Ella Nelson

View Current photo via Peter H. Brick

About Ella Nelson

Ella Nelson is a member of the University of Virginia swim team. While attending Harpeth Hall High School in Nashville, she was teammates with Alex and Gretchen Walsh who are now teammates at UVA. At age 13, her and her teammate Gretchen Walsh, qualified for the Olympic Swim Trials for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Prior to college, Nelson was named All-State and All-Region all four years of high school. In 2018, she set a national record in the 200-medley relay.  Additionally, Nelson was named the 2017-18 national champion by Swimming World Magazine. 

UVA Women’s Swimming & Diving


In Nelson’s first year swimming for UVA, she set a school record in the 200-yard breaststroke and the 400-yard IM at the ACC championship. She was runner-up in both events earning herself All-ACC honors.  Additionally, she earned All-American honors in the 200 breast, 200 IM, 400 IM, and 800 free relay for advancing to the NCAA championship in those events.  However, she did not get to compete in the NCAA Championship because it was canceled due to the pandemic. In addition to her swimming skills, Nelson was named to the All-ACC Academic Team.


As a sophomore, Nelson anchored her 800 free relay to gold at the ACC championship.  Individually, she won the 400-yard IM at the ACC Championships and placed 3rd in the 200 breaststroke and 4th in the 200-yard IM.  At the NCAA championship meet she earned three All-American honors, finishing second in the 200-yard breaststroke and 400-yard IM and 5th in the 200-yard IM at the NCAA Championship meet.  


Nelson’s swimming skills continued to improve as she helped her 800 free relay win the ACC title which set a new meet record in the event.  Individually, she won gold in the 400 IM setting her second meet record at the ACC championship.  At the NCAA her 800 free relay placed 2nd, while she finished 3rd in the 400 IM, 4th in the 200 breaststroke, and 8th in the 200 IM.  After her NCAA championship performance, she was named a four-time All-American.


In Nelson’s senior year, she won the 500 free and the 400 IM at the ACC championship setting a new pool and meet record in the 400 IM.  Additionally, she anchored her relay to victory at the ACC championship in the 800 free relay. 

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
scy 200 Free 1:45.35 11/04/23 Texas vs. Virginia
Austin, Texas
scy 500 Free 4:38.04 02/15/23 Atlantic Coast Championships
Greensboro, North Carolina
scy 1000 Free 10:02.00 01/25/20 Virginia vs. North Carolina
Charlottesville, Virginia
scy 200 Breast 2:04.33 03/18/23 NCAA Division 1 Womens Championship
Knoxville, Tennessee
scy 200 IM 1:53.13 03/16/23 NCAA Division 1 Womens Championship
Knoxville, Tennessee
scy 400 IM 3:59.33 02/16/23 Atlantic Coast Championships
Greensboro, North Carolina
lcm 200 Free 2:02.11 07/15/22 Virginia Swimming Long Course Senior Championships
Lynchburg, Virginia
lcm 200 IM 2:14.84 06/15/21 USA Olympic Team Trials
Omaha, Nebraska
lcm 400 IM 4:45.16 05/13/23 VA WAC May Splash
Richmond, Virginia