Nicholas Dworet could not wait to be a Greyhound.
Recruited by University of Indianapolis Head Swimming and Diving Coach Jason Hite, Dworet had received a scholarship to travel to Indianapolis in the fall and study physical therapy at UIndy. Hite said that he first heard about Dworet after his high school coach recommended Dworet as a developing talent.
“He and his coach contacted me, and [his coach] told me a little bit about him and his background between academics and his swimming,” Hite said. “He [Dworet’s coach] was seeing a lot of improvements in him [Dworet]. Good-sized guy, strong build. He’d really made some changes in the past couple of years in how he approached everything. And he’s just the kind of guy we look for here. He was a UIndy guy.”
On Feb. 14, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School entered the campus and opened fire on students and staff, according to law-enforcement.
Dworet and his younger brother both were wounded by gunfire and hospitalized. Hite was in contact with the family and said he initially believed both boys would recover. The next morning, however, he received the news that the shooting had left 17 people dead — one of whom was Dworet.
Hite said that he has since been in contact with Dworet’s family and former coach, offering condolences and ensuring that there is nothing the family needs that UIndy could provide.
“[His] mom made a point of really saying how much Nick was looking forward to being here, being a Hound, being part of our family, going to school here. He just loved it when he was here,” Hite said.
Hite said that Dworet was “just very full of energy and life” during his official visit to UIndy’s campus. Dworet spent a weekend on campus, and the two discussed his future as a Greyhound student and swimmer.
“It was the first time he’d seen snow, [the] first and only time he [had] made a snowball, made a snow angel. It was a neat experience for him,” Hite said. “Like I said, he loved every minute of it. He bought three or four shirts from the bookstore when he was here. I mean, he had joined some of the social media pages…. He had already put his deposit down. Actually, in talking to one of our other future Hounds…on Tuesday night, on the 13th, [I was told] he and another one of our future Hounds had decided to be roommates next year. So just the night before.”
The day after the shooting, University President Robert Manuel sent an email to students, faculty and staff alerting them to what had happened.
“I am deeply saddened to share with you that we just received notification that Nicholas Dworet, who would have become a member of our Greyhound family as an entering freshman this fall, died in the shootings yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida,” Manuel wrote.
Manuel wrote that tragedies like this show how events such as those that took place in Florida can have far-reaching effects. He asked that the campus community keep Dworet and his family in their thoughts during the coming weeks.
“Nick’s death is a reminder that we are connected to the larger world, and when tragedy hits in places around the world, it oftentimes affects us at home,” Manuel wrote. “Today, and in the coming days, I hope you will hold up Nick, his family, all of the victims, as well as the Parkland community and first responders in your prayers.”
Although Dworet was not yet a UIndy student, students and staff who met him, even briefly, remember him as an energetic and enthusiastic person who could not wait to start his time at UIndy in the fall semester.
Upon hearing the news, junior communication major and swimmer Jake Renie tweeted: “I remember just weeks ago that he was here on his recruiting trip, & he was so excited he bought 3 UIndy shirts for him & his loved ones. We were so thrilled that we gained an amazing young man next year. Words cannot express how heartbroken I am. Thoughts & prayers for all.”
Hite said that he and the university have reached out to Dworet’s family and want them to know that the thoughts and prayers of the UIndy community are with them.
“Nick’s death also reminds us of the far-reaching impact of these national acts of violence,” Manuel wrote. “We will find ways in the coming days [to] help Nick’s family — and I hope our UIndy family can come together to engage the questions raised by these shootings and ensure that our community continues to be a safe place for all of our students, faculty, and staff.”