Nikki Dzurko, a junior on the Ohio State synchronized swimming team, earned a spot on the USA Artistic Senior National Team and will train for the Olympics, 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.”
Dzurko was one of three athletes chosen out of a pool of 28 swimmers who performed solo routines and underwent testing assessed on their technical skills. The top three athletes in the final rankings based on an average of all the evaluations received an invitation to join the Senior National Team.
“It came as a surprise to me that I made the team,” Dzurko said. “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 Buckeyes, who boast a school-record 32 national championships, had expectations of winning their fourth straight national title before the season was cut short ahead of the U.S. Collegiate Championship due to the pandemic.
Dzurko, a Los Gatos, Calif., native, posted three first-place finishes in the solo category and went undefeated with duet partner Laila Huric during an undefeated season for the Scarlet and Gray.
Becoming a Buckeye changed Dzurko’s perspective on synchronized swimming. She always had talent, but her passion for the sport surged since her arrival in Columbus.
“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.”
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