Nelson making a splash early in his career


(Photo: Austin Hronich/The Simpsonian)

by Matt Lash, Sports Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Holding a school record is a feat many student athletes strive for, but most don’t achieve. One freshman has challenged that by breaking six records in his first three swim meets this season for the Storm. Lap after lap, race after race, Noah Nelson keeps blowing the competition out of the water.

Nelson, an Oklahoma native, came to Simpson with intentions of continuing his swimming career. After swimming in high school and competitively for a club team, Nelson knew he wanted to continue his swimming career after he graduated from Union High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When he visited Simpson on a tour and met coach Tom Caccia, Nelson knew he wanted to join the Storm.

“I’ve been swimming for almost seven years now, and it’s a huge part of my life,” Nelson said. “I have a passion for the sport, like no other, and greatly enjoy spending time in the pool. Swimming gives me an outlet away from school and allows my mind to take a break and sort of recharge.”

With only nine swimmers on the team, six being freshman, every swimmer will play a role in the overall success of the team. Caccia is impressed with how well Nelson has performed this season, but still has high expectations for him moving forward.

“Noah is a very talented swimmer,” Caccia said. “He can swim in a variety of events and he will be a very strong contender throughout the season within our conference.”

Unlike most sports, swimming is more of an individual sport. It’s not a swimmer versus another swimmer like a novice viewer may think. In fact, coaches and swimmers alike recognize that the most important stat in swimming isn’t winning.
The main goal for swimmers is to cut time and make individual improvements to their races throughout the season. Nelson is well on his way to making drastic time cuts in his events.

“Racing is all about your heart and your mindset,” Nelson said. “Every time I get on that block I think about who I’m representing and what I stand for. Then I get off that block and go to work.”

Nelson was named the IIAC and Liberal Arts Swimmer of the Week by setting school records in the 200 individual medley, 2:00.25; 200 freestyle, 1:47.88; 500 freestyle 4:53.47; 1,000 freestyle, 10:16.73 and 200 breaststroke, 2:09.00 through three meets. It’s the first time a Storm swimmer has earned this title in the program history.

“My main goal is to score as many points as I can for the team at meets,” Nelson said. “I especially want to do well at the liberal arts and division III national championship meets later this season.”

Nelson and the young Storm team travel to Grinnell on Dec. 1.