Texas A&M’s Ethan Gogulski Comes Back From Cancer To Place 2nd At SECs

Yanyan Li
by Yanyan Li 14

February 19th, 2022 College, News, SEC


Texas A&M junior Ethan Gogulski‘s first SEC Championship meet in 2019 was one of the most stressful times of his life. That year, he found out he had testicular cancer right before SECs. He swam anyway, finishing the 200 back in 9th place in a time of 1:41.35.

He took a redshirt season in 2019-2020 and returned to the SEC Championships three years after his diagnoses this week.

Gogulski made up for lost time in a big way: he finished 2nd at the 2022 SEC Championships in the same event, swimming a time of 1:39,58 that was almost two seconds faster than his freshman time.

After his diagnosis, Gogulski’s doctor recommended that he go through the surgery to remove his tumor immediately and swim at SECs afterward, but Gogulski decided against it knowing that surgery would be painful and hurt his performance.

“I would’ve been happy with my performance either way,” Gogulski following his SECs performance in 2019. “I dropped a lot of time this season, I was really happy with everything. But having the diagnosis 2 weeks before the meet and still being able to go and drop time…it was a cool thing and felt really good to know that I could overcome that emotionally.”

Although his performance at 2019 SECs was a best time, he didn’t swim at the meet in 2020 and fell to 17th in the event in 2021, swimming much slower in a time of 1:43.32.

He was part of a team effort for A&M this week that saw them finish with more points than they scored at last year’s SEC Championship meet in spite of their top scorer Shaine Casas going pro and their #3 scorer Mark Theall graduating.

Tonight was a full-circle moment for him, as he is not only cancer-free, but he also has an SEC silver medal to his name. Gogulski was also second in the 100 back this meet, swimming a time of 45.75. Both his 100 and 200 back times are well under the NCAAs cut line from 2021, and qualifying for national championships would make his comeback story from cancer even more special.

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9 months ago

Absolutely love this story! Keep up the good work Ethan!

Texas A&M Swim Fan
9 months ago

This kid is an inspiration! His Dad & Mom are awesome as well!! Congrats Ethan & keep gigging em👍👍👍

dressel 49:28
9 months ago

I have a question. Why is testicular cancer seemingly more prevalent in the swim community than other people?

Reply to  dressel 49:28
9 months ago

There’s no evidence that it is. It’s probably an impact of one of two things:

1) You’re paying more attention to swimming than most industries
2) Swimmers (thanks maybe to Nathan Adrian’s lead) have done a good job of publicizing it and creating awareness.

It’s good that you feel this way, because that means that the awareness campaign is working. About 1 in 250 males will develop testicular cancer at some point in their lifetime.

Reply to  Braden Keith
9 months ago

And testicular cancer typically emerges in this age group, vs other cancers that usually come earlier or later in life.

Reply to  JeahBrah
9 months ago

Yep good observation. Average age of someone diagnosed with Tcancer is 33.

9 months ago

What an inspiration! Proud to call him my friend

Joel Lin
9 months ago


Swam mom
9 months ago

So happy for you, Ethan! Congratulations!

Colonel Sanders
9 months ago

First sub 1:40 200 backstroker with one testicle

DCC Parent
Reply to  Colonel Sanders
9 months ago

And how do you know? Have you personally confirmed this? Just curious….

Last edited 9 months ago by DCC Parent
Colonel Sanders
Reply to  DCC Parent
9 months ago

I personally confirmed it

9 months ago


About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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