A pair of Arizona natives, Taylor Shewchuk from the Scottsdale Aquatic Club and Maddie Nichols from Life Time Arizona Swim team, have verbally committed to the Washington State Cougars.
The two make good complements, and by the spring of 2016 could very well be the front-half of the Cougars’ medley relays.
Nichols could be the backstroker on this hypothetical relay, with a yards best of 56.49. She’s also a solid 100 butterflier (56.20) and sprint freestyler (24.04/52.37) as well.
Shewchuk, meanwhile, is a very good breaststroker and a Winter Nationals qualifier in both the 100 yard (1:03.98) and 200 yard (2:16.86) distances.
The Cougars currently have a solid front-half to their relay, made up of juniors Loree Olson (54.72 backstroke) and Frederikke Hall (1:02.34 breaststroke). Both Shewchuk and Nichols are heading in the right direction, having shown significant improvements each in their primary strokes as juniors (more on that in a moment), but worst-case they’ll have a season to settle into college swimming before being in primary position to take over on Tom Jager’s medley relays.
As for those improvements, Shewchuk went from a 1:06.0 to a 1:03.9 in the 100 yard breaststroke across the 2013-2014 season. Nichols went from a 57.1 to a 56.4 in her first season training at Life Time Arizona (she had been a Coley Stickels trainee at the Phoenix Swim Club previously).
Both swimmers compete for rival teams in Arizona’s Division I. Shewchuk, who swims for Chaparral High School, was 4th at the state meet last year in the 100 breaststroke. Nichols was 4th at that meet in both the 100 back and 100 fly for Desert Vista.
While Shechuk got a state title as part of the 200 medley relay (Nichols’ relay placed 3rd), Nichols go the last laugh as her Desert Vista team took the overall state title.