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Fantastic finish

Shelbyville senior Nolan Davis has been named The Shelbyville News Boys Swimmer of the Year.

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

A little confidence can go a long way. Shelbyville senior Nolan Davis can speak to this.

As an underclassmen, Davis was raw but possessed skill. He needed someone to reach in and bring it out. Insert Golden Bears head coach Coen Weiler, who helped the Shelbyville senior finish his career as arguably the top swimmer in program history.

Davis, who won a sectional title at North Central this season, owns the 100- and 200-yard freestyle records at the school, as well at the 500-yard freestyle. His final record is with the 200-yard freestyle relay team. Three of the marks were held for over 80 years.

After placing fifth in the first heat of the 200-yard freestyle at the state finals, Davis would finish 29th overall in the event in his final swim for the Golden Bears.

Although it was his last swim for the team, Davis’ legacy will last forever. Becoming the first state qualifier since 2003, Davis went from a kid who did not want to get in the pool to one of the best to ever do it in the Shelbyville black and gold.

For his outstanding finish, Davis has been named The Shelbyville News Boys Swimmer of the Year.

After quitting the swim team in sixth grade, Davis was encouraged to keep at it by his mother, Jamie Davis, in eighth grade. It was his sophomore season, however, when Davis really began to thrive. He said it would not be possible without Coach Weiler, who gave him the confidence needed to perform at the state’s highest level.

“I would probably not be where I am without (Coach Weiler),” Davis said. “His training helped a lot. This year, before we tapered, we would have brutal practices. A lot of people dropped times this year, the first couple meets he had so many personal records. The new guys were dropping time like crazy.”

Weiler said Davis was always a natural swimmer. He possesses all the physical tools -- large feet, strong legs and a long stroke. What he lacked, however, was the mental state needed to really pull it all together.

“A big thing for him was his confidence to just do it,” Weiler said. “His overall endurance and strength needed work, too. We talked about race strategy this year, compared to his sophomore year when he had to kill it (to win races). Last year and this year, we knew we could race smart.”

Davis added that Weiler really perfected his technique, which can make a significant difference in tight races in the postseason.

“Overall (focusing) on technique, you sharpen any strength that is naturally there," Weiler said. “If you have good technique, you can outdo someone who is twice as strong as you. You can knock down the little things. With Nolan’s long and powerful stroke, we were able to emphasize (certain things), and he was able to get six extra inches of pull."

Davis is considering continuing his swim career at Franklin College, where Weiler once swam. The program is in need of athletes who can swim distance -- but who are also versatille. Davis can be that guy.

“One big thing is Nolan has not flattened out his times,” Weiler said. “He still has a lot more to go. He has not really physically matured yet. That is a big thing for the Franklin coach. He can do backstroke and butterfly, too.”

Currently taking a slight break from the pool, Davis has found time to relax and catch up on sleep. He has earned it.

“I am trying to stay in shape for possible college swimming,” Davis said. “I am really trying to figure out what I want to do.

“But my season went well. It has been a long road since eighth grade year.”

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.