Richard Spann signs to swim at NWU

Posted 6/25/20

A recent Rocky Mountain High School graduate who competed with the Powell High School swim team has committed to swim at the next level.

Richard Spann signed his letter of intent with Nebraska …

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Richard Spann signs to swim at NWU

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A recent Rocky Mountain High School graduate who competed with the Powell High School swim team has committed to swim at the next level.

Richard Spann signed his letter of intent with Nebraska Wesleyan University on Monday. Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, NWU competes in the American Rivers Conference of NCAA Division III athletics.

Before committing, Spann planned to attend the University of Wyoming, studying chemistry and performing in the marching band. It seemed as if his competitive swimming career had ended.

But a brief hiatus from the pool changed his mind.

“I didn’t want to continue swimming,” Spann said, “but after a short break, I cannot imagine not swimming and competing.”

Spann had the chance to visit NWU in August 2019, meeting former head coach Greg Fleming (who’s since retired) and other members of the program. The former PHS swimmer still plans on studying chemistry at Nebraska Wesleyan, so Fleming’s emphasis on balancing academics and athletics was a key selling point for Spann.

“I built a great relationship with Coach Fleming,” Spann said. “He took a huge interest in me and I really liked the fact that he promotes academic involvement in clubs and stuff like that. He knows that we all will be moving on to real careers after school.

“NWU has a really good STEM program, and I was really impressed with the possible opportunities I would have at that school,” Spann said.

In his senior year, Spann was part of both the 200 medley relay team that broke a 25-year-old PHS record and the 200 free relay team, which won the Class 3A state title. Spann also took second in the 100 butterfly and third in the 100 backstroke at February’s state meet.

The jump from high school to collegiate swimming isn’t always easy. But Spann is confident that his time at Powell prepared him well for the next step.

“Competing at a higher level always prepares you for the next level, I imagine,” Spann said. “I have had four different coaches throughout my career, so I think that has taught me to be coachable. I was able to adjust to their different styles and methodologies well.”

Spann’s goal at Nebraska Wesleyan is simple.

“Winning,” Spann said. “I am so excited to see what this higher level of competition and college coaching does for me. My goal is to make the NCAA DIII championships my first year then possibly be invited to the DII or even DI championships in the future and win at that level.”

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