Nashville Aquatic Club Intrasquad Meet
- September 18, 2021
- Short Course Yards (25 yards)
- Timed Finals
- Results on Meet Mobile: “NAC Inter-Squad”
There are few better feelings for a swimmer than starting a season with a new personal best time. Coming back to the pool after the season-changeover break, having not raced in a while, and still going a lifetime best can be a huge jumping-off point for a swimmer.
Thus was the case over the weekend for the Nashville Aquatic Club’s Spencer Nicholas. He swam a 49.34 to win the boys’ 100 yard butterfly. That knocked half-a-second off his previous best time, done in December 2020, as he heads into his sophomore year of high school.
Nicholas’ last race was in July, where he placed 4th at the Huntsville Futures meet in the 100 fly in 55.66 (long course). Before that, he won both the 50 and 100 butterflies as the Southeastern LSC Championships, swimming new personal bests of 24.77 and 55.33, respectively.
The COVID-marred 2020-2021 season marked a shift for Nicholas. Earlier in his career, he was primarily a backstroker, but over the last 18 months his butterfly has really started to develop into his primary stroke, especially in long course.
Doug Wharam, the associate head coach and competitive director at the Nashville Aquatic Club, says that this doesn’t necessarily represent a change in approach, but is rather reflective of the club’s philosophy.
“At NAC, our philosophy with developmental athletes is to keep the swimmers focused on improving all four strokes and the details. At any given time in their career some strokes or even distances may stand out, but that doesn’t indicate a shift in approach.”
Nicholas’ best time in the 100 fly improved by almost 6 seconds in the 2021 long course season – though he hadn’t swum the race since 2019 because of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the Tennessee High School State Championships in April, Nicholas swam the 100 back (49.56) where he placed 3rd, and the 200 IM (1:52.95) for 4th.
“Spencer has been training exceptionally well for the past 14 months,” Wareham said. “The short course swim was a great reflection on his hard work and attention to detail during the long course season. His breakthrough in the long course butterfly made this short course swim not much of a surprise.”
Nicholas’ swim is ranked 3rd in the country, among swimmers of all ages, very early into the 2021-2022 season. Looking backward, last season it would have ranked him 16th nationally in the entire season among 16-year olds. He is also now the 6th-ranked 100 yard butterflier in the high school class of 2024. That’s a ranking led by fellow Tennessean Drew Hitchcock of the Baylor School in Chattanooga, who is the defending Tennessee high school champion in the event with a 48.84 from April.