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Gettysburg swimmer overcomes broken elbow

It seemed innocent enough.

Gettysburg junior Nico DeAngelo II was doing something that he does everyday, when the unusual happened.

DeAngelo was walking down the stairs when he slipped and fell, breaking his left elbow in the process.

This was in early October and it took a metal plate and multiple screws to put the elbow back in place so that it could heal. It left a nasty scar.

On top of the pain, DeAngelo was informed that he'd miss the entire season because of the injury. But the headstrong swimmer refused to accept that.

"I was told that I'd miss the season, and that's motivating me to do great things this season," DeAngelo said. "My response was, 'Oh yeah, I'm not missing anything and I'm going to break some records when I get back in there.'"

Rehab went slowly at first. DeAngelo was out of the pool completely for a month before he was allowed to ease his way back.

"I was out of the pool for four weeks, and then I could get in and I could kick, that's all I could do," he said. "I could kick for about two and a half weeks, then I started doing half practices."

He admits he still feels pain from time to time if he hits the elbow against something or if it's put at an awkward angle.

Gettysburg coach Amanda Turner said she sees an extra benefit that came from DeAngelo's time off.

"I think the time that he was forced to take has helped him. He pushes himself hard in practice and the time off forced him to rest." Turner said. "His mom and I were so scared that he'd push himself too hard when he got back in the pool that he would hurt himself again."

At Monday's meet against York Suburban, DeAngelo lowered his personal best in the 50-yard freestyle from 22.98 seconds to 22.69 seconds, and he's considering choosing the event as one of his postseason swims. He's got his eye on the school record of 22.36 seconds, set by Arne Jager in 2003.

"I'd like to go 21.5 to 21.8 seconds in it and to make the state finals," he said.

He also swims the 100 freestyle. He set the school record in that event last year, touching the wall in 48.78 seconds to take 10th at the District 3 meet and qualifying for the PIAA meet. He finished 21st in the state.

He's also part of the Warriors' relay teams in the 200-yard medley and the 400-yard freestyle relays.