Young Swim Champ Displays Amazing Act of Sportsmanship to Hospitalized Rival

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2013


Stories like this are what make sports so great.

Nine-year-old Josh Zuchowski and 10-year-old Reese Branzell are the top-ranked swimmers in their group in Florida. However, Reese was hospitalized on Nov. 8 due to a mysterious bone infection and was unable to compete in swim meets.

When Josh won first place at the Santa Claus Swim Invitational on Dec. 7, a meet that Reese had to miss, he decided to do something to make his friend feel better. Josh sent Reese the trophy that he won for coming in first along with a letter, according to Randy Gyllenhaal of WPBF News.

via the Huffington Post

Reese's father, Derek Branzell, thought it was a great gesture, via HLN's Jackie Damico:

It wasn't his fastest time, but at that moment he was swimming for Reese. He was winning for Reese.


Every race it's like, 'Good luck, Josh', 'good luck, Reese,' they reach across the lane and shake hands.


I was speechless. I didn't know what to say. A 9-year-old kid did this on his own. It was amazing.


These kids have the respect that true adult athletes have that you wouldn't expect kids to understand.

Reese has been in and out of the hospital the last month while dealing with a bacterial infection in his hip. He is now at home and on antibiotics. Josh hasn't been able to visit yet, but the two boys will try to meet up when they can.

Josh's actions have turned a sports rivalry into a great story. 

Thanks to for the video, and hat tip to the Huffington Post for the find.