Between sessions at Plantation Sectionals, 12-time Olympic medalist and world record holder Ryan Lochte took the time to drive 20 minutes and visit the swim and water polo teams at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and pay his respects to Nicholas Dworet, swim team captain and University of Indianapolis commit.
On February 14th, 2018, Dworet was one of 17 students and faculty killed in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting. To honor Dworet’s memory and goals, Lochte wore a Stoneman Douglas swim cap during his Friday evening races at Plantation Sectionals, winning the 200 freestyle in a 1:50.56 and the 100 butterfly in a 53.77.
Dworet, who had committed to the University of Indianapolis where he would have been a freshman for the 2018-2019 season, also had Olympic aspirations and intended to represent Sweden at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The 6th picture in Lochte’s post shows Dworet’s long course meters goal times for January and March of 2018 and for the 2019 season. While the times on Dworet’s goal sheet speak to his aspirations, the notes he wrote to himself as inspiration show his character. Per Lochte’s post:
-I want to become a Swedish Olympian and go to Tokyo 2020 and compete for my country.
-I will give all I have in my body and my mind to Achieve (sic) the goal I have set. I will train as hard as I can in and out of the water. Even on my hardest days I swear to give it my all, and I will let nothing stand in my way.
Shortly after the shooting Dworet’s parents partnered with his club team, TS Aquatics, and created a foundation called “Swim for Nick” to commemorate their son.
In the nearly one month since the tragedy in Parkland, students at Stoneman Douglas and across the country have staged national protests and organized walkouts, calling for sensible gun laws and urging lawmakers to stop accepting money from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Students from Parkland even took a bus to Tallahassee, Florida’s capital, urging lawmakers to ban AR-15 assault rifles, the same firearm used in the shooting, though Florida’s lawmakers voted against that proposal.
However, Friday, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 7026 which raises the minimum legal age to purchase firearms from 18 to 21-years-old, bans the sale or possession of bump fire stocks like those used in the Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 people in October, and allotted tens of millions of dollars to mental health assistance in schools. Also bundled in this bill was a provision which allows qualifying teachers to carry firearms in schools after undergoing 144 hours of training.
In response to Florida’s SB 7026, the NRA has filed a lawsuit claiming that the new provisions violate the 2nd and 14th Amendments.
Lochte, who did not offer his opinion on gun control, did end the post by saying, “…I will dedicate my swims in the 2020 Olympics to Nicholas. One of his goals was to swim in the Olympics and now he will with me!!”
Today I had one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I'm in Plantation, Florida this weekend swimming in a meet. In between events, I took the 20 minute trip to Parkland for an unannounced visit to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. With the help of Assistant Athletic Director and Swim Coach Lauren Rubenstein, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak to and meet with the swim and water polo teams. I also had the privilege and honor of meeting the parents of Nicholas Dworet. Nicholas was the Swim Captain at MSD and he tragically lost his life along with 16 others during the senseless high school shooting. Words cannot describe the emotions that I felt while at the school and how grateful I am that I was able to meet with those incredible students. In honor of Nicholas, I committed to his parents that I would swim on his behalf tonight and I did. I proudly wore an MSD cap and won for Nicholas and the entire Parkland community. I also told his parents that I will dedicate my swims in the 2020 Olympics to Nicholas. One of his goals was to swim in the Olympics and now he will with me!! #msdstrong #parkland #marjorystonemandouglas #broward #17 #swimming #swim4nick #neveragain #neverforget #olympics #japan2020 @tyrsport #teamtyr