The tranquil waters of Melton Hill Lake are a world away from where Nicole Chojnacky worked with her last team.

Afghanistan.

“I worked mostly at a clinic, it was a little aid station. I also did missions, went on 30-some missions," Chojnacky said.

She spent 10 months in a war zone as an Army combat medic.

The first time the attack alarm went off was a scary moment.

“It was very scary, they train you to get to your bunker and have your gear on and your weapon with you and just stay safe. It was definitely an experience,” Chojnacky said.

Back in the U.S. Chojnacky was stationed at Fort Campbell near Clarksville, Tenn. When her tour of duty was up she was drawn to UT. And then the water.

“I was talking to one of my friends that I met and was like, I want to do something different and one day I see the rowing team right down the side of the river just rowing and I was like I want to see what that is,” Chojnacky said.

“They put me in a boat like right away and it was like three days from being in a boat and they were like you’re racing. It was intense but I enjoyed it.”

She’s close to finishing a degree in kinesiology and is looking to start classes in nursing.

“That deployment just kind of opened my eyes and made me realize we have it good over here in the United States and I want to further my medical skills when I get back," Chojnacky said.