Danielle Nack foto

Danielle Nack, the former all-state swimmer at Mankato West, has wrapped up an All-American career at the University of Minnesota, ready to graduate and move on to the next phase of her life.   Photo courtesy University of Minnesota Athletics

MINNEAPOLIS — Danielle Nack can't remember the last time she took two weeks off from swimming.

But next week, when some of her teammates at the University of Minnesota resume training, she'll be doing something else. Not sure what, though.

"I don't think it's hit me yet," said Nack, taking a break from her class schedule earlier this week. "After every season, we have a week off and then we get back in the swing of things. I think it's going to be a big adjustment."

Nack, who was an all-state swimmer at Mankato West before becoming an All-American with the Gophers, will graduate in May with a degree in psychology. She will relax and get a job around Mankato this summer and attend podiatry school in Des Moines, Iowa, in the fall.

There is no plan for swimming, unless she falls off of a jet ski or returns to the pool to train with the Mantas club — more for fun than competition.

"I'm probably done competing," she said. "I don't want to say I'm burned out, but it's been a grind and I'm ready for the next phase of my life."

Nack will long be remembered for her swimming, dominating as a prep star by winning state championships, putting her name on several school records and setting the standard at many pools in the Big Nine Conference.

Last weekend, she earned All-American honors with the Gophers, swimming on three top-8 relays and setting school records in the 800 freestyle relay and 400 medley relay. At the Big Ten championships a month earlier, she set personal-best times in the 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 200 butterfly, taking second in each event.

"I'm happy with my career," Nack said. "That first year was a huge stepping stone, coming from a small town and learning to race for a team. All of a sudden, I was in a pool full of girls that could swim at the same level, so that was special. Going out with my best times, that's hard to do as a senior, so that made it better."

In the 800 free relay, she was able to compete with her sister Chantal, who is a year younger.

"We have a special relationship," Nack said. "We're best friends, and to race with her, that was something super special."

Nack attended the Olympic Trials in 2012 and 2016, but she never quite made it on the American team. She could try again, but that's two more years of training and she'd have to drop significant time in a sport that's measured by hundredths of a second.

"I think I'm ready to move on," she said.

So now Nack is just a college student, finishing a degree, preparing for the rest of her life. She has no regrets and has taken advantage of all that swimming can offer. The next time she swims, it will be for fun, not time.

"At the end of the day, I won't remember the times and events," she said. "It's all about the friendships and life lessons. If things don't go well, you learn from that. (Swimming) has been a big part of my life, and I have so many memories. It's been crazy."

Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier 

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