Park City swimmer Ralph Fiscus signs for Miami University |

Park City swimmer Ralph Fiscus signs for Miami University

Fiscus took home an individual state title as a senior

Park City High School senior Ralph Fiscus signs to swim at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, as his family watches on during a ceremony on Monday.
David Jackson/Park Record

Park City senior Ralph Fiscus made it official Monday afternoon: He’s Ohio bound. 

Fiscus, who won an individual state title in the 500-yard freestyle at February’s Class 5A state meet, signed to swim at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. 

“Feeling really great, this is a really fun experience to know that all my work has come full circle,” Fiscus said. “Ever since I went on a recruiting trip earlier in the season, I really found that Miami was this really vibrant place, vibrant campus, great team. I just really knew it was a great place for me after doing some further evaluation.”

Fiscus started reaching out to smaller schools the end of his sophomore year. As his times improved and he built more connections, he started focusing on a couple of schools. Fiscus wound up taking a recruiting trip to Miami, and he was sold, even though it wasn’t really on his radar until last summer.

“Just a really fun place, it’s a great academic school, great athletics, but I think overall, most importantly, I kind of found that the coaches and the team, they were just super awesome,” Fiscus said. “It was such a vibrant, fun team culture. Everyone there was incredibly supportive, and you add that to the great academics and great athletic achievements everyone has had, just really made it a great place and something I’d really want to be a part of.”

Fiscus sees himself continuing to swim the same events in college, but he’s open to new opportunities as well.

“I’m looking to continue swimming my distance events – 500 freestyle, mile and 1,000 – but I kind of (want) to see what the coaches might put me in because they might say that I can specialize in another kind of event,” Fiscus said. “If I decide to do that, then maybe it’s a new opportunity to kind of excel at something new.”

Fiscus estimated that swimming in college at the Division I level wasn’t a realistic goal until between half a year and a year ago. He joined a new club team and has seen his times improve significantly. When he looks back on growing up swimming in Utah, he can see how far he’s come. Fiscus went from looking at Division III schools to signing at the top level.

“When I first kind of started swimming at age 10, when I was that kind of little guy in the back of the pool just not really knowing what he was doing and just really accelerating that and then up to about a year-and-a-half ago, when I quit the club team here and then joined the (Wasatch Front) Fish Market team down in Salt Lake,” Fiscus said. “I remember that first practice just being a real eye opener and seeing just how supportive the whole swim community here in Utah is, not just in Park City.”

Winning that state title this year gave him one last achievement to fulfill before heading off to college. 

“Winning a state title and everything, that was one of my long-term goals my entire high-school career,” Fiscus said. “Since I started swimming, I’ve always wanted to win an individual event, a state title. Seeing that all come full turn and come to me, I really, really enjoyed it.”

“(Miami was) incredibly excited, having another state champion on their team is definitely a standout in everything,” Fiscus added. “Everyone there is already so supportive, so knowing that I made that achievement that’s both a very impressive achievement but also personally endearing for me really made me proud.”

Ralph Fiscus, pictured here at a meet earlier this past season, won an individual state title in the 500-yard freestyle.
Park Record file photo by David Jackson

Park City coach Gadi Shamah only coached Fiscus on the high school team this year, but it was long enough to see what he brings to the table.

“He’s one of the hardest workers in the pool,” Shamah said. “Obviously, he’s talented, but his work ethic is second to none, that’s his standout. And his enthusiasm, he’s never sitting out sets, he’s never bored, he’s always wanting to do more. And he works harder than most anyone we have. He’ll do well.”

“It’s absolutely a dream come true, not only as a coach,” he added. “I’m just more excited for him and what he has in store for him moving forward. Like I said, he’s earned it, he’s absolutely been fantastic to work with. I just can’t wait to hear what happens in his next chapter.”

For other swimmers in Park City, it shows that Division I swimming is a possibility.

“I think the kids all feed off each other, and when we see champions like that, they all follow him looking up,” Shamah said. “They all want to be where Ralph is. It absolutely helps our program.”


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