Columbia High School senior Carter Nelson capped off his high school swimming career this weekend with two medals at the IHSA State Swim Meet in Evanston.
Making his fourth straight state appearance, Nelson placed seventh in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events at the state finals on Saturday.
With four state medals to his credit, Nelson will continue his swimming career at Texas A&M upon graduation this spring.
Nelson battled through a high fever and sickness in his final state meet.
“I wasn’t going to let being sick stop me from participating, but I definitely wasn’t 100 percent,” he said.
Nelson set a goal of placing in the top three at state this year but knew that would be difficult to accomplish since he wasn’t tapered for the meet and ended up getting sick.
“The day before the prelims, I ended up with a 102 degree fever and body aches,” he said. “It was unfortunate timing, but sometimes you are thrown unexpected things in life and how you react to them is a big part of the journey. I wasn’t going to let it stop me from racing and doing the best I could.”
Nelson said he could tell he was weaker than normal during state competition, especially in the final lap of the 100-yard event in the prelims.
“Unfortunately, I just missed getting into the A final in both events where I would have had a chance to better my place the next day,” he said. “But I was happy to have held on to my seventh place finishes the second day. Even though I ended up swimming faster than a couple swimmers in the A final on Day 2, I couldn’t place higher than seventh.”
In IHSA, swimmers must place in the top six in the prelims to battle for anything higher in the finals since there are only six lanes in the pool.
In club swimming and in college, there are eight lanes for the A final.
“It’s important to stay healthy during February and March for championship season, but this year it got me,” he said.
Nelson still has the Speedo Sectional Championship meet next weekend for his Flyers Aquatic Swim Team.
“The IHSA meets are so different than club swimming,” Nelson said. “The energy at the pool is fun and it makes swimming exciting. Even though I didn’t have a team cheering for me like the big Northern Illinois schools, I could feel the energy and I knew my family was there for me.”
Nelson said he looked forward to competing at state all four years.
“I could definitely feel that I was more comfortable and confident each year,” he said. “As I prepare for college, I am really looking forward to experiencing the team aspect and the energy the school atmosphere brings to every meet. I am ready to get to Texas A&M and get to work.