History

Swim with Mike – helping disabled athletes find a new purpose in life through academic scholarships nationwide.

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 Mike’s 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 nearly $22 million and provided over 232 scholarships to Physically Challenged Athletes at 123 universities from Massachusetts to Hawaii.

On March 5, 2005 Swim With Mike held its first annual satellite swim at the University of Hawaii’s Duke Kahanamoku Aquatics Complex. It was a huge success bringing Hawaii’s sports and aquatics communities together for a great cause. We are now in our 15th successful year of this annual event and are a part of the iconic Waikiki Roughwater Swim.

Swim with Mike recipients are planning events in their hometowns and on their campuses swimming themselves and/or recruiting friends and family to swim, walk, roll, run, dive or float on their behalf. Our 2019 satellite events will be held at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, Danville, CA and the Waikiki Roughwater Swim in Hawaii.

If you are interested in organizing a Swim with Mike event, fundraising or have any questions, please contact us at info@swimwithmike.org.