COLUMBUS, Ohio – Rising junior Nikki Dzurko earned a spot on the USA Artistic Senior National Team and will train for the Olympic Games, which has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve been out of the U.S. National Team world of synchronized swimming for a few years now,” Dzurko said. “To be able to have this opportunity to join the team and with so much support from past and present coaches and teammates has made me feel incredibly fortunate for the people in my life.”
Twenty-eight athletes were put through a series of land and water skills, assessed on technical elements and performed solo routines. All evaluations were averaged to achieve the final rankings with the top three athletes receiving an invitation to join the Senior National Team.
“It came as a surprise to me that I made the team,” Dzurko stated. “I was going into these trials feeling unprepared because of the little training opportunity I had because of the pandemic. I went into the trials as confidently as I could for the situation I was in and was extremely happy with the opportunity and outcome that followed.”
The Los Gatos, Calif., native credits her time as a Buckeye for restoring her passion in the sport and giving her the chance to live out her dreams.
“Before coming to Ohio State, I was at a point where I had lost my love for the sport and started looking at it as a chore,” Dzurko said. “My incredible OSU teammates and coaches have given me nothing but love, support and the freedom to rediscover my love for synchronized swimming since the first day I arrived. I owe it to my Buckeye family for helping me realize that I want more growth as an athlete and I’m not ready to give up on swimming for the United States of America.”
Ohio State was preparing to compete for its fourth consecutive national title before COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of the U.S. Collegiate Championship. During the Buckeyes’ perfect regular season, Dzurko had a trio of first-place finishes in the solo category and went undefeated with partner Laila Huric in duet.