Team Navy/Coast Guard Swims to Victory in 2011 Warrior Games


Story Number: NNS110521-01Release Date: 5/21/2011 6:47:00 AM
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By Lt. Tom Gordy, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. (NNS) -- Team Navy/Coast Guard swam to victory in the swimming finals of the 2011 Warrior Games, May 20th.

Their efforts netted nine gold medals, three silvers and a bronze from the men's and women's events.

Navy Lt. Daniel B. Cnossen and Chief Special Warfare Boat Operator Daniel Hathorn earned three individual golds and one team gold each, leading the way for the Navy/Coast Guard swimmers.

Cnossen, a native of Topeka, Kan., won individual golds in the men's 50- and 100-meter freestyle (double lower-body amputees) as well as the men's 50-meter dackstroke (double lower-body amputees).

Cnossen, a Navy SEAL who continues to serve on active-duty, was injured in 2009 by an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan, which caused internal injuries and the amputation of both lower legs. He also participated in the 100-, 200- and 800-meter track events May 17th, earning a bronze medal in the 800-meter race for lower-body amputees.

Hathorn won individual golds in the men's 50- and 100-meter freestyle (upper-body impairment) and in the men's 50-meter backstroke (upper-body impairment).

The Ithaca, N.Y., native was injured during a deployment in 2009 and serves on active duty with the Naval Special Warfare East Recruiting Directorate in Virginia Beach, Va.

Hathorn is also a member of the Navy/Coast Guard wheelchair basketball team.

Navy Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Selemani Johnson added two silvers in the men's 50- and 100-meter freestyle (spinal cord injury) events.

Asked how he felt about earning two medals he said, "It's awesome. It feels great to win, but it wasn't the reason I came here. It's beyond my expectations and I'm very grateful."

In 2010, Johnson was struck by a car while riding a motorcycle, leaving him paralyzed. Born in Africa and raised in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also participated in the 100-, 200- and 800-meter wheelchair races as well as the sitting discus competition. He currently serves on active duty at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, CA.

Also earning two medals was Navy Lt. Melanie Monts de Oca. She won silver in the women's 50-meter Backstroke event and a bronze in the women's 50-meter Freestyle event.

The former national powerlifting champion has had numerous physical challenges that have set her back. A snowmobiling accident caused serious injury to her right hip and she was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition and suffered a stroke. A surgery helped correct the heart defect and allows her to participate in competitive events.

She has also participated in the women's standing shot- put event.

The Lakeland, Fla., native currently serves on active duty with Navy Safe Harbor at James A. Haley Veteran's Hospital in Tampa.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal 1st Class Patrick Woodruff and Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Aaron Heldreth added a gold medal each to the team's collection.

Woodruff, a Leonard, Texas native, earned gold in the Men's 50-meter Backstroke (Single Lower-Body Amputees) event.

Woodruff, who lost his lower right leg just eight months ago following a motorcycle accident, continues to serve on active duty in San Diego, Calif. with Explosive Ordinance Disposal Training and Evaluation Unit 1. Along with the swimming gold, Woodruff has earned silvers in the 100- and 200-meter track races and a bronze in the mixed 4x100-meter relay. He is also a member of the Navy/Coast Guard wheelchair basketball team.

Heldreth swam to gold in the men's 50-meter freestyle (single lower-body amputees), earning his second medal of the games.

The native of Barstow, Calif., became a single lower body amputee following an auto accident. He continues to serve on active duty with the Underwater Construction Team Two at Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Calif.

Heldreth joined Woodruff in winning a bronze medal in the mixed 4x100-meter relay during the track and field events.

Heldreth and Hathorn were joined by retired Navy Lt. John Edmonston and retired Navy Operations Specialist 2nd Class Joseph A. Frank to win the gold medal in the Mixed 200-Meter Freestyle Relay.

"Navy showed the other services how to do things at sea. We picked a great team for the relay and we rocked the pool," said Edmonston about the Navy team.

Edmonston is a native of San Jose, Calif., and works as a mechanical engineer with the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash. He suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a motorcycle accident in 2009.

Edmonston is also a member of the Navy/Coast Guard sitting volleyball team.

Frank is also a member of the sitting volleyball team, as well as the wheelchair basketball team. The Kingston, Penn. native has also participated in shooting competitions. Frank was seriously injured in 2007 when he was hit head-on by a drunk driver who was fleeing the police. The accident left him with traumatic brain injury and upper- and lower-body impairments.

Team Navy/Coast Guard has collected eleven gold medals, nine silvers and six bronze throughout the week of competition and is poised to add two more in wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.

Team Navy/Coast Guard is sponsored by Navy Safe Harbor, the lead organization for coordinating non-medical care of wounded, ill and injured Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and their families. Through proactive leadership, Safe Harbor provides a lifetime of individually tailored assistance designed to optimize the success of enrollees' recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration activities.

For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp/.

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Lt. Daniel Cnossen (SEAL) competes in the preliminary rounds of the Warrior Games swimming competition.
110518-N-UD644-097 COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 18, 2011) Lt. Daniel Cnossen (SEAL), a member of the Navy/Coast Guard Team, competes in the preliminary rounds of the Warrior Games swimming competition. Warrior Games is a Paralympic-style sport event among 200 seriously wounded, ill, and injured service members from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sarah E. Bitter/Released)
May 20, 2011
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