Suzy Nicoletti ’02 National Champion For Record-Breaking Swim In 200-Yard Breaststroke

CMS swimmer Suzy Nicoletti ended her college swim career with a dream-come-true win on Saturday, during the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships in Oxford, Ohio. Nicoletti, who had just missed winning the 100-yard breaststroke (her strongest event) during Friday’s finals, went on the next day to win the 200-yard breaststroke with a CMS and SCIAC record time of 2:21.17.

“It was a tight race toward the end, with a UC Santa Cruz swimmer closing in on (Nicoletti),” CMS athletics director Mike Sutton says of the event. “But Suzy led it wire-to-wire. Clearly it was her best race, and I think the title speaks to her competitive spirit, as well as her preparation, and it being the right moment in her career. It’s something that we’re celebrating, that’s for sure.”

Nicoletti is the first CMS women’s swimming national champion. Fellow athlete Lauren Williams ’02, with Nicoletti, finished 15th as a team in the Division III NCAA championships. Between them, both women set four records in a combined six swims. Nicoletti says that beyond her own mental preparation for the meet, it was Williams who helped her swim her best in the 200 breaststroke this season by motivating her to work hard in the pool. “Every day I would get in her lane, and she really put me to work,” Nicoletti says.

Ironically, Nicoletti says the 200 breaststroke was her weakest event in last year’s finals, and that her entry time lagged a full seven seconds behind Saturday’s record finish. “So naturally, no one thought I had a shot in the 200 this year,” she said, laughing.

Sutton says Saturday’s victory was the perfect closure to Nicoletti’s swim career with CMS, and that since most athletes give up sports after graduation, “It’s definitely a milestone win for Suzy, but not a stepping stone,” he said.

Nicoletti, meanwhile, does have plans to swim after graduation, though at a non-competitive level. She has just been awarded the Avery scholarship to swim in China, where she’ll study first-hand what that country’s rigorous swim institutes are like.

As for Saturday’s victory, “I certainly couldn’t have scripted this kind of ending,” she said.