Bailey Nero reached elite levels of swimming at an early age, qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Trials at age 15 in the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly and 400-meter individual medley. She went on to qualify for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Trials, was a 3-time NCAA All American at Auburn University and still holds Colorado state records in multiple events.
Among Bailey’s favorite memories was her first Junior Nationals experience; she was 14 and one of two swimmers on her team that qualified for the meet. She says, “I was excited, but nervous, and swam terribly all week. After a disappointing performance, on the last event of the last day my coach told me to have fun and enjoy my swim. Without the weight of expectations, I relaxed and had a great swim, making the C final. To my surprise, I was a half second away from an Olympic Trial cut in the 100-yard fly. I went into the final with a renewed sense of determination, won my heat and qualified for Olympic Trials. That experience was impactful and showed me what I was capable of.” Bailey shares this story with Fitter & Faster clinic participants as a reminder to enjoy the experience and not put too much pressure on themselves. She likes to say, “A relaxed, happy swimmer is a fast swimmer.”
Bailey says she loves working with Fitter & Faster participants, as the limited size of the clinics allows her to get to know the athletes, their strengths, and how they receive feedback. “My job as a clinician is to tailor my coaching to the participants. The kids that come to the clinics with a lot of enthusiasm and energy are fun to work with, but I seek out the participants that are quieter. Those swimmers may not be comfortable speaking up in a group setting, but when I engage with them one on one, asking questions like what their favorite stroke is or if they’re enjoying the camp, they open up and give me the opportunity to connect with them.”
A successful IM swimmer, Bailey enjoys swimming and teaching all strokes, but emphasizes the importance of strong, fast underwaters. She says, “Underwaters are my favorite element to teach in Fitter & Faster clinics, as improvement in underwaters can lead to immediate results and faster events.”
Bailey credits swimming with giving her the belief and confidence that she can do anything. She says, “Because of swimming I’ve learned determination and hard work, leadership skills, time management, and grit. I’ve been able to channel that energy into my career and not only reach heights I dreamed of in swimming but in my professional life.”