By DAVID GREEN
When kids learn that Nicholas Dilworth spends hours of his free time competing on a swim team, they generally are not impressed.
Swimming is a sport? they ask.
“It’s harder than they think,” he says.
He would like to see any of his fellow Morenci fifth grade students try to swim a backstroke for 100 yards, let alone compete against kids from other teams.
He even hears from some kids that swimming is a sport for sissies, but he has an answer for that one, too.
He spends a lot of time every week with girls in bathing suits and he sees this as a benefit that the other guys in his class will never enjoy.
In short, Nick has found his sport and he loves it.
Not only that, he’s good at it. As a member of the Wauseon Aquatic Club, Nick is the only boy on his 43-member team who qualified for this year’s state tournament.
He discovered swimming four years ago when he signed up for lessons at Wauseon’s community pool. His instructor discovered that Nick had some potential.
“She told me I was doing good and she told me about the team,” he said.
Ever since, the Dilworths—his mother Heather and father Jake—have put a lot of miles on the family car with trips to Wauseon for practice and throughout northwest Ohio for competition.
The competition seasons are in the summer and winter. In the off seasons, team members practice and practice.
They swim 500 yards for the initial warm-up and end up traveling about two miles through the water each day.
Nick generally competes in six events. Swimmers use the crawl stroke in the 200-yard, 100-yard and 50-yard freestyle events. He also competes in the 100-yard and 50-yard backstroke, along with the 50-yard butterfly.
The backstroke is his favorite and that’s the event that took him to the state competition March 11 at Bowling Green State University. His personal best time of 1:19 in the 100-yard event just made it under the 1:20 qualifying time. He came close to qualifying in the 50- and 200-yard freestyle and in the 50-yard backstroke.
Nick was disappointed in his showing at BGSU, but he’d been sick that week and wasn’t feeling his best. He turned in a 1:24 which he still thinks was pretty good considering his health. And besides that, he knows that making the cut for state was an honor in itself.
Nick takes the fast lane for his age group, 10 and under, and he’ll remain there through the summer until he moves up to the 11- and 12-year-old division next winter.
While his friends are playing the traditional sports, Nick is content to remain in the water, and he knows what he likes about this sport.
“I don’t have to run,” he said. “It’s a lot easier in the water.”