From Swim With Mike:
Swim With Mike is an annual swim-a-thon held to raise money for the Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund. Established in 1981, the Swim was scheduled to be a one-time event organized by friends and teammates on behalf of Mike Nyeholt, a three time All-American swimmer, who was paralyzed from the chest down following a motorcycle accident suffered in January of 1981.
Initially called Swim For Mike, the event was first held on March 7, 1981, to raise money to purchase a specially equipped van for Nyeholt. A week prior to the first Swim, Nyeholt was still in the hospital, and his supporters planned to show him a video of the fund-raiser once it was over. To everyone’s surprise, Nyeholt traveled by ambulance to make an appearance at the first event. More than $58,000 was raised that day, far exceeding the amount needed to purchase the van. At his suggestion, the excess funds were used to create the Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund at the University of Southern California, the only one of its kind in the country.
Inspired by the overwhelming support, Nyeholt promised to swim in the future to raise money for the other disabled athletes. He kept his promise and swam the following year, and with his participation in the pool, Swim For Mike was appropriately renamed Swim With Mike. Nyeholt now co-chairs the organizing committee for the annual event, which has raised more than $10 million and provided over 100 scholarships to Physically Challenged Athletes at 45 universities from Washington, DC to Honolulu, Hawaii.
What is Swim With Mike?
- A fund-raising swim-a-thon for the entire family
- Supports the Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund
- More than $10 million raised in 30 years
- A fun-filled day with food, entertainment, celebrities, swim clinic with Olympians, raffle prizes, massage center, and Kid’s Corner
- Silent Auction
The purpose of the Swim With Mike scholarship is to help individuals who have suffered a serious accident or an illness. Due to the increased need for the Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund and given the fact the that Swim With Mike is the only scholarship program of its kind, in 1999, Swim With Mike decided to expand nationally and award scholarships to recipients attending schools other than USC.
The Swim With Mike mission statement is to provide financial resources for the advanced education and to pave the way for physically challenged athletes to overcome their tragedies and realize their full potential- no matter where he or she goes to school.