DVIDS – News – Naval Aviator Student Wins Bronze Medal at Armed Forces Cross Country Championships

A Naval Airman student with Training Squadron (VT) 28 “Rangers” represented the All-Navy Cross Country Team at the Armed Forces Cross Country Championships at Mission Bay Park in San Diego, on January 8.

Lt. jg Zach Swenson, a native of Boulder, Colorado, recently completed primary training on the T-6B Texan II at VT-28 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas. Athletes from the Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps competed against each other and civilian athletes in the 10K race, hosted by the USA Track and Field Association.

Swenson finished third among military athletes and 23rd overall, his bronze medal bolstering the Navy team as a whole.

According to Lt. Cmdr. Derek Oskutis, head coach of All-Navy Cross Country, Swenson was an integral part of the All-Navy Cross Country team that competed one-on-one against the All-Air Force and All-Marine Cross Country teams. As a result of Swenson’s performance, the All-Navy team won the overall title in the men’s team competition and second in the women’s team competition.

Swenson’s bronze medal would have qualified him to represent the US military at the 2022 World Military Winter Games, held in Berchtesgaden, Germany. However, the Games were canceled due to COVID-19.

Swenson attended Fairview High School in Boulder where he was a varsity athlete in four sports, competing in cross country, track and field, basketball and golf. He took up cross country and track in his sophomore year of high school and captained the Division I Track and Cross Country teams. He has had successes including a five-time Big East tag team champion and NCAA cross-country championship qualifier.

Swenson earned a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship to Villanova University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2019. He then attended the Naval Postgraduate School in 2020 and earned a master’s degree in operational research and has since completed primary aviation training.

“I am extremely grateful to be representing the Navy at the Armed Forces Cross Country Championships, as well as my command for supporting my participation,” Swenson said. “Coming into the race, I didn’t really know what to expect. Training for a 10k race against some of the best racers in the country while in flight school was tough, especially in the southeast Texas climate. I was not able to devote as much time and energy to racing as in the past. Finishing in 3rd place individually exceeded my expectations, and contributing to a team win for the All-Navy men made it all the more rewarding.

“While our primary role here is to train future naval aviators, we are proud to support our talented instructors, staff and students when great opportunities arise,” said Cmdr. Brian Higgins, commander of VT-28. “I am immensely proud of Lt. jg Swenson and the All Navy Cross Country Team, who have supported our squadron motto, ‘Rangers Lead the Way!’ “”

Swenson selected Strike Pipeline and will continue training in the T-6B Texan II before continuing advanced jet training in the T-45C Goshawk at NAS Kingsville, Texas.

“I am forever grateful to be a Ranger and to receive unwavering support for my aviation, professional and athletic endeavours,” Swenson said.

VT-28 is one of two primary training squadrons attached to Training Air Wing Four in Corpus Christi, Texas, under the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA). CNATRA, headquartered in Corpus Christi, trains the best combat aviation professionals in the world, delivering them at the right time, in sufficient numbers and at the right cost to a naval force that is where it counts, when it counts.

Date taken: 28.01.2022
Date posted: 28.01.2022 14:59
Story ID: 413637
Site: CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, USA
Hometown: BOULDER, CO, USA

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