Nicholas Dworet, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who had already earned a college swimming scholarship, was remembered as “a happy young man” with strong values.
Dworet was named as one of the 17 people – both staff and students – who died when authorities say a 19-year-old expelled student returned to the high school in Florida and unleashed mayhem in its halls. You can read a roundup of tributes to all of the victims here. Nicholas Dworet was one of the first victims to be identified after his loved ones frantically sought information for hours by sharing his photo on social media.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Dworet Trained Hard & Earned a Swimming Scholarship to the University of Indianapolis
His coach told The Indy Star that Nicholas “trained hard, focused on his schoolwork and went from a middle-of the-pack swimmer to earning a scholarship to join the University of Indianapolis swim team in the fall.”
“I’m telling you from the bottom of my heart, he just took his life in his hands and he chiseled and molded his life,” said Andre Bailey to the newspaper. Azura Florida Aquatics posted a photo of Dworet on Facebook and wrote, “With our hearts full of sadness and incredulity we just learnt that a swimmer of our former partner team TS Aquatics, Nicholas Dworet, was one of the victims of the Douglas School mass shooting in Parkland yesterday. Azura Florida Aquatics sends condolences and prayers to his family and to all the members of TS Aquatics. R.I.P Nicholas.”
“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,” said Robert L. Manuel, University of Indianapolis president.
2. Dworet Was Remembered as a Hero Who Died Thinking of His Younger Brother
A friend wrote on Facebook, “Please pray for the family and friends of Nicholas Dworet. He passed away at Stoneman Douglas high school yesterday. Nick was a hero, thinking of his younger brother before himself through all that evil. May God bless him, the people who loved him, and give us all courage to fight in his honor for a SOLUTION to America’s senseless epidemic of school shootings. Platitudes can no longer be enough.”
Another friend left a heartbreaking tribute on Instagram to Dworet, writing, “We had a class together earlier in the day. ‘See you tomorrow,’ you said as you walked out. But I won’t see you tomorrow, or next week, or next month. We walked into kindergarten together, so knowing that you won’t be walking across the stage at graduation with me in a few months is devastating and heartbreaking.”
3. The Senior Was Remembered as a ‘Happy Young Man’ Who Embodied the Values of His Swimming Program
TS Aquatics remembered Nicholas as “a happy young man who embodied the values of our program.” In a lengthy post on Facebook, the swimming program wrote, “It’s with a heavy heart that I/We have to announce that our family member, teammate, TS Aquatics swimmer Nick Dworet has passed away. He was an amazing person as well as a great swimmer.”
He was remembered as “A happy young man who embodied the values of our program. A young man who had changed his life recently and was on a major up swing in his life.Nick you have touched everyone on TS Aquatics in one way or another, whether it was your smile , your jokes or your very positive attitude. You will be forever be missed. Please take your time to send his parents some compassion through this very very difficult time.”
4. Nicholas Was Called ‘Swim Daddy’ Because of How He Helped His Teammates
According to The IndyStar, “Nicholas was a team captain known as the ‘swim daddy’ for the way he helped teammates train and practice.”
The newspaper reports that Nicholas was of Swedish heritage “and was planning to study business…Nicholas had plans to visit Sweden to compete for a chance to swim for its national swim team.”
5. The Other Victims Include Beloved Members of the Athletic Program & Other Students
The victims were both staff and students. Seventeen people were slain and another 15 people were injured. The deceased include Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach and security guard at the school. Feis “threw himself in front of students” as the shooter opened fire, taking bullets for them, according to CNN.
Jaime Guttenberg, a student at the school, also died in the massacre, according to ABC 10 News, which reported that her brother made it home alive. For hours, her photo was shared on Facebook by loved ones desperate to find her.
Jamie was a dancer at Dance Theatre of Parkland, according to tributes left for her on Facebook. She was a freshman at the school.
Jaime’s father, Fred, a local real estate agent, wrote on Facebook, “My heart is broken. Yesterday, Jennifer Bloom Guttenberg and I lost our baby girl to a violent shooting at her school. We lost our daughter and my son Jesse Guttenberg lost his sister. I am broken as I write this trying to figure out how my family get’s through this. We appreciate all of the calls and messages and we apologize for not reacting to everyone individually. Jen and I will be figuring things out today and so we ask that you respect out privacy. We will be getting messages out later regarding visitation. Hugs to all and hold your children tight.”