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.
There were two major international competitions that took place in December, and Nic Fink was among the top performers in both of them.
Fink, who has recently made the move from the University of Georgia in Athens to Georgia Tech in Atlanta, began the month over in Eindhoven, competing at the ISL Final for the Cali Condors.
The 28-year-old had an unbelievable performance, upsetting Energy Standard’s Ilya Shymanovich in all three men’s breaststroke events, including establishing new American Records in the SCM 50 breast (25.72) and 100 breast (55.56). In the 200, he edged Shymanovich out by .03, 2:02.41 to 2:02.44, just off of the national record he set during the playoffs in November (2:02.20).
Fink’s victories over Shymanovich were a huge factor in the battle for the league championship, with Shymanovich expected to provide some major jackpot points to Energy Standard after having broken and then re-broken the world record in the 100 breast during the two previous matches.
Fink ended up being the second-highest scorer in the match, putting up 59.5 points to trail only Energy Standard’s Sarah Sjostrom (61.0), and nearly propelled the Condors to victory.
Energy Standard ultimately won the league title by 12 points, with the Cali women’s medley relay having been controversially disqualified, but nonetheless, Fink stepped up and performed when the lights were on.
A few weeks later, after taking finals at school, Fink headed over to Abu Dhabi for the 2021 Short Course World Championships, and walked away with six medals.
Fink first won gold in the men’s 200 breaststroke, edging out Dutchman Arno Kamminga in a time of 2:02.28 to narrowly miss his American Record set one month prior. It was also the first Short Course World Championship title for the United States in a men’s breaststroke event since 2004.
Fink followed up by winning a second individual world title in the 50 breast, lowering his American Record in both the semis (25.68) and final (25.53) en route to the gold medal.
He added a third gold in the men’s 4×50 medley relay, recording a blazing 25.13 50 breast split as the U.S. tied with Russia in a new Championship and American Record of 1:30.51, and Fink also won a third individual medal, a bronze, in the 100 breast.
The Morristown, New Jersey native added silver medals in the men’s 4×100 medley relay and the mixed 4×50 medley relay, finishing with six medals to tie teammate Ryan Held and Russians Kliment Kolesnikov, Andrei Minakov and Aleksandr Shchegolev for the most among male swimmers at the competition.
Another swimmer that had a strong December was Carson Foster, who won the men’s 400 IM and contributed on the winning 800 free relay at the Minnesota Invite before heading to Abu Dhabi and winning three medals, including a gold on the 800 free relay.
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