Samantha Nickell was due to begin her collegiate career this fall at Boise State University, but after that school cut its women’s swimming & diving program over the summer, she’s now landed at the University of Hawaii, Manoa instead.
Nickell, originally from Yucaipa, California, originally committed to Boise State in 2019.
Primarily a backstroker and IMer, as a junior, she qualified for the California High School State Championship meet before that event was canceled during her senior year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
At that state meet, she swam the 100 back and 200 IM, finishing 22nd and 35th, respectively. The previous week she had been runner-up in the 200 IM and third in the 100 back at the 2019 CIF-Southern Section Division II Championships.
Nickell’s Best Times from Commitment to Boise State to commitment to Hawaii:
|When committing to Boise State||
When committing to Hawaii
* – best time since 2019 California State Meet
While Nickell didn’t get the chance to improve her two top high school-schedule events, the 100 back and 200 IM, at the end of her senior season, she did see improvements in several other events that will add to her versatility for Hawaii.
The Rainbow Wahine won their 4th-consecutive MPSF Conference Championship last season. That included a sweep of the backstroke events, Nickell’s best stroke, by then-junior Karolina Haljkova, and a 1-2 finish in the 200 backstroke.
Hawaii, who had 5 of the top 12 finishers in that 200 back at the MPSF Championships, will get even deeper with the addition of Nickell, whose best time is already fast enough to have qualified her for the A final last season.
While the 200 fly/200 back double is touch, her 200 fly time would have put her 5th at last year’s MPSF Championships. That’s actually an area where Hawaii needs a lot more help after not having any swimmers in the A, B, or C finals last season, so at least as a freshman, we could see her swim that 200 fly instead.