Nick Thompson is a sixteen-year old avid water polo player and swim team member who also enjoys spear-fishing, surfing, snorkeling and freediving. Nick grew up in the seaside community of Newport Beach, California, a beautiful beach town that is home to the largest recreational harbor on the West Coast and ten miles of ocean coastline. Like most local residents, Nick has been swimming and participating in water sports since he was a young child. And, like many of his fellow community members, until recently Nick had never heard of SWB, despite completing Junior Guard training, volunteering on his neighborhood swim team as an assistant coach and participating in competitive water sports.
Nick learned of SWB from a close family friend, who shared the story of how her son succumbed to this phenomenon, also referred to as the “silent killer.” In speaking to Karen Curreri, proud Gold Star mother of Staff Sergeant and Green Beret Joseph Curreri, Nick learned that Joe drowned in a lake in the Southern Philippine Islands during his first deployment. Nick was shocked to learn that even though Joe was an accomplished All-American varsity high school swimmer, water polo player, member of the USC Pac-10 All-Conference Team, 2002 Olympic Trials qualifier and the Distinguished Honor Graduate from the highly challenging Combat Diver Qualification Course, he died of SWB. Nick learned that SWB does not discriminate and has claimed the lives of a significant number of accomplished and experienced aquatic athletes, as well as children who engage in breath holding water games.
Nick was honored to accept the invitation to become the first West Coast Ambassador for the Shallow Water Blackout Prevention Association. As part of his Community Service graduation requirement for Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA, Nick will be distributing information to local water polo teams, swim teams, Surf and Dive Shops and Jr. Lifeguard Programs across Orange County. More importantly, Nick’s hopes to honor Joe’s life and all of the other amazing people who have lost their life to SWB by increasing the public’s awareness of what SWB is and how to prevent it, thereby saving lives. With so many Southern Californians involved in water related activities the need for SWB education is paramount.
Besides sports, Nick is part of his school's governing organization, ASB, where he serves as a Senator. Nick has also devoted countless hours into his work with children on the autism spectrum and said that his motivation is his older brother, Zack, who is also on the spectrum. In his spare time, Nick enjoys music and attending concerts with his friends and family.
Welcome, Nick, we are so glad to have you!