After competing in the Olympic Trials, watching the Olympic Games is a whole new experience for Greek-American Swimmer Jason McCormick.
Jason McCormick has been a champion swimmer most of his life. This year he got the thrill of a lifetime when he competed in the Olympic Trials. He didn’t make it, however, Jason is still someone to watch. Whether it’s in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo or a promising new career, he will always be a champ.
Meet Jason McCormick
Jason McCormick was born in Newport Beach, CA and moved to Boca Raton, FL when he was one. The son of Kirk and Dawn Bouzeos McCormick traces his Greek roots to Astros and Vervena in Arkadia. His parents don’t swim, though his dad was into rowing in college. Jason likely channels a love of sports and competition from his grandfather, Phil Bouzeos, who served as equipment manager for the Chicago Cardinals football team (prior to their move to St. Louis) for more than a decade, and has organized NHIBT basketball tournaments for more than 50 years.
He began swimming at age 3, and competitively since he was 4.
“Swimming is a common sport to get into in Florida, because of the heat. You can get into swimming early. I enjoyed it from the beginning. It was something I could do to burn off my energy. And it was great to be outside, too.”
This year marks his 18th year in competition.
Champion swimmer at 6
Jason showed his promise early. At the age of 6, he won five gold medals at the 2001 League Championships at the International Hall of Fame in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Of 4,000 swimmers, he was the only one to win gold in three separate events — and he broke records.
“As I got older, and received more conditioning, I got faster. I won more, which made me love it even more.”
He swam and competed all through high school, and was a six-time state champ. During his senior year, he had a perfect championship meet, winning each of his four events: 50, 100, 200, and 400 yd freestyles.
He’s a champion swimmer, yet swimming isn’t his favorite sport.
“I actually love basketball but knew I had more potential in swimming. I’ve always looked up to Michael Jordan. I did many school projects about him.”
Jason is currently in his senior year at Florida State University, on a swim scholarship.
Jason explained that a swimmer qualifies for Olympic Trials based on their times.
In 2012, he just missed qualifying for the trials by .2 seconds.
“Every year, I get a little faster. I knew I’d easily qualify this year, and I did.”
The top 1% of swimmers in the world qualify. Being 1 of 300,000 swimmers in the U.S., he was thrilled to make it.
At the convention center in Omaha, NE, he competed with 180 swimmers in the 50 meter freestyle. Only the top two swimmers in each event make the Olympic team.
“It’s a pretty big deal. I knew I wasn’t going to qualify. Still I had nothing to lose. It was nerve-wracking, but fun to experience. It was so awesome to be there. The National Guard was there. There are 17,000 seats in the convention center, which is massive for a swim meet. The biggest meet I was ever part of had 1000 spectators.”
He placed 44th in the country.
“It wasn’t my best time. I wanted to be better, but it was so cool to have been part of it.”
Swim for Greece
Like other Greek-American athletes — most recently runner Alexi Pappas — Jason would like to compete for Greece. He got the bug two years ago, when he was honored at the AHEPA National Convention. He received the Collegiate Award.
“I met so many people at the convention that were offering their connections, so I considered it. I thought there would be too many hurdles. I didn’t pursue it.”
This past spring, he’d heard that Greece needed more athletes for its Olympic rosters. He checked it out to see if he could qualify.
“It’s a slow process, and I came in late. It was impossible for 2016. I’m going to start after Rio. I hope to be in Tokyo in 2020, swimming for Greece.”
A promising career in — real estate
Jason knows he won’t be able to compete at this level long-term, so he’s working on his degree and preparing for a career in commercial real estate.
“I’ve been passionate about real estate since I was 10. I’ve since transitioned to industrial real estate, where I’m currently seeking a job. I will graduate next spring. I hope to find a good job here in Florida.
Olympics on the brain
Though Jason did not go to Rio, you can be sure he’s watching it on TV.
“I know a handful of people that are going, but it’s expensive. I’ll be watching the Olympics on TV. It’s so exciting to watch. I hope to be there in 2020.”
Remember the name Jason McCormick. Watch for him in 2020, hopefully representing Greece.