Jan. 14, 2015
By Brad Muller | More Features
Nils Wich-Glasen has recorded three times that rank in the top-10 in South Carolina swimming history and has already posted eight first place finishes. Not bad for a freshman in his first semester of collegiate competition. Although the native of Coburg, Germany, has made an immediate impact on the team, he strives for more.
"My goal was to help the team as much as possible and as soon as possible," Wich-Glasen said. "I think I can swim a lot faster. My teammates told me when I broke the record in the breaststroke, but my actual goal is to swim a lot faster than that. Of course it's satisfying to achieve records. I hope it's not the only record I will hold here."
Wich-Glasen holds the school record in the 200 breaststroke, the fifth fastest time in the 100 breaststroke and the ninth fastest in the 200 individual medley. He has also been a part of two relay teams which have recorded top-10 times.
South Carolina head coach McGee Moody isn't surprised by Wich-Glasen's early success.
"He has swam times over in Germany that should come in under our school records," Moody said. "We knew he would be one of the top breaststrokers in the world. We knew he was going to score immediate points and be one of our top performers. The main thing for us is that we want him to help the team, but we also want him to keep his eyes on what his goals are in terms of the Olympics and the NCAAs."
The slim 6'4"rookie recorded NCAA B cut times in four events during the fall season. He also notched eight first place finishes overall, was undefeated in the 200 breaststroke, and advanced to the finals in all four events he swam in at the Virginia Tech Invitational. Despite the distance, coming to South Carolina wasn't a terribly difficult decision for many reasons, and having a fellow countryman on the roster in redshirt sophomore Kevin Leithold didn't hurt either.
"We knew each other from a training trip to Austria, for the junior national team," Wich-Glasen said. "We wrote to each other about the facilities here. He helped me a lot. South Carolina was the best choice. I think we have everything here to be successful. The coaching staff is very good and the facilities are great."
"The main thing for us is that we want him to help the team, but we also want him to keep his eyes on what his goals are in terms of the Olympics and the NCAAs."
With English being taught in German schools, Wich-Glasen didn't have too much problem fitting in as he began speaking the language in 2007.
"When German student-athletes come over here, in general, their first year of college is relatively easy for them," Moody said. "His English very good. A lot of the things they're doing in their first year of college courses, they have already done in high school. He's doing really well in the classroom as well as the pool."
With that being said, Wich-Glasen admits there was still plenty to learn inside and outside of the water.
"Before I came here, I had a lot of time to rest and focus only on swimming," Wich-Glasen said. "I had to improve my time management here. After a few weeks I got it. The workouts are totally different though. The coaches here focus a lot on intensity and a lot of technique work. I think there are a lot of different ways to be successful, and I wanted to try out a new way."
"There were things he was missing in his training over in Germany that he gets here," Moody added. "I think those things are going to help him continue to improve. He's been working real hard on the mental part of it and trying get tougher with that aspect to push past those points where he doesn't think he can go any harder or doesn't think he can go any longer, and we're seeing some good results already. Mechanically, he' very solid."
Wich-Glasen is studying business at South Carolina, and he's taking advantage of every opportunity to excel in and out of the water.
"In college, my goal is to win a medal at NCAAs," Wich-Glasen said. "In the future, my goal is to qualify for the Olympic Games and the World Championships. I think there is everything here that I need to help me do that. All the coaches try to make me a better swimmer. Outside of the pool, I couldn't ask for anything better. We have tutors when we need them and everything else we need."
The freshman has come a long way in short time. He enjoys hanging out with teammates and adapting to new experiences far from home.
"There's a lot of fast food here, which I try not to eat," Wich-Glasen said. "It is very tempting though. I'm totally happy here. I think I made the right decision to come here."
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