GameOn Sister and brother, Emme and Baylor Nelson, began swimming when they were in preschool
FOCUS APRIL 2019
42 LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS
Emme and Baylor Nelson encourage each other’s swimming success by Elizabeth Watson Chaney photography by Jamie Cowles
untersville’s Janie and Justin Nelson wanted their kids, Emme and Baylor, to know how to swim and learn the basics of water safety, so they put them in swimming lessons at the YMCA when they were in preschool. “I was afraid to put my face in the water,” remembers Emme (now 17), adding that her teacher at the YMCA wooed her with a cool blue swimsuit. That’s how it all started for the Baylors and swimming.
Self-discipline Satisfied that they knew the basics, Janie and Justin let their
children choose whether or not they wanted to continue swimming after their lessons at the Y. The answer was “yes,” and by ages 8 and 6, the brother and sister duo were competing through Swim MAC, where they still train today. Now Emme and Baylor (15) are elite athletes who attend Community School of Davidson (CSD). Last month at the state championship (NCHSAA 1A/2A state swim meet), they both won a first-place finish in the same event — each now holds the state record in the 200 individual medley, a challenging event in which the swimmer transitions between
all four strokes in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Emme was named the 1A/2A Women’s Swimming and Diving State Championship’s most outstanding swimmer for the third consecutive year. She also brought home another first place finish in the 100-meter breaststroke for another third consecutive win, making her an eight-time state champion. Although the Nelsons make it look easy, their success comes from years of self-discipline and perseverance. Their morning alarms jar them from sleep at 4:20 a.m. on the days they start practice early. After putting in
a full day at school, they head back to practice for three more hours. Baylor has been inspired by his older sister’s work ethic and success. “I’ve always looked up to her and wanted to be on the same level as her,” he says, “so it’s made me work harder.” She, in turn, describes him as “a very hard worker.” “He pushes me and motivates me to meet my goals,” she says. Emme, now a junior, also contributes her skills to her high school team. Once Baylor entered CSD as a freshman, he followed suit. After the team returned from the state competition, CSD became the
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