Beata Nelson Shines With Six Wins, Four #1 Times At College Challenge


Wisconsin junior Beata Nelson had an incredibly impressive performance this weekend at the ACC vs Big Ten College Challenge meet in West Lafayette, winning all three of her individual events, all three of the relays she was on, and producing four #1 times in the NCAA so far this season.

On Saturday, Nelson led off the Big Ten’s 400 medley relay at the beginning of the first session with a 100 back time of 50.86, rocketing her past Louise Hansson‘s 51.84 for the top time in the country. That swim also got her under the NCAA ‘A’ cut of 50.99. The B1G team of Nelson, Lilly KingMaggie MacNeil and Siobhan Haughey won the relay decisively in a time of 3:25.71, just six-tenths off of the U.S. Open Record of 3:25.09.

Later on in the session she won the 200 back in 1:51.85, overtaking Hansson’s 1:53.10 for another #1 ranked time.

On day 2, she led off the victorious Big Ten 200 medley relay in 24.12, won the 100 back in 51.03, and then won the 200 IM in 1:54.94. All three swims were the fastest so far this year in the NCAA as well. She then closed the meet off on the 400 free relay, leading off in a new personal best of 48.53 (improving her 48.64 from 2016) as the Big Ten women edged out the ACC by six-tenths.

Nelson was the only swimmer, male or female, to win three individual events at the meet, leading the way with 27 points. King (21), MacNeil (18) and Haughey (17) were also standout performers, including King and MacNeil winning twice each and Haughey winning once with two runner-ups, as the Big Ten women ended up dominating the ACC by a final score of 251-102.

Comparing her swims to where she was last year during the Invite season, she’s essentially right about where she was (just a few weeks ahead of schedule). At the Texas Invite (which ran November 29th-December 2nd of 2017), Nelson was slightly faster in the 100 (50.79) and 200 back (1:51.21), and slightly slower than she was this weekend in the 200 IM (1:55.16).

Her swims this weekend indicate she’s well on her way to improving on her performance last year, when she had 2nd (100 back), 3rd (200 back) and 6th (200 IM) place finishes individually at the NCAA Championships. She was also the Big Ten champion in the 100 and 200 back, and the runner-up in the 200 IM.

Nelson also has a great opportunity to win a title this season in the backstroke events after the graduation of last year’s champ Ally Howe (100 back) and Kathleen Baker (200 back) turning pro. In our pre-season predictions, Nelson was unanimously picked to win the 100 back, while Stanford freshman Taylor Ruck was favored in the 200.

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James formerly competed for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in February of 2018, placing 11th at the OUA Championships in the 200 IM, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in May. He …

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