Ultra Swimmer of the Month: Beata Nelson

Ultra Swim Swimmer of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based swimmer who has proven themselves over the past month. As with any item of recognition, Swimmer of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one athlete whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a swimmer who was visibly outperforming other swimmers over the month, or one whose accomplishments slipped through the cracks among other high-profile swims. If your favorite athlete wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.

Not that anyone’s surprised, but Beata Nelson has been absolutely tearing up the FINA World Cup circuit through the first two stops of the series.

Nelson, a 24-year-old American pro who was an NCAA star at the University of Wisconsin, has combined to win six events and finish as the runner-up twice through the Berlin and Toronto stops of the World Cup, making her the overall points leader with the final leg in Indianapolis to come this weekend.

Nelson won the women’s 100 back, 200 back and 200 IM in Berlin while placing second and finishing just one tenth shy of her American Record in the 100 IM, and then in Toronto, she had the same result in all three races, though she ended up going faster in three of them.

In the 100 back, Nelson overcame a loaded to win the event in a time of 55.75, .01 shy of her lifetime best set this past August in Australia, and in the 200 back, she clocked 2:00.50 to near her 2:00.27 PB from the 2020 ISL Final.

She saved her best for the last on Sunday night, as Nelson took down Canadians Sydney Pickrem and Summer McIntosh to win the 200 IM in 2:05.08, knocking three-tenths off her previous best time.

Nelson’s Performances: FINA World Cup – Berlin

  • 50 back – 26.47 (5th)
  • 100 back – 56.03 (1st)
  • 200 back – 2:02.59 (1st)
  • 100 IM – 57.82 (2nd)
  • 200 IM – 2:06.80 (1st)

Nelson’s Performances: FINA World Cup – Toronto

  • 50 back – 27.02 (11th)
  • 100 back – 55.75 (1st)
  • 200 back – 2:00.50 (1st)
  • 100 IM – 58.06 (2nd)
  • 200 IM – 2:05.08* (1st)

*new personal best

After placing second in the individual points standings and earning $10,000 in Berlin with 57.3 points, Nelson matched that showing in Toronto, scoring 58.3 to rank second behind Canadian Maggie MacNeil.

She now heads into the Indianapolis leg with a 2.7-point cushion on Siobhan Haughey for the overall title. The winner will win $100,000, and second place will get $70,000.

All of this success in the short course pool comes on the heels of Nelson being controversially left off the U.S. roster for the Short Course World Championships in December, something that comes as a result of the selection criteria being solely based on the U.S. National Team (selected via long course times).

Nonetheless, it’s been an outstanding month for Nelson, who heads to Indy with a ton of momentum and a hefty payday on the way.

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3 months ago

Presumably the competitions at US National Trials and especially at World Championships are expected to be stronger than at World Cup. So the success at World Cup should not affect in general the selection procedure.
I wish Beata to get this 100K+ prize money. First of all as the payoff for the great efforts. And secondly because her example of a good but not elite (she still hasn’t pass selection for World Championships) swimmer who could make substantial earnings to support herself as a professional will make World Cup competition more exciting, attractive and respectful.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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