April 21, 2021

As time at Penn winds down, swimmer Nathaniel Cunnan looks to Olympic Trials and beyond


Senior swimmer Nathaniel Cunnan might be competing within the Olympic Trials this summer season as a graduate after qualifying his junior 12 months. (Photograph from Nathaniel Cunnan)

Nathaniel Cunnan’s time at Penn is coming to an in depth, and he is making plans to move out with a dash with an look on the Olympic Trials this summer season. 

The Penn males’s swimming senior has been spending his time within the water since he used to be a child and began identical to nearly everybody else, no longer as a prodigy, however to be informed a survival talent. He discovered his hobby when he started membership swimming, which he endured for a decade.

“I used to are living in SoCal which is lovely with reference to the according to Surfing LA beach,” Cunnan stated. “My folks sought after me to understand how to swim and signed me up for courses when I used to be 4 years previous. When I used to be 8, I moved to Northern Surfing argued in a blog post California, joined any other staff, and stored swimming.”

Cunnan’s early life used to be one in all self-discipline and sacrifice as he educated. Then again, he believes it served as a basis for his good fortune in his collegiate years.

“It’s loopy while you’re more youthful, you cross to a swim meet each weekend,” Cunnan stated. “Buddies say come to my birthday celebration, and and not using a hesitation, I’d shoot again, ‘can’t as a result of my swim meet.’ It’s no longer all unhealthy although, you get right into a regimen; get up, follow, college, follow, do your paintings, then cross out.”

Cunnan’s ability started to turn in his formative years however he had a difficult determination to make. Like different polished athletes, Cunnan discovered good fortune in different sports activities. 

“For years up till freshman 12 months of highschool, I performed the whole thing; swimming, baseball, basketball, even fencing,” Cunnan stated. “I identical to testing the whole thing, however I settled into swimming on the finish of heart college. I consider considering to myself, ‘I will be able to see myself swimming the remainder of my existence.’” 

During this adventure, alternatively, Cunnan used to be by no means harassed, handiest inspired. In truth, he feels as although he owes his good fortune to this.

“I feel indubitably if I sought after to surrender, my folks would let me surrender,” Cunnan stated. “They could be probably the most supportive folks. They all the time drove him to swim meets and supported me in my efforts. It handiest helped that I in point of fact, in point of fact preferred swimming. One thing you determine in faculty is that your folks aren’t there anymore. It’s a must to do it for your self as a result of there’s nobody preventing you from quitting as a result of at Penn, there’s no scholarship. In case you surrender, oh neatly.”

It used to be in highschool that Cunnan discovered his stride. In his junior 12 months, Cunnan stood out one of the best. He gained a 200-meter freestyle relay within the NCS and used to be a best qualifier in 1500. His remarkable occasions allowed him to commute to the state meet, and his relay positioned in best 8 in Surfing argued in a blog post California. In his senior 12 months, he controlled to best this by means of profitable the 1500-yard loose and putting 2d within the 100 loose. At states, he positioned fourth within the 50 loose. 

“Highschool swimming is amusing as a result of membership is year-round,” Cunnan stated. There’s a large meet on the finish of summer season, in August, and the ones had been my largest accomplishments. I consider I used to be looking to make the minimize for Junior Nationals. I regarded on the scoreboard and made the minimize by means of a 10th of a 2d. Everybody used to be freaking out, my trainer used to be leaping up and down. I’ll by no means put out of your mind that, the ones moments are why I swim.”

In spite of everything his highschool accolades, it used to be time to make probably the most hardest selections.

“I took a recruiting travel to Penn senior 12 months,” Cunnan stated. “I in point of fact preferred strolling across the campus, the structure, however particularly the staff tradition. One of the simplest ways to explain the fellows this is balanced. We epitomize ‘paintings arduous, play arduous.’ I noticed guys swimming at follow and I completely noticed myself. I used to be chatting with probably the most coaches right here so much, he sought after me to do two issues, ‘select up the dash crew and feature amusing.’ 

From that time on, Cunnan used to be set to perform the ones two issues, however he confronted a different more or less adversity freshman 12 months. 

“Freshman 12 months used to be other,” Cunnan stated. “Swiftly, you’re no longer at house, nobody’s making you dinner, categories are so much harder, coaching turns out unimaginable. With the assistance of different guys although, I think like I adjusted lovely neatly.”

His data mirrored this. Cunnan certified for Ivy League Championships within the 200-yard loose, 50 loose, 100 loose, 200 medley relay, 200 loose relay, and 400 loose relay.

“Going to Ivies is exhilarating, particularly as a freshman,” Cunnan stated. “We had been fortunate to have a in point of fact sturdy upperclassmen crew, in point of fact rapid, blowing different groups out of the water. It’s electrifying to be round that more or less power.”

In his junior season, Cunnan gained the 50-yard loose, 100 loose, and 200 loose on the Miami Invitational and gained the 50 loose in opposition to Villanova and Harvard.

“The Miami Invitational used to be humorous as a result of we had been by means of and a long way the quickest staff there,” Cunnan stated. “We couldn’t cross to different invitationals since they had been all the way through our finals week, so we left all of it at the water at Miami. The twin meets had been particular as a result of they had been rewarding wins. That’s the place we discovered to get gritty. They had been again to again so we swam in the midst of coaching, we lifted the day prior to and practiced 3 hours the day of. Proper after that had been Olympic Trials and that grind indubitably helped.”

As a junior, Cunnan certified for the Olympic Trials. He’s going to compete within the first week of June as a graduate. 

“It used to be loopy,” Cunnan stated. “It used to be a time trial on the finish of Ivies, and winners had the approach to keep on Sunday and take a look at to get their minimize. Olympic measurement swimming pools are totally other from meters, [they’re] manner tougher. It used to be handiest me and 3 different guys from Penn swim. There have been guys from different faculties however I used to be in point of fact hyped as much as compete in opposition to my buddies. The following factor I do know, I swam the 50 loose in 23 seconds. I regarded on the scoreboard, jumped up and down, fingers waving, and all of us were given out of the pool and gave every different undergo hugs. For sure the most productive second of my existence.”

Now not handiest did the pandemic droop the Olympic Trials but additionally Cunnan’s senior season. These days, Cunnan spends his time with housemates off-campus and makes day by day journeys to the West Philadelphia YMCA for laps. 

“Objectives for the remainder of the season are lovely shot,” Cunnan stated. “I’m excited for Olympic Trials and I’m coaching for that day by day, however there aren’t any meets. Thankfully, they’ve allowed the swim staff to coach at Pottruck beginning Feb. 1. It’ll really feel nice to coach with the entire staff once more.”

As for Cunnan in my view, as a result of all athletes within the NCAA had been granted a loose 12 months of eligibility, he plans to swim for UC Surfing LA`s recent blog post San Diego as a graduate pupil. He nonetheless plans to speak to his Penn teammates and feature a grand get-together every year.

Anywhere his skills take him, Cunnan plans to swim for the remainder of his existence as a result of, in his phrases, it is what he is aware of best possible.

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