Student killed in Florida shooting was going to be a UIndy swimmer

Photo of Nicholas Dworet. (Provided Photo/TS Aquatic Club)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — One of the students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday was set to come to Indianapolis, and one of his friends said he died a hero.

Nicholas Dworet was headed to the University of Indianapolis in the fall. He was going to join the swim team.

Diego Avellaneda said he was on a club swim with Dworet. He did not go to school with Dworet, but he waited for hours with friends hoping to hear good news on the then-missing Dworet.

When Avellaneda and friends found out Dworet was among the deceased, Avellaneda said he spoke with some of the law enforcement. They told Avellaneda they believe Dworet left his classroom trying to find and protect his younger brother, a freshman at the school.

“Nick was a hero. He put himself, I mean he put others above him,” said Avellaneda. “The fact that he ran from his classroom to his brother to protect him. and no doubt the scariest moment of his life he ran out there trying to protect him.”

Avellaneda said Dworet’s younger brother was hurt but is expected to be okay.

Earlier Thursday, the swim coach from UIndy, Jason Hite, spoke glowingly of his recruit, who he said was energetic and vibrant.

“He was exactly what we wanted at this university and what we wanted as a coaching staff,” said Hite. “Part of the recruiting process is the team has to embrace him, too. You come in Monday morning you ask hey how was Nick, and they were like, oh yeah he was great. Love to have him here.”

Dr. Robert L. Manuel, president of the University of Indianapolis, released this statement on Thursday morning:

I am deeply saddened to share with you that we just received notification that Nicholas Dworet, who would have become a member of our University of Indianapolis family as an entering freshman this fall, died in the shootings yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

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. Today, and in the coming days, I hope you will hold Nick, his family, all of the victims, as well as the Parkland community and first responders in your prayers.

Nick was a recruited athlete to our swim team. Coach Jason Hite, Vice President Sue Willey and I have been in contact with the Dworet family and will continue to offer support in the coming days.

Nick’s death also reminds us of the far-reaching impact of these national acts of violence. We will find ways in the coming days to help Nick’s family — and I hope our Greyhound 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.

Diego Avellaneda said Dworet had a big heart and was a leader on the club swim team. He said Dworet had big dreams, hoping to compete in the 2020 Summer Olympics for his parents’ home country, Sweden.

The swim team will have grief counselors available to them. Hite said the team has discussed what to do to help and honor Nick and his family.

17 people were killed in the shooting. Nikolas Cruz, 19, has been arrested in the case.