Swim with Mike Veteran
David Lupash
is only 21, but he’s been involved with Swim With Mike for the past eight years.
In a Junior Lifeguard competition in 1988, he was running into the water in a relay race when he stepped into a hole and fell forward, breaking his neck. He was a seventh-grader at the time, but he’d learned to swim when he was three and competed in the sport since he was eight. The Swim With Mike connections began to click.
One of his instructors in Junior
Lifeguard was a friend of Crista Lawrence, an All-American swimmer who, like David, had been injured in a beach accident. Lawrence, who had received her degree from USC with the help of Swim With Mike, met him and recommended him for a scholarship. “I did home schooling to finish high school and then applied to USC just like everyone else,” says Lupash, who is an undergraduate double-majoring in economics and philosophy and one of six current Swim With Mike scholarship recipients. With understandable pride he notes that he’s also a Dean’s Scholar. “It wasn’t just because I was disabled that I qualified for financial help to go to USC,” he says.
Lupash, a quadriplegic, found school work extremely difficult at first. “I couldn’t write for myself, I couldn’t turn pages,” he explains. “Everyone in my family went to college, but after my accident I really didn’t think I could do it, just because of my physical limitations. It was overwhelming.”
The scholarship which awaited Lupash when he finished high school was, however, a source of “hope and encouragement for me. Swim With Mike made such a big difference in my life at that time. There were so many things I knew I wouldn’t be able to do again, and then I was told, ‘You can do it, because there are people like you who do it.’ ”



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