Mike Nyeholt Awarded NCAA Inspiration Award -- December 23, 2003
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind, December 23. ALTHOUGH he was in a motorcycle accident 22 years ago that left him with a broken neck and partial paralysis, Nyeholt, a former all-America swimmer at the University of Southern California, continues to inspire others who have experienced similar physical fates.
For more than two decades, Nyeholt has helped raise money for physically challenged athletes with an event called "Swim With Mike." The first event, which was called "Swim For Mike," was held the year after Nyeholt suffered his injury and was coordinated by one of his Southern California swim teammates. That initial event raised ample funding to purchase a customized van for Nyeholt's transportation needs and additional education opportunities should he want to pursue a master's degree. Funds were also used to purchase a motorized wheelchair for a local high school wrestler who had also been paralyzed shortly after Nyeholt suffered his injury.
Today, the annual swim-a-thon raises money for the USC Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund. Nyeholt began swimming in the event a year after his injury and continues to participate and fundraise for the event held in his honor.
Nyeholt has had U.S. Olympians and All-America swimmers participate in the fundraiser throughout the years. The event has provided educational opportunities, in addition to customized vehicles for individuals with the most need. To date, the event has raised more than $3 million and provided 40 scholarships for physically challenged athletes to pursue degrees at Southern California.
Nyeholt currently resides in Pasadena, California.