PORTSMOUTH — In life, one can never truly predict when doors will open or close.
When he graduated from Portsmouth High School in 2015, Delmer Hicks thought that his swimming career was in the books.
Little did he know that just five years later, his home university would give him the opportunity to swim at the collegiate level.
Hicks, a four-year swimming talent at Portsmouth, will get to continue his passion at the next level when the 23-year old suits up for the Bears as one of the first student-athletes to ever swim for the program when competition begins for both outfits this coming academic year.
“It’s something that I never really imagined that I’d have a chance to do after I graduated high school,” Hicks said. “To get the chance to just compete again, and do it in my hometown, is just an unbelievable feeling.”
At Portsmouth, Hicks competed in just about every event imaginable in order to not only help the Trojans get on the scoreboard, but to help Gerald Cadogan build up the swimming program.
In all, Hicks swam in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle events and became the team’s main butterfly swimmer among various other events for the Trojans.
“I started out doing relay events and the 100 and 50-meter freestyle events, but as we lost some swimmers over time, I just started swimming whatever events we could to rack up the most points,” Hicks said. “I swam the IM a few times, and swam some distance in freestyle too. Competing in high school was always exciting. It gave myself and our team a chance to go up against the other swimmers in the area to see where we stacked up against everyone else.”
A distinguished student, Hicks — in addition to swimming, playing tennis and running on the cross country squad at Portsmouth — was a member of the Trojans’ National Honor Society and Key and Physics Clubs.
He was also a part of the school’s pep club, led the school cheerblock, and performed with the Portsmouth Show Choir at events around the area.
Not surprisingly, Hicks has gone on to greater success following his high school days as well.
After graduating from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in finance, Hicks — in his mid-20s — already serves as the manager for a family-owned business, Ohio Valley Propane, and is also an accountant for Setters CPA in Portsmouth.
If that wasn’t enough to impress you, he’s done all of that while accumulating exactly 150 hours of academic credit at Shawnee State, and is in line to obtain a second bachelor’s degree in accounting — even holding a 3.9 GPA while holding down his present work positions.
A true definition of a workaholic?
“I hope to maintain a 4.0 in all of the courses that I take from here on out to make sure that I’m well prepared for the CPA exam,” Hicks said. “In the pool, I just want to do whatever I possibly can in order to help the team and Gerald out in this inaugural season. Hopefully, I can also be a part of setting a couple of school records, especially since there isn’t any in place yet!”
With this newfound opportunity, Hicks — who was initially approached by Cadogan to help assist the latter in his efforts toward building the SSU program — suggested that he still had gas left in the tank.
“The process started shortly after Gerald was named the SSU head coach,” Hicks said. “He mentioned that he wanted me to help him coach, and I half-jokingly mentioned that I was going to be taking a couple of classes and might be able to swim. A while went by, I saw him at Patties and Pints, he mentioned it again, and by that time, I had enough credit hours lined up, so I told him that once I healed up from a recent injury, I would hit the pool and start getting ready for competition.”
Then again, it’s easy to get up to competing for a person like Gerald Cadogan.
Just ask Hicks.
He knows as well as anybody does.
“Gerald always did a great job in getting us ready and motivated for all of our meets,” Hicks said. “He really took a lot of pride in Portsmouth and made sure that we all went out and gave it our best to try and bring hardware back to our school. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he brings that same passion to anything that he pursues.”
For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit www.ssubears.com or visit the Twitter and Facebook pages at https://twitter.com/SSUBears and https://www.facebook.com/SSUBears. For more information on how to join the SSU Bear Club, visit https://givetossu.com/bear-club.