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'I never had that': Louisville athlete dives into the value of LGBTQ+ representation

The only publicly gay man on the USA Swimming National Team graduated from UofL.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — UofL Swimmers are quite familiar with the Olympic Games. The school has a strong history of sending swimmers to the games to compete. However, the 2024 Olympics could be a first.

Nick Albiero just graduated from UofL with his MBA. But, his credentials don’t end there. As a student athlete, Nick won 12 swimming national titles, 16 ACC titles, and the list goes on. 

What’s not listed in bullet point fashion on his career fact sheet is something unique that sets him apart.

Right now, Nick is the only publicly gay man on the entire national swimming team, and he has his eyes on Paris 2024.

“To make the Olympic team, I think I would be representing more than just me and my team, and my family,” he said. “It’s a whole community that I’m so grateful to be a part of, especially in Louisville.”

Nick’s sexuality shouldn’t matter. However, at a time when bills identified as “anti gay,” and “anti trans” are making their way through the Kentucky Legislature and other statehouses around the country, he feels compelled to make his presence meaningful. 

It’s a pressure and responsibility he says he welcomes.

“I don’t feel like this is up to me and I’m going to let the whole community down, I don’t feel that way at all, and I don’t want to feel that,” he said. “I feel like I have more support than a normal person.”

Nick says he's proud to come from a loving and supporting family, one that includes a mother and father who were world class swimmers. However, he recognizes the struggles other young people face. 

His thoughts go to those attending schools where young people are not allowed to be their authentic selves. It's an experience he shares having attended a local, private, Christian high school.

“I think I’m still recovering from that,” he said. “I’ve gotten help. But, when you’re told who you are for so long, you lose yourself. I took some time away from swimming last year and just tried to figure out which end is up.”

There’s power in being unique. People see you. Nick’s benefit now is, he also sees himself clearly. He’s using his platform drive the point that inclusion matters.

“I just want to make sure the kids like me around the world and in the United States are seeing someone that they feel represents them because, I never had that growing up,” he said. “I never had an out male swimmer who was doing the things that I’m trying to do. I never had that.”

Nick barely missed making the 2021 Olympic Team. He hopes to compete at the world championships this summer, the Olympic trials next year, with the ultimate goal of representing the USA in Paris next year.

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