BY MEGAN KEIM
In the Disney movie “Finding Nemo” there is a famous blue fish that says ‘just keep swimming.’
Kelli Nadeau, in her 15-year swimming career has taken that phrase to heart. Nadeau is more than just a swimmer at MSUM. She is a friend, an integrated advertising/public reltaions major, a record breaker, a soon to be college graduate and captain of the swim team.
A captain is someone who motivates others, leads by example, and in Nadeau’s case, has great relationships with her teammates and coaches.
“One of my favorite parts of coaching Kelli is our relationship,” said head coach Todd Peters. “We have a partnership, and are always working toward the same goal.”
Nadeau and coach Peters work very closely and have achieved a lot in the time that she has been at MSUM.
After being recruited from her high school in Foley, Minnesota, she has broken three school records with her breaststroke.
“Kelli has met every goal she has set and has grown tremendously as an athlete and as a person in the last four years,” gushed Peters.
When asked what she viewed as her own greatest accomplishment she simply stated, “I know who I am.”
While she has worked very hard and accomplished so much, she has stayed very positive throughout her career.
Being a positive influence is an important quality in a captain, and Nadeau shows this through motivating her peers in the pool.
“She leads by example, and motivating them makes them faster,” Peters said.
“She’s really encouraging during hard sets and makes goals for the entire team that we meet together,” freshman Claire Sauerman said.
Being a captain, Nadeau brings her team together with positivity and relationships formed in and out of the pool.
Having a close relationship with her captain is important to Sauerman, and she enjoys Nadeau’s joking and fun way of interacting with peers.
“One day last week, Kelli dumped a bucket of ice water over my head,” Sauerman recalled. “She’s so fun and positive. She lightens the mood.”
Nadeau motivates peers through encouragement and has found a way to encourage herself too.
Being a college athlete takes a lot of time and energy, but Nadeau has pushed herself to succeed and graduate in four years. According to Nadeau swimming is a “great stress reliever, and a great way to keep healthy.”
She jokes that she “really likes being fit, but really likes eating too,” so swimming has become a great outlet for her.
The greatest obstacle in her career has been getting healthy after two and a half years of poor diet and anxiety, but has overcome those habits and has future plans to remain healthy.
The future is not a thing that is too far away for Nadeau as she graduates is in May. She has thought, not only about her professional plans after college, but about her personal health as well.
She plans on doing triathlons to maintain her health and is going to attempt to mix personal goals with professional ones. She wants to use her Ad/PR major with her athletic interests to open a fitness center and get certified as a personal trainer.
As Nadeau has plans for her future after college, she is leaving a piece of advice for incoming freshmen.
“Don’t compare your times from before college to the present because college is a whole new realm,” she said.
As Nadeau ends her competitive swimming career, she will continue to swim through life as an MSUM alumnae and have a wonderful swimming career to look back on.
Nadeau and the Dragons will be back in action when they take part in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championships Feb. 6-9 in Rochester, Minn.
The team was ranked No. 18 in Division II in the latest Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com poll.