15-year-old Nicholas Matyas officially signed onto the University men’s swimming team on Saturday, Nov. 23, at the DeNunzio Pool during the team’s match against Cornell and Penn.
Matyas, a survivor of lymphoma, is now successfully in remission. A swimmer since the age of seven, he continues to swim for his high school and club teams.
Through Team Impact, an organization that “connects children facing serious and chronic illnesses with local college athletic teams,” Matyas was invited to join the University’s swim team. As a member of the team, Matyas is welcome to attend team-related events.
“It doesn’t have to be a swim meet,” Matyas’s mother, Melissa Matyas, said. “It can be a pizza party, or if the team’s going to see a football game, he’s welcomed to come.”
In an email statement to The Daily Princetonian, Doug Lennox ’09, an assistant coach on the men’s swim team, wrote, “We are super fortunate to have [Matyas and his family] on our team! We are very proud of him for showing grit, courage and kindheartedness through some of life’s most challenging circumstances.”
Several members of the swim team expressed their appreciation for Matyas and their enthusiasm towards his new status as a team member.
“I have nothing but respect for [Matyas], and I think that he embodies everything that Princeton Swimming stands for,” John Ehling ’23, one of Matyas’s student leaders on the team, said.
“I'm sure every one of us thought of Matyas during our races, which definitely helped us beat both Penn and Cornell,” Max Walther ’22, his other student leader, added.
Matyas’s mother shared that he is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. A former patient of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Matyas is “mature for his age,” according to his mother, and sees value in helping others.