It's been quite a season for Chatham's Carlisle Nash, whose prowess in the pool with the Nauset swim team not only earned him a trip to the state championship, but has also made Nash one to watch next year during his senior season. Just don't blink when he's in the water, or you'll likely miss him.
Nash started competitively swimming about six years ago, having gotten his start in the sport after being enrolled by mom Jamie in a local Water Babies program. Though Nash was dividing his time between gymnastics and swimming, he ultimately gravitated toward swimming not only because he loves the sport, but also because it's less stressful on his six-foot-two-inch frame than high-impact sports.
“It doesn't destroy my knees,” he said. “Because I'm so tall, even walking can wreck my knees. So [this is] less strain, more gain.”
Gain is what it's been all about for the Nauset junior. This season he became a Bay Colony Conference Champion in the 100 back with his time of 59.27, which qualified Nash for the state tournament, one of five members of the Nauset boys' team to earn a spot in States. At the championship, Nash and teammates Ryan Pisch, Tanner Cornell, and Coleman Norton swum to a 16th-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:35.75, though Nash's favorite event is the 100 backstroke.
“That's my stroke,” he said. “I'm the fastest on my team in that.”
And at 59.2, one of the fastest around. The next fastest in his region was 59.5.
Nash's coach Justin Bohannon didn't take his successful season lightly, especially since Nash was returning to the pool after missing much of the previous season due to illness.
“To come back this year and make States was incredible,” Bohannon said.
Bohannon said that Nash proved a solid leader this season, which helped bolster the team after four of Nauset's top swimmers graduated in 2016.
“Carlisle stepped up this year to be a leader in and out of the pool,” Bohannon said. “He has an incredible work ethic. He would always lead practice and be one of the hardest working swimmers in the pool.”
Bohannon said his league championship swim wasn't surprising, given his commitment to improving.
“He set a goal this year and was determined to make it,” Bohannon said. “That's always good to see as a coach.”
Nash said the team's encouragement of one another makes being part of the Warrior squad that much better.
“It's really inclusive,” he said. “It's really supportive of anyone. If you want to learn how to compete, they'll be happy to teach you.”
Nash said this season saw three newcomers to the team, each of whom was welcomed into the fold.
“We just embraced them and tried to get them really well-trained,” he said, proud that new teammate Ryan Pisch went onto states.
For those that scoff at swimming being a true sport, Nash said they should get in the water.
“I would laugh at them and tell them to swim 100 yards,” he said, adding that even practices can be grueling. “Per day we swim about a mile, sometimes up to three miles, five days a week.”
Nash also swims on a club team with the Cape Cod Swim Club, through which he's earned a number of records.
With the season officially over, Nash is focusing now on school and getting closer to becoming an Eagle Scout with a local Boy Scout troop, while also researching colleges with swim programs. His sights at the moment are set on UMass and Worcester Polytechnic. Then there's that senior season to prepare for, which makes his mother smile.
“We are so proud of Carlisle,” she said. “Seeing all his hard work, and the Nauset swim team's hard work, pay off is a great gift.”