Elijah Warren celebrated the Fourth of July with a bang.
Not of the fireworks kind, but of the commitment kind, as the Regis Jesuit star swimmer used the holiday to give his verbal commitment to Arizona State.
Coming off a junior season in which he garnered three All-American awards from the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA), Warren decided to take his talents to Tempe, Arizona, where he will join a program currently headed by Michael Phelps’ longtime coach, Bob Bowman.
“I was really torn between Missouri and ASU, but I just felt like the opportunity at ASU is something that I couldn’t turn down,” Warren told the Sentinel.
“With Bob Bowman as the head coach and the amazing facilities, it was great on the swimming side of things, but academically it seems like a great fit as well…I saw all of their early commitments and I think something special is about to happen there.”
Nearing the dream of Division I college swimming is extraordinarily sweeter for Warren and his family, considering the obstacles he’s had to overcome to get there.
As the Sentinel detailed last summer, Warren was diagnosed with severe hemophilia — a rare blood disorder where people don’t have a clotting factor that works with platelets to stop bleeding at the site of injuries — when he was just 9 months old, making every day life more challenging.
Doctors say swimming is a non-contact sport that is perfectly suited for those with hemophilia and Warren has proven that to be true in a big way.
In high school alone, Warren is a five-time NISCA All-American who was the Class 5A state champion in the 100 yard breaststroke in 2016 and part of the championship-winning 200 yard medley relay for coach Nick Frasersmith’s Regis Jesuit team in that same year.
The All-Aurora Boys Swim Team member has a big senior season upcoming and is ready to use it to prep for the next level.
“With all I’ve had to work for and overcome, it makes it all the sweeter,” Warren said. “I’m a huge believer in work ethic and it’s really helped me get here.”
Warren is especially thrilled for the opportunity to swim for Bowman, who was the U.S. Olympic men’s swim coach in 2016, and is one of the most decorated swim coaches in American history. He’s well known for his role as Phelps’ personal coach while he presided over the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.
“It’s super exciting,” Warren said. “As an athlete, I’m always trying to better myself any way I can. To see the success he’s had with all of his athletes, it’s really exciting to me to be able to be coached by one of the best.”
Bowman will have plenty of talent to work with in Warren and the other recruits who have made the Sun Devils’ Class of 2022 look potentially exceptional.
According to Swimming World Magazine, the Sun Devils piled up several early verbal commitments from strong swimmers from around the country in Ethan Luc (Oregon), Cody Bybee (Ohio), Khalil Fonder (Virginia) and Eddie Michael (Ohio), while SwimSwam.com reports that Texas prep star Noah Henry has also made his pledge to Arizona State.
As a Regis Jesuit swimmer, Warren has been keenly aware of what two of the school’s graduates — Missy Franklin and Clark Smith — have accomplished since high school and entertains those dreams as well. Franklin is a five-time Olympic gold medalist and Smith won relay gold at last summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janiero and is on the path for more in 2020.
“I definitely want to make NCAAs soon because it’s one of the fastest meets in the world and then after that hopefully the Olympics,” Warren said.
“It’s been a huge goal and I don’t want to stop pursing that. It’s been awesome following Clark and Missy’s progress and hopefully I can come close to achieving what they have some day.”
Note: Warren’s family annually participates in Denver’s 5K Hemophilia Walk and will do so again at 9 a.m. Aug. 26 at Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver. Teams in the walk raise money for awareness and treatment of hemophilia. To pledge to Warren’s team — appropriately named the Pitchfork Pack in reference to Arizona State — click here.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel