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Ashland - Local Town Pages

In the Water, He Feels Comfortable

By Christopher Tremblay
Staff Sports Writer

Nathan Gelfand may have first gotten into the pool at a much younger age, but by the time he was 6 years old, he found himself competitively swimming. 

Originally the Ashland native began swimming for the Suburban Sharks out of Framingham, but once Covid hit the area things got shut down and he eventually found the Lifetime Club Team in Medfield and took his talents there.


“My friends were swimming with Suburban and I wanted to give it a try,” he said. “When I’m in the water I find it to be very relaxing, particularly during the longer distance events. It’s competitive and a nice source of adrenaline, especially when winning.”

Upon entering high school, Gelfand found himself running cross country in the fall and track, mainly the mile, during the spring, but he lacked a sport in between the two. Eventually he zeroed in on swimming, something that he already knew that he could do at a high level. The now-senior captain of the Clocker swim and dive team participates in usually two of the following events: the 100 butterfly, the 100 backstroke and the 200 IM as well as the first legs of the 200 medley and the 400 freestyle. 

Originally Gelfand found things incredibly nerve wracking as the meets were so much different due to all the Covid restrictions in addition to being a freshman and not really knowing a lot of people on the team.

“We had to wear our masks up until the actual meet, then we could take them off. Meets were remote, so we were not swimming against the other team, just our teammates,” Gelfand said. “I really didn’t know many people except my friends, so I basically was swimming against the clock and trying to do beat my own times.”

As a freshman, Gelfand was selected to the Tri-Valley League All-Star team. An honor that told the young swimmer that he had the talent to perform in the pool. The freshman noted that he was swimming at the same level as his friends, but being named to the TVL was a sign that he may have a future in the sport.

Having such a successful first year with Ashland, Gelfand decided that during his sophomore year he was going to forgo track so that he could concentrate more on improving his skills in the water. The extra training provided him with another successful campaign. The junior would record a personal best time (57.7) in the butterfly, a 1-minute backstroke and 2:14 in the 200 IM; he was once again named to the All-Star team. 

“I find the 100 backstroke to be my favorite as I can breathe the entire time,” the senior said. “Being on my back is very relaxing despite the fact that I am swimming hard.”

Now as a senior captain he wants to let his teammates know that he is a friend first and a captain second.

“I want the other swimmers to be comfortable with who I am before I have to tell them what to do,” he said. “Being the only senior male on the team I have found myself befriending a lot of the younger athletes, but it’s cool.”

Thus far, the senior has best times of 58.7 in the butterfly, 1:01.11 in the backstroke and 2:17 in the 200 IM and would like to improve upon his times at the Sectionals from a year earlier. 

“I am hoping that I can at least do what I did last year in the fly and the backstroke,” he said. “I can only suit up and do my best, I am not aiming low.”

At the Division 2 Sectionals Gelfand swam a 58.6 in the butterfly and an 1:01.7 in the backstroke. And although he did lower his time in the butterfly competing in the State Finals his time of 57.65 was not nearly enough to earn him a State Championship. 

Now that his high school swimming career has come to an end, Gelfand is hoping that swimming doesn’t have to end. 

“I have not been recruited for swimming by any colleges so far,” he said. “So, if I get to college and there is a club team or a pool I’ll do some sort of swimming. I enjoy being in the pool, it’s not on