After SC Worlds Slight, Beata Nelson Is On Her Way to Six-Figure World Cup Payday

American swimmer Beata Nelson, for the second-straight season, was left off a US roster for the Short Course World Championships where she could have been a star for Team USA.

The American Record holder in the 100 IM, Nelson, even with no Short Course World Championships or International Swimming League season, has found a way to cash in big this fall in short course racing – her specialty.

Nelson was second among all women’s scorers at the first of three legs in this year’s World Cup Series, which so far earns her $10,000.

She is also solidly in position to finish 2nd overall in the series, which would earn her $70,000 in overall prize money, in addition to to three per-meet prize money.

In total, she could clear a cool $100,000 in prize money from this fall’s World Cup season across just three weeks of racing.

She also has four opportunities (100 back, 200 back, 100 IM, 200 IM) to earn an additional $10,000 for Crowns bonuses – winning an event in all three races this season.

Nelson has faced the stiffest competition she’ll see in most of her primary events, but Haughey will face competition too in her best events, swimmers like Katie Ledecky, Leah Smith, and Summer McIntosh.

While not a requirement, the system makes it basically impossible for an athlete to finish high in the overall ranking without swimming all three meets.

That all adds up to a big payday for Nelson this fall, which is her first full season on the World Cup circuit. In fact, it approaches the $155,800 that she earned across about 13 weeks of racing in last year’s ISL season.

Nelson’s absence from the US roster for the 2022 Short Course World Championships is a travesty. She’s a professional swimmer doing positive things for USA Swimming (and making big strides in long course, which is the one course that American swimming brass seems to care about). She’s a member of the US National Team. Most importantly, she’s a serious medal contender in two events where the US doesn’t have their maximum two entries – the 100 IM and the 200 IM.

Two gold medals, a best-case scenario, could have netterd Nelson $30,000 at Short Course Worlds, but the World Cup Series will earn her at least three times as much as going to Short Course Worlds would by prize money.

But Nelson seems to have figured out something that seemingly only about one swimmer per generation does: there is a ton of money to be made in the World Cup series for a great short course swimmer who is willing to make the commitment.

Maybe just as importantly, Nelson will get a lot more eye-balls on her swims as one of the stars of the World Cup. She’ll get more publicity, more headlines, more attention for herself and her sponsors (if she chooses to capitalize on that).

It is still a long-shot for Nelson to ever make a long course World Championship or Olympic team, and unless USA Swimming has a change-of-heart about its short course selections, that seems like it might be out-of-reach too. I doubt that she will give up on any of those dreams, but the road to those teams is going to be tough.

But Nelson could become the first-ever swimmer to prove that you can make a great career in this sport without doing any of the above, ever.

Some will see that as a slight on her career, but instead I view it as an innovation. In 100 years, when someone is writing the history of swimming, Nelson should get a chapter as the missing link on the road to truly-professional swimming.

Nelson’s Results, Berlin World Cup:

  • 50 back – 5th place, 26.47
  • 100 IM – 2nd place, 57.82 (.10 from American Record)
  • 100 back – 1st place, 56.03
  • 200 back – 1st place, 2:02.59
  • 200 IM – 1st place, 2:06.80

Top 5 Women, Berlin Stop, 2022 World Cup Series:

  1. Siobhan Haughey, Hong Kong – 58.5
  2. Beata Nelson, USA – 57.3
  3. Kylie Masse, Canada – 53.1
  4. Ruta Meilutyte, Lithuania – 52.2
  5. Beryl Gastaldello, France – 52.1

In This Story

32
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

32 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Meow
3 months ago

As Beyonce says, “your best revenge is your paper.”

Beata Fan!
3 months ago

Why are people splitting hairs over whether she was slighted, left off, didn’t qualify, didn’t meet the criteria, etc. for the SC Worlds Team. The reality is, this girl is one of the fastest SC swimmers in the world. You would think that’s enough for USA swimming to want her representing at World Championships, but the “criteria” says otherwise. She is having a lot of success on this World Cup circuit and is only proving that she is one of the best in the world.

I’m excited for her to do some fast swimming and make a great income along the way. Thanks for the article, Braden, and huge congratulations to Beata!!

Springbrook
3 months ago

Great article. Thank you, Braden. And congratulations to Beata.

But I’m still not clear on what the actual criteria are for inclusion on Team USA.

JimmySwim
Reply to  Springbrook
3 months ago

I believe it’s literally just a list of LCM times in the past year or so. Nelson wasn’t top two in LCM in any event (or near the top for any relay events) so she didn’t qualify despite having the fastest SCM time in multiple events.

Emerson
Reply to  JimmySwim
3 months ago

If you are correct regarding the criteria, that’s ridiculous. Why use lcm times for scm competition? Makes no sense.

SwimmingFan
3 months ago

Great article. Beata would make a great addition to the team. Is there no discretion built into the selection process? And if not, why?

xman
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 months ago

An actual US Law or a USA Swimming bylaw?

I think there is some politics at play that are against SCM being a halo format in America and to spend money supporting athletes in anything that is a non-Olympic event (same problem in 50 strokes and prior to 2020 with the men’s 800 and women’s 1500).

They are using SCM Worlds to give the LC national team more reps and neglecting fielding the best team for the competition.

Troyy
Reply to  xman
3 months ago

That’s obviously what they’re doing. It also allows the Olympic prospects to supplement their income with prize money from SC Worlds.

Xman
Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

I don’t even think it’s supplementing income, it’s not wanting to pay for flights food and lodging for non Olympic hopefuls. 🙄

All swim fan
Reply to  xman
3 months ago

Hit it on the head. USA swimming only cares about LCM. The focus is always the Olympics. Every dollar is targeted towards that goal. For the US SC Worlds is a training event —another chance for coaches to work with the athletes, another competitive experience for those athletes. They are going to use those limited resources on the best LCM athletes.

USA knows what it’s doing
Reply to  All swim fan
3 months ago

And this is ABSOLUTELY the right strategy for our sport. A single additional gold medal in Paris results in significantly more additional exposure for the sport in this country than any success at short course worlds.

Torte Law
Reply to  USA knows what it’s doing
3 months ago

But exposure to what end? To selling more tire sponsorships and concentrating more wealth in the top 5-6 swimmers? The type of exposure you’re referring to lasts about 10 minutes, because there’s nothing to capture that interest and drive it forward.

You’re losing sight of the forest for the sake of the trees.

Also, I think you’re all making the erroneous assumption that this process somehow leads to more Olympic medals – but I know that’s not going to be a winning argument.

Swimm
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 months ago

May we also see the list of the Top 20, not just the Top 3 to 5 swimmers? Thanks!

IMO
3 months ago

There was no “slight” and Nelson wasn’t “left off” the roster, she simply failed to qualify.

Torte Law
Reply to  IMO
3 months ago

The selection criteria are stupid. USA Swimming wrote them. They should’ve written better criteria.

Ghost
Reply to  Torte Law
3 months ago

You should volunteer for usa swimming committees that make the rules or apply to the jobs at USA swimming! Have you come up with a better system? Criteria? That is fair to every swimmer?

JimmySwim
Reply to  Ghost
3 months ago

I think the solution is pretty obvious: Have trials that are swum in SCM and use those to select the team… like how every other team is selected?

Troyy
Reply to  JimmySwim
3 months ago

My impression is that USAS doesn’t see this as a problem that requires a solution because the selection criteria are working exactly as intended and that is it’s prioritising the development and support of current and future Olympians (AKA long course swimmers). The prize money these swimmers win at short course worlds helps to ensure they remain in the sport long term.

IMO
Reply to  Torte Law
3 months ago

They have surveyed the athletes in the past. The vast majority of the athletes do not want to have to deal with resting for yet another selection meet and then again for SC Worlds.

JimmySwim
Reply to  IMO
3 months ago

She failed to qualify because the criteria are bad. They’re based on LCM times with no contingencies for swimmers who shine in SCM.

Imagine if the Olympics were chosen using SCY times.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  IMO
3 months ago

comment image

CraigH
3 months ago

He has made some Long Course teams, but I feel like Tom Shields has followed this same playbook and had a great career.

Swammer
3 months ago

It doesn’t make one brilliant or a better swimmer just because one does something that 95% of Beata Nelson’s competition (and other top competitors) chose not to do–to travel to Berlin. I also don’t see how Nelson was “slighted” out of a SC Worlds appearance; there are established criteria that need to be followed and departures from those criteria might even lead to lawsuits.

Kelsey
Reply to  Swammer
3 months ago

The departure should be to write better criteria. The fact Beata and Coleman Stewart miss the team 2 years in a row because USA swimming can’t write better criteria is not only a joke, it is embarrassing. If every other nation can figure it out then it can’t be that hard. I hope Beata absolutely cleans up the World Cup and rams the point home. Would be even better if the US miss medals in her events.

JimSwim22
Reply to  Kelsey
3 months ago

But why would we want to choose a SCM team based on SCM times…. Such a silly idea

Ghost
Reply to  Kelsey
3 months ago

Since usa wins sc medals count, maybe those other countries should use our selection process!?! And not all other countries have SC Trials for SC Worlds! Once you make exemptions, you open Pandora’s box. Just like usa political system, elections are where you voice you opinions. Run for usa committees or apply for jobs to change the system. This is the system that they chose to use and we should support it!
And where was Coleman since he broke the WR? Have done anything since last spring, summer, fall? Is he still swimming?

FST
Reply to  Ghost
3 months ago

Maybe he isn’t, because he thought ‘what’s the fing point if the selection criteria for the World Campionships leaves out the WR holder?’

Ghost
Reply to  FST
3 months ago

He swam LC trials, he could have gone to World Cup and made a lot of money…he is a pro. More money there than at World champs

Kelsey
Reply to  Ghost
3 months ago

I’m not saying have discretion I’m saying have a legit way for athletes to be chosen. It’s like choosing a distance runner for a sprint event, ridiculous. There is no reason US summer nationals after worlds couldn’t have been SC. If you were a LCM swimmer wanting to go to SC worlds then buckle up and go to nationals and if not the spot goes to an athlete that turns up.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »