College (Grand Canyon University)
Nikolaev made an immediate impact at GCU his freshman season. He won the 100 back in a school record, WAC meet record and overall conference record 46.30 at the WAC Championships, and also nabbed the 200 back title (1:42.99) and notched a runner-up finish in the 200 IM (1:45.47). He served as a member of the WAC champion 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay (WAC and meet record 3:08.80)
Nikolaev improved greatly in his sophomore season. He won the 100 back (45.11), 200 back (1:42.00) and 200 IM (1:44.15) at the WAC Championships. He also led off GCU’s WAC champion 800 free relay, and was a member of the WAC runner-up 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay and 400 free relay teams. for his accomplishments, he was tabbed as Western Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Year
Nikolaev continued to improve in his junior year. He set the WAC Championship meet record in the 200 IM (1:43.60) and 100 back (44.88) en route to the conference titles, and also won the 200 back in a WAC record and meet record time of 1:40.81. He was a member of the WAC champion 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay and 800 free relay teams as well. This earned Nikolaev his second straight Western Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Year honor.
At his first NCAA’s, Nikolaev finished 10th in the 100 back (45.21) and 38th in the 200 back (1:44.34) and was a part of GCU’s 400 medley relay (20th), 200 medley relay (21st) and 200 free relay (22nd).
Having a year of NCAA experience under his belt, Nikolaev saved the best for last in his senior year. He finished third in the 100 back (44.33) and 28th in the 200 back (1:41.81) at the NCAA Championships, and was a member of GCU’s 19th place 400 free relay and 20th place 400 medley relay.
He once again won the 200 IM (1:44.40), 100 back (44.91) and 200 back (1:41.29) titles at the Western Athletic Conference Championships, and was part of the WAC champion 200 medley relay team which set the overall conference and championship meet record (1:24.33) in the prelims. Nikolaev also swam on the WAC champion 400 medley relay, 800 free relay and 200 free relay teams.