Price scores a spot on ‘23 World Games swim team

Liam Price was probably able to sense that something was up when he showed up for his regular swim practice on Tuesday evening and found a tunnel of Center Grove cheerleaders waiting for him.

It turned out to be the news of a lifetime.

Price was greeted by Special Olympics Indiana CEO Jeff Mohler, who informed the Center Grove graduate that he has been nominated for a spot on Team USA at the 2023 Special Olympics World Games, which will be held next June in Berlin.

“It’s a huge deal, and we wanted Liam to know and appreciate it from the standpoint of it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Mohler said.

“There’s no better representative for Team Indiana than Liam Price.”

The nominated athletes from all sports — Price will be Indiana’s lone male swimmer — will head to San Antonio Nov. 17-21 for the Team USA training camp, which will give an opportunity to train and bond before heading overseas. Since many of the competitors have never flown on a plane before, the camp will help them get ready for their big trip next summer.

Price is no stranger to the bright lights, having won a gold medal and a pair of silvers for Team Indiana at the Special Olympics USA Games this past summer. Having the chance to represent the entire country in a major international competition, however, is still a big deal to him.

“This is a very impressive moment, one that I was holding my breath to see if I would qualify,” Price said. “Not everybody gets this opportunity. It’s an impressive milestone for me, and this may be the only time it happens. I’m going to cherish every moment.”

At the USA Games, Price finished second in the 50-yard backstroke preliminaries but stepped his game up in the finals, defeating the top seed by .84 seconds to claim the gold. He added runner-up finishes in the 25 backstroke and the 200 medley relay.

Strangely, Price never swam competitively when he was a student at Center Grove, instead serving as a manager for the Trojans’ boys basketball team during the winter season. It wasn’t until he represented Johnson County at the Indiana Special Olympics 2018 State Games that he first started racing, but it didn’t take him long to get hooked; he won the 25 backstroke a year later.

He won three golds at the 2021 State Games after completing his freshman year as a member of the swim team at the University of Indianapolis. Price practices both with UIndy and the Center Grove Aquatic Club.

Back at his alma mater Tuesday night, with a large crowd of friends and supporters cheering him from the balcony above, Price took hold of the microphone and said, “I’m going to go there and kill it.”

That intention was made known again after the ceremony when Price was asked what he’s looking forward to the most about this upcoming experience.

“Getting to take some time off,” he said, “because that’s what I’m going to be doing this whole duration for the rest of the year.”

Watch out, world.