Ryan Lochte swam with a new training partner who flew to Charlotte all the way from Arkansas to jump in the pool Tuesday.
Erik Nieman, a 15-year-old who is fighting cystic fibrosis, visited Lochte’s training base through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“My personal goal is to make it to the Olympics, but I know that making the Olympics is very hard for someone with a life-threatening disease,” Nieman, a swimmer since age 3, said in a Charlotte Observer video. “My goal is to bring hope to everybody else, because even though you have something that prohibits you from swimming, you can still make it anyways.”
Nieman spent four hours at the facility and was invited back to train again Wednesday, according to USA Today. His talent was evident in the video, when he raced Lochte.
“It was not swim lessons — it was swim improvement,” Lochte’s coach, David Marsh, told USA Today. “During practice, he had to take a break to take his enzymes, his shake he takes during practice. I think our guys saw that, and it really affected them a little bit.”