How Beata Nelson and the Madison Aquatic Club Gear Up for Trials

Photo Courtesy: Brooke Wright

By Allison Pierce, Swimming World College Intern

In 2012, at a last chance meet in Houston, Texas, 12-year-old Beata Nelson made her final attempt at qualifying for the Olympic Trials. Flash-forward four years later, and she is looking to finish in the top eight in Omaha, Nebraska in just a few short weeks.

“I have been preparing since 2012 when I just missed my Olympic Trials cut. It’s been four years coming, and I can’t wait,” said Nelson. In order to prepare, Nelson explained, “I am doing more out of water training with TRX and eating foods that fuel my body for the best training and performance. I am also making sure my mental game is strong, and that I stay focused and confident in my training.”

Along with more dryland, nutritional focus, and mental preparation, the question arises, “How will Nelson conquer long course?” because she is known to many as an underwater specialist. Nelson commented, “I will utilize the walls and underwaters that I get, but I have been working more on my technique and speed on top of the water to gear up for Trials.”

Nelson swims for Madison Aquatic Club (MAC), a club team based in Madison, Wisconsin, and under leadership of Head Coach and club owner, Shane Ryan. Regardless of having Olympic Trial cuts or not, Ryan’s practices have the same focus.

Ryan added, “We realize not everyone will make Olympic Trials, but we are all getting into the spirit of the Olympics by trying to prepare like we are and be at our very best to compare ourselves with the world.” Preparation includes endurance, race pace, and race strategy. According to Ryan, it is also important to simply be as well-rounded as possible, and in the best shape possible.

Nelson will be competing in the 100 fly, 100 back, 50 and 100 free, 200 IM, and 200 back in Omaha. According to, Nelson was tied with fellow Wisconsin native Katherine Drabot as the top recruit in the nation for the 2016 class. She is a member of the United States Junior National Team, and will swim for the University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall.

Another member of Madison Aquatic Club who will be competing at the Olympic Trials is Drew TeDuits. TeDuits swam for the University of Wisconsin-Madison all four years, where he was crowned NCAA Division I champion in the 200 backstroke his sophomore year in 2013. After his four years of NCAA eligibility, TeDuits chose to train with Madison Aquatic Club for the Olympic Trials, where he will be swimming the 100 backstroke.

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

TeDuits explains the importance of a good mindset when going into the Olympic Trials.

“I think my attitude is definitely my biggest strength,” he noted. “I have nothing lose and everything to gain. This is most likely my last meet, and I intend to give it everything I have and enjoy every moment.”

Head Coach Ryan also emphasizes a swimmer’s mindset when reaching goals in swimming, and in life. He instills the mentality in Madison Aquatic Club’s top swim groups that qualifying for Olympic Trials is the standard.

“The Olympics are the pinnacle of our sport– it’s what the sport is all about. Everything in between (state, zones, Nationals) are stepping stones. If you don’t have big dreams and work towards them, you never know how far you can actually go, in swimming and in life,” Ryan said.

TeDuits and Nelson hope that they can be role models for other swimmers on Madison Aquatic Club who are striving for Olympic Trials cuts.

“I hope that the kids I train with see how important hard work is and know that with that hard work and a determined attitude, you can achieve your dreams,” Nelson said. “I want my teammates to see that no dream is too big and there is no impossible in the sport of swimming.”

TeDuits added, “I think the biggest way [to motivate teammates] is people see me as just an ordinary guy, nothing too special, and that lets them all see that making Trials isn’t impossible. It is definitely very hard, but if you have the passion, put in the work, and enjoy it, just about anything is possible.”

One of those swimmers motivated by TeDuits and Nelson is Rachel Powers, who trains in Madison Aquatic Club’s top group with TeDuits and Nelson.

“Being able to train with people that already have their Trials cuts makes me want to work harder in practice to try and get my own cut,” Powers explained. “It’s also really nice to have teammates that are cheering for you to try and reach your goals, too.”

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