Swimming World October 2021 Presents – Up & Comers: Phoenix Swim Club’s Maryjane (MJ) Neilson – Sponsored By Spectrum Aquatics

Swimming World October 2021 - Up & Comers - Phoenix Swim Club's Maryjane (MJ) Neilson
Phoenix Swim Club's MJ Neilson [PHOTO BY KEN BARCINAS]

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Age Group Swimmer of the Month

Up & Comers: Phoenix Swim Club’s Maryjane (MJ) Neilson

By Shoshanna Rutemiller

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Fifteen-year-old Maryjane (MJ) Neilson is tearing up the pool! The newly aged-up Phoenix Swim Club athlete achieved high-point honors this summer at the Arizona Long Course Age Group Championships. She took home gold in the 400 meter freestyle (4:29.82), 100-200 butterfly (1:03.12, 2:20.22) and 200 IM (2:26.53). She also placed second in the 400 IM (5:14.33) and third in the 100 freestyle (59.96).

This isn’t the first time this versatile swimmer has topped the podium. Neilson hasn’t lost the 100 butterfly at the last four Arizona Age Group Championships! Even though butterfly is her self-proclaimed “best thing she does in swimming,” the medals she’s won in freestyle and IM also speak for themselves.

But swimming fast isn’t the only thing Neilson does at meets. She has a passion for singing and has sung the national anthem before swim meets. In her free time, she volunteers by serving food and care packages to the homeless. She has also coached young swimmers in the YMCA summer recreation league!

SWIMMING WORLD: WHAT IS THE BEST THING YOU DO IN SWIMMING?
MARYJANE NEILSON: Swimming butterfly is probably what I do best. It is my best stroke, with the 200 fly being one of my best—and favorite—events. I have always loved swimming butterfly, and it was one of the first strokes that I learned. The movement just seemed to feel natural for me.

SW: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TOUGHEST WORKOUTS/SETS YOU’VE DONE?
MJN: A set that really sticks in my head is one that now doesn’t seem so tough, but at the time was really challenging. It was shortly after moving up to a higher training group and getting used to being back in the water after the COVID shutdown. It started with 8 x 175 on 2:15 best stroke (fly), holding your best 200 SCY time, which for me at that time was 2:06-mid. I ended up surprising myself by holding mostly 2:03s.

SW: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT SWIMMING?
MJN: I love how it provides the opportunity to meet many different people from teams all over the country. I have made so many great friends through swimming. Some of my best friends swim on different teams, live in other states, and have been—and are still—some of my toughest competitors.

SW: WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR?
MJN: Having a more normal high school experience. I spent my entire freshman year at home, online because of COVID. I have been back to school in-person so far this year, and I love it.

SW: WHO IS SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN SWIMMING… AND WHY?
MJN: I really look up to Hali Flickinger. Some of her best events are some of the biggest “beasts” in swimming—the 2Fly and 4IM. It takes intense effort, focus and challenging training sets to develop the power and endurance to make up for the height advantage taller swimmers have. I feel like I have to train and compete harder and stronger, stroke for stroke, compared to my taller peers.

Hali inspires me because of what she has been able to accomplish in her swimming career. She is proof that you don’t have to be the tallest one on the block to be an elite swimmer, make the Olympic team, stand on the podium, and come home with medals. I’d love to meet her and try a 200 fly set with her. It would be an honor just to swim next to her!

SW: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE HOBBIES?
MJN: I love doing nails—mine and my friends. Gel and dip are my favorite. I also love playing with my golden retriever, Phoebe, and competing—in anything—with my twin brother, Teddy.


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Swimming World October 2021 - David Popovici - New Kid On The Block - COVER
[PHOTO BY GEORGIO SCALIA / DEEPBLUEMEDIA]

 

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FEATURES

010     THE OLYMPIC “QUADRENNIUM:”  A LOOK BACK AND A LOOK AHEAD
by David Rieder
Swimming World reflects on the last five years since the last Olympic Games in Rio and ponders the questions that lie ahead during the next three years leading up to Paris 2024.

014     A CANADIAN SURGE
by Matthew De George
Swimmers from Canada exceeded expectations at the Tokyo Games. And the Canadian delegation showed that the future is as bright as the present, with prolific young talents on both sides of the competition.

020    ISHOF FEATURE: AQUATOTS MURDER CASE—THE KATHY TONGAY STORY (Part 1)
by Bruce Wigo
It is doubtful that in the annals of aquatic history, there has ever been an example of abusive parents like the story of “little Kathy Tongay.”

024    EXPECT GREAT THINGS!
by John Lohn
David Popovici just turned 17 years old, but the Romanian sprint freestyler appears poised to follow a path to prominence.

031    NUTRITION: KNOW THYSELF
by Dawn Weatherwax
Knowing your body composition can help you swim fast and stay healthy.

COACHING

029    BASIC DRYLAND TRAINING
by Michael J. Stott
A concentrated, ongoing strength and conditioning regimen provides a quality supplement to in-pool training, helping swimmers become stronger and faster. Coaches Ron and Rich Blanc of Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Southern California share last season’s dryland training schedule that helped his girls’ and boys’ teams become national powers.

030    WEIGHT ROOM COMMON SENSE
by J.R. Rosania

These “Do’s and Dont’s” are courtesy of exercise scientist J.R. Rosania, whose performance enhancement firm Healthplex serves multisport athletes worldwide.

034    SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: MAXIMIZING SWIMMING VELOCITY (Part 5): MINIMIZING THE ARM RECOVERY PHASE
by Rod Havriluk
The greatest possible time decreases for additional swimming velocity increases are in the non-propulsive phases (entry and recovery). This article includes strategies to minimize the recovery phase time of all four strokes.

045    Q&A WITH COACHES RON & RICH BLANC
by Michael J. Stott

046   HOW THEY TRAIN MAGGIE McGUIRE & JACK NUGENT
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

033    DRYSIDE TRAINING:  BACK TO BASICS (Part 1)
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

044   UP & COMERS:  MARYJANE (MJ) NEILSON
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS

008    A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

009    DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT FAMOUS GUYS WHO GOLF?

016    HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

036   PREP SCHOOL DIRECTORY`

048   GUTTERTALK

049    PARTING SHOT

 

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