When most people hear the name Nemo, they think of the energetic animated clownfish from Disney’s “Finding Nemo,” but for DHS students in tune with the boys swim team, sophomore Nehemiah Mork comes to mind. While this is only Mork’s second year on the varsity swim team, he is already proving to be a tremendous asset when it comes to scoring points and winning events at high school meets, along with past success in club swimming.
At age five, Mork started swimming lessons at the Midland Community Center because his parents wanted to see if it was something he would enjoy. Only two years later, Mork signed up with the Midland Barracuda/Dolphins swim club where he took to the water and training rather naturally. By the time he was eight-years-old, Mork had set the club record for the boys eight and under 25 yard freestyle. At age 10, he broke five more records with the Midland Cuda/Dolphins swim club and competed in the multi-state MegaZone meet in Indianapolis against top swimmers from 16 regions of the United States.
The record breaking didn’t stop there. Mork went on to be the U.S. Swimming state champion of Michigan in his age division for the 50 freestyle and 200 butterfly at age 12 and also broke eight more Cuda/Dolphins records that year. Before starting high school, he medaled in five events at the MegaZone meet.
Before reaching high school, Mork had a more successful swimming career than most others his age. But this only made him more motivated for the new experiences to come from high school swimming. At the end of his freshman year, Mork came in seventh in the 100 freestyle at the high school state meet and was a part of the DHS record setting 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay teams. However, he still isn’t satisfied yet.
“This year I’m looking to set records at Dow for the 50 freestyle and 100 free,” Mork said. “I’d like to break [records for] the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 500 free and 100 butterfly, but some of those would have to come my senior year.”
While it may sound daunting, teammate Kevin White is confident in Mork’s abilities to achieve his goals.
“He’s pretty relaxed during practice, he’s not overly stressed,” White said. “He has fun with it, which is part of what makes him so successful.”
Being a part of the team as a whole is something else Mork strongly values. There is talk about Mork being elected as a future team captain, and current junior captain Zach Hoffman thinks he would be a great fit for the team.
“He works well with everybody, he’s nice and works hard but is always relaxed at practices,” Hoffman said. “It gives the not as fast guys an image to follow and they don’t have to try too hard but they should definitely work at it still.”
It will take hard work and dedication to get his name up on the record board for a total of seven events, but Mork is willing to put in the time to get the results he wants.
“Practices are always hard,” Mork said. “Sometimes they can be a little discouraging, but in the long run I know they’re good for me. To get to where I want to be, I’ll have a lot of morning practices and need to work on a lot of technique. It’s all the technique in swimming.”
Further into the future, Mork is looking into the possibility of taking swimming past high school, but more than athletics will play a part in which school he decides to attend.
“I would like to swim in college,” Mork said. “I’m not sure where, but definitely somewhere with a good team. Right now Michigan is ranked number one in the nation, so maybe there, but I want to go into mechanical engineering so that will play a big part in where I decide to go.”
While it is only midway through the season, Mork is getting closer and closer to his goals of breaking five more records every day. The dedication he puts into the season, being a true example on the DHS team, and his commitment to the sport are what set him apart and will continue to help deliver the results he is looking for.
“Training in-season is a lot more intense than the other swimming I do year round, but it’s also a lot more fun,” Mork said. “I get to be with friends, the meets matter more and there’s a lot of team building that happens during the season. I really like swimming at Dow.”