University of Southern California
Mike was born in Houston, Texas but the family moved to Southern California where he attended Chaminade High School. As a child, Mike competed in swimming and soccer and in High School he concentrated on football and basketball. He was the freshman football team captain and MVP and was selected as the varsity quarterback for his sophomore season. The following summer, the Fritschner family took a Hawaiian Island cruise. On June 14, 2006, the ship arrived in Kona and Mike and his Dad Walter signed up for surfing lessons and took a van out to a secluded surf spot. After 45 minutes of instruction and warm up activities and failed attempts to catch a wave, Mike caught his first wave and stood for a few seconds. That was the last time he would stand unaided. He fell off the board and realized that he had no feeling in his legs. After spending nine days in the ICU in Hawaii, he was taken to Northridge Hospital where he spent the next three months. By this time, Mike’s sophomore year was about to start and he made a deal with his Doctor which allowed him to attend two classes each day and participate in rehabilitation at the hospital all afternoon. With the help of the Swim with Mike family, he went on to graduate from USC in 2013 and worked at a startup for several years in Baltimore, Maryland-where he met his wife, Natalia Vargova. In 2016, he returned to USC to pursue an MBA. Upon graduation, Mike has accepted a role in Corporate Finance for AT&T.