Lubbock teen's quest to the 2017 Deaflympics

Lubbock teen's quest to the 2017 Deaflympics

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Nick Roman began swimming in 7th grade.

"When we first met him, he was young and we kinda watched him grow," said swimming coach Trey Hayes. "We knew we were going to have some obstacles to over come."

"It's amazing how far he's come, he's deaf," his mom Stephanie Roman said. "And this sport is something that he's a part of now and it's a part of him."

"They came out to the middle school and kinda promoted it and we thought that was something he could actually do," she said. "It was something that he was interested in, so he tried out."

Making the team wasn't his families biggest concern. "As a parent, you worry about that he's not going to be accepted just because he can't hear and with the swim club, the swim team during high school, everybody has accepted him, he's part of the team, he's not deaf you know he is just like everybody else," Roman said. 

Nick was the first deaf swimmer for Coach Hayes. "LISD has been really good at providing interpreters for us, to help us and it's always been a little bit of a struggle coming up with signals and a way to sign, so he understand what's going on. I'll be honest we probably didn't do the best job, I mean we had to grow and learn to just like he did and we got better and better through the years," Hayes said. 
     
But swimming didn't become a big deal for Nick until his junior year. "Honestly we got better the last two years, you know it took us a long time to figure out how to train him, but that's with any athlete and so that really wasn't special to him, we really kinda found his rhythm and everything," Hayes said. 
     
A rhythm that is taking him to a collegiate swim team. "They know what they are doing, they know the swimming terminology, they'll come up with the signs, they will help him and I'm really excited about that. In some ways we were limited on how far we could go so he's come a long way," Hayes said. 

"I'm going to Washington D.C, it's called Gallaudet," Nick said. 

"He will be studying technology. He's going into information technology," Roman said. 

Through sign language, Nick said he wants to work on the internet.

He will be working toward more than his degree, he will continue training for the 2017 Deaflympics. "He has three different memberships that he had to join and with that we were able to get the qualifying times, and last month at the Midland meet he was able to make those times in his different events. We had the paper in our hand, watching the times, watching him swim, he hit that time and we were all jumping, excited, his coaches were all jumping for him," Roman said. 

"He doesn't show a lot of enthusiasm about anything you know, 'win a medal, hmm, make the Olympic trials, ah okay whatever,' it was exciting for us," Hayes said. "Again, it goes back to -- we've come a long way -- and the hard work is paying off and its exciting for him." 

Nick will be swimming in four events in the Deaflympics next summer in Turkey, His family has set up a GoFundMe account to help cover the cost. 

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