Young Florida Swimmer Wins First Place, Gives Trophy to Rival

Joshua Zuchowski competed Dec. 7 with the Jupiter Dragons at the Santa Claus & Holiday Spring Invitational in West Palm Beach.

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013  |  Updated 1:03 PM EDT
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Joshua Zuchowski competed Dec. 7 with the Jupiter Dragons at the Santa Claus & Holiday Spring Invitational in West Palm Beach.

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One of Florida's best young swimmers earned a first-place trophy at a recent meet — and gave it to his rival.

Joshua Zuchowski competed Dec. 7 with the Jupiter Dragons at the Santa Claus & Holiday Spring Invitational in West Palm Beach.

The 9-year-old boy won first place, but he gave the trophy to his friend and rival, 10-year-old Reese Branzell, who swims with the Lake Lytal Lightning. Reese is another top swimmer in the state, but has been ill with a bone infection for weeks and could not compete in the meet.

Reese told WPBF-TV that hours after the meet, Josh sent him his trophy with a note reading: "I won this trophy for you today, and I hope to see you back in the pool."

"I miss Josh and I miss all the friends on my team," said Reese. "Being at the hospital was very hard. I feel like I'm missing out on a lot of stuff, and I wish everything could go away and I could get back in the pool."

Josh said no one made him give his trophy to Reese.

"It's because I felt bad for him," Josh said. "I talked about it with my parents, and they're teaching me to be a good sport. So I'm just trying to do what they taught me."

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