open at the French National Defense Sports Center Feb. 4-5.  

Throughout the two-day event, 90 military competitors from 12 nations competed in the first ever integrated CISM Swimming competition featuring both able-bodied athletes and wounded, ill and injured Service members. With only two female para-swimmers registered, the organizers agreed to the allow the women athletes to compete within the men’s division.  

“Being treated as an equal next to some very kind and impressive athletes that just so happened to be male was outstanding,” said Wasil. “They treated me with a respect that made me feel confident in my ability to race. I was honored to stand next to them behind the blocks and on the podium.”  

Serving as the lone U.S. competitor, Wasil turned heads on Feb. 4th after capturing bronze in both the 50m breaststroke and 50m backstroke – and reached the finals, placing fifth in the 100m freestyle.  

The next day, Wasil reached the top of the podium in the 100m breaststroke, resulting in a standing ovation from the crowd and fellow swimmers.

Sgt. Wasil, who is classified as a S10 competitor by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), competed in the modified CISM Para-Swimming ISC category. This category includes athletes with one non-functional leg, various amputee conditions and other disabilities listed within the IPC S9 and S10 categories.   

It was during her deployment to Iraq in 2010 where Wasil sustained bi-lateral hip injuries. Wasil spent months recovering from multiple surgeries which resulted in the loss of function to her lower left leg. It was during this time during recovery, where Wasil began swimming. Shortly thereafter, Wasil would meet the national standard and be selected to the Army’s World Class Athlete Program as well as the national team.  

While traveling to the 2014 Invictus Games this past Sept., Wasil fell ill and was hospitalized. Her condition worsened and was placed on life support. Continuing her fighting spirit, Wasil defied all odds and after recovering over the next few months, she once again entered to pool to resume her training.   

“I was so impressed with Sgt Wasil's strength of character and personal commitment to excellence”, the Official CISM Representative Maj. Gen. Christine Whitecross of Canada, “she is a true inspiration to those of us who can only try to understand what she has been through.  A true champion already!”  

Overall, Sgt. Wasil earned three medals and reached the finals for both 100m and 50m freestyle (7th place). In addition, she would compete on an international para-relay team with swimmers from Ecuador, Italy and Germany. For the final event, the CISM organizers conducted the first 8x50m relay race to feature male and female athletes and para-swimmers grouped together. This event embodied CISM’s motto, “Friendship through Sport”.  

“The medals meant a great deal to me because the past year I have had was very difficult,” said Wasil.   In September 2013, Germany hosted the CISM Integrated Track and Field Championship in Warendorf, which was the first integrated Para-sporting event in CISM’s history. The United States delegation featured five para-athletes and captured 12 medals. It was here that Wasil made her CISM debut earning gold in the women’s 100m, 200m and 1,500m wheelchair races.  

Wasil is currently on the USA Para-Swimming National Team and will continue training in preparation for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. You can follow Wasil and other Army Olympic/Paralympic hopefuls at
www.thearmywcap.com.  

For more information and photos on U.S. Armed Forces Sports and CISM, visit
www.armedforcessports.com.

Complete medal performance results from Sgt. Wasil:

100m Breaststroke:
Gold - Sgt. Elizabeth Wasil (USA) - 1:27.66
Silver - Adj. Roger Hoyoux (FRA) - 1:36.86
Bronze - Cpl. Chief Benjamin Atgie (FRA) - 1:47.69

50m Breaststroke:
Gold - Cpl. Sven Schutte (NED) - 37.84
Silver -  Sgt. Francois-Xavier David (FRA) - 38.94
Bronze - Sgt. Elizabeth Wasil (USA) - 40.59

50m Backstroke:
Gold - Cpl. Sanath Wickramasooriya (SRI) - 36.72
Silver - Sgt. Rik Vonk (NED) - 38.98
Bronze - Sgt. Elizabeth Wasil (USA) - 41.13