Yankton’s Nelson takes down two national records at MAC

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Hannah Nelson knew she broke an American swimming record as soon as she touched the wall.

Then she did it again.

The 17-year-old Yankton swimmer used the pool at Mitchell Aquatic Center as her personal record book during the Mitchell Winter Invite from Nov. 16-17. Nelson took down the United States Paralympic SM10 class for the 400-yard individual medley on Nov. 16 and then broke the 100 individual medley the following day.

“We always have our eye on those American Paralympic records,” Yankton coach Addison Pietz said. “We kind of had an idea that it was possible to get those. After she had those swims, it was exciting to get those records so early in the season.”

Nelson is a junior at Yankton High School who is a single-leg amputee below the knee and S10 refers to a disability swimming classification with limited weakness in legs, missing feet or knee injuries below the hip.


She swims full-time with Yankton and has competed in a variety of Paralympic swimming events around the country, but she had memorized the records she shattered in Mitchell.

Nelson swam to a time of 5 minutes, 21.4 seconds in the 400 IM, breaking a 12-year-old record -- set by Missouri native Susan Beth Scott -- by more than 22 seconds. Her time of 1:10.70 in the 100 IM took down a record -- set by Robbinsdale, Minnesota native Anna Eames in 2009 -- by nearly two seconds.

“It was a big deal to her, but not as big as where she wants to be,” Pietz said. “It was a stepping stone in the right direction for where she wants to go.”

Both records were originally held by former Paralympic medalists, and Pietz believes Nelson has similar aspirations. But with the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo taking place this summer, Nelson is eyeing a potential bid for the 2024 games.

“My goal for Hannah is to fall in love with the process that it takes to achieve personal goals,” Pietz said. “With that, she can develop her own bigger goals. Just to have that love of the sport is a big goal for me that she will accomplish.”

Nelson also won the 17-and-over 1,000-yard freestyle in 11:55.50 and the 200 freestyle in 2:13.96 at the Mitchell Winter Invite. Nelson declined to participate in this story.

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