Drury’s Nunn sees 14 title career reach sudden end


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — These days Bailee Nunn is just like everyone else in self-quarantine.

“I’m so bored right now,” Nunn said. “I’ve been painting, I’ve ran out off Netflix shows to watch.”

The difference is she has 14 national championships to keep her company. The indicators of a successful college career.

“When I first came to Drury, it was my first time ever being on a team,” Nunn said. “It was a wonderful experience, like I didn’t have any expectations.”

Nunn’s final championship came in the 50 freestyle, a race in which she holds the DII record. It was her first time competing in the event at nationals.

“I’ve actually always wanted to do the 50 freestyle, but (Brian) Reynolds would never let me,” Nunn said. “I wasn’t in the best shape that I could, but I tried the best after I could get into the water.”

In December, Nunn noticed she wasn’t feeling right. Eventually requiring gal bladder surgery, a procedure that took her out of the pool for two months.

“I was so upset,” Nunn said. “I was in the middle of when I needed to be training the most in my season. So taking two months off, I was not in shape whatsoever when I was at nationals. All I had to do was try my best and hope for the best outcome.”

Nunn qualified to compete in six events at the 2020 national meet, four individuals and two relays, but only raced in four. Including just the preliminary races of the 100 butterfly, 200 free relay and 400 medley relay.

“I didn’t realize that was going to be my last race when I was swimming it, but we were all unsure about what the outcome of the meet would be,” Nunn said. “When we walked down into the hotel lobby to get ready to go to the finals everybody was like, the canceled nationals, they canceled the meet.”

Ending her career with history making possibilities left on the table. Including what could have been only the second 4-peat in the 200 Breaststroke in DII history.

“Just thinking about the meet and not being able to finish is just upsetting. There is a lot of things I think I would’ve been able to do, my whole team even.”

But topping obstacles is something Nunn has gotten used to. Courtesy a toughness carved by water.

“I’ve had to overcome so many battles in life and swimming has always been my place, my go-to to always push myself and release energy,” Nunn said. “It’s brought me many joys in life and I can’t thank it enough.”

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