Jack O'Neil

"As a swimmer, I experience the ripple effect every day. One small positive action can set off a continuation of much larger positive actions within myself or my teammates. As a Swim with Mike scholarship winner, I am committed to creating a ripple effect within my team and the NCAA. As the first swimmer with a disability on the University of Wyoming Men’s Swim Team, I hope to have a greater impact on the inclusion of disabled athletes across the NCAA. I may be the first, but I hope to create a ripple effect so large that in the future, all teams are recruiting disabled athletes and the NCAA will create equal competition opportunities for those athletes. Because of my scholarship, I can focus all my attention on academics and swimming, and I am so thankful for the support from Swim With Mike."

Jack started swimming at the age of six and spent two summers on a summer league swim team before moving on to a year-round club where he specialized in backstroke and middle-distance freestyle. Jack was born with congenital deformities in his left leg that required many surgeries to fix. After almost 10 years of trying to save his leg, Jack decided that having his leg amputated above the knee was the best decision. He returned to the pool just weeks after the amputation and grew to become an advocate for athletes with disabilities as well as an outstanding swimmer and triathlete. Jack qualified for USA Para-swimming nationals at the age of 10 and went on to second-place finishes at both the USA Para-swimming and USA Triathlon para-nationals.  As a high school swimmer, he was the first athlete with a disability to qualify for the Colorado State Championships under able-bodied time standards. Jack was recruited to swim at the University of Wyoming by Head Coach Dave Denniston, a 2008 USA Paralympian in Swimming. Denniston, being very familiar with Swim With Mike, recommended that Jack apply for the scholarship.