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Matt Nadel ’15 Earns NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

Nadel Founded Little Cats Swimming Program at CC

In recognition of his efforts in and out of the pool, Matt Nadel ’15 recently was named a recipient of the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, which is awarded to a select group of student-athletes who excel academically and athletically. Nationwide across all NCAA divisions, only 29 scholarships are awarded for both men and women from each sports season (fall, winter, and spring).

Nadel, a Division III honorable mention All-America selection and Scholar All-American, founded the Little Cats swimming program at CC in 2013 that still exists today. The program partners with Colorado Springs after-school community programs to provide water safety lessons to at-risk youth.

Nadel graduated with a 3.85 grade-point average and a bachelor’s degree in economics. In the pool, he was an honorable mention All-America selection as part of the 800-yard freestyle relay team that set a school record and placed 12th at the 2012 NCAA Division III Championships. He holds the school record for the 1000 and 1650 freestyle events and earned 11 all-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference honors, including the 1650 freestyle title as a senior.

Candidates for the postgraduate scholarship are nominated by the school's faculty athletics representative and screened by regional selection committees. Recipients then are selected by the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Committee.

To qualify for the $10,000 scholarship, a student-athlete must have an overall grade-point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) and have been a member of a varsity team. Recipients also must intend to continue academic work beyond the bachelor's degree as a full-time or part-time graduate student.

“During his years at CC, Matt was the type of student any institution would be honored to have,” says Pedro de Araujo, CC's faculty athletics representative. “He understood very well how academics and athletics complement each other, and used this relationship to succeed in both the classroom and the pool. He is a natural born leader that will continue to leave his mark anywhere he lands. When he approached me about the NCAA postgraduate scholarship, it was a no brainer sending his nomination in. We are all very proud of Matt.” 

“Matt is one of the most outstanding students and athletes that I have worked with during my career,” Colorado College swimming coach Anne Goodman James says. “He is a change agent, and his leadership truly makes a difference to those around him. Matt is thoughtful, forward thinking, and inclusive, which makes everyone around him better, and helps them enjoy the experience more. 

Following his graduation from Colorado College, Nadel was an analyst for DaVita VillageHealth, chief strategy officer for Kadi Energy, and helped open a high-tech swim school prior to beginning law school at the University of Colorado in Boulder last August. He has continued his position as an Elite Coach at SwimLabs Swim School in Littleton, Colorado, throughout his first year of law school. 

"My teammates, coaches, professors, and mentors were the real leaders that enabled me to be successful,” says Nadel. “I specifically remember the first time I pitched the half-baked idea of Little Cats Swimming to Coach James. It had a larger goal with no operational specifics, which probably terrified her. And yet, she gave me unconditional support and guidance on how to make a successful program that delivered my mission, it truly couldn't have happened without her.”

“My thesis advisor, Mark Smith, is my academic role model,” Nadel says. “His ability to stimulate intellectual curiosity and make me challenge my own beliefs is uncanny. I certainly wouldn't have been interested in water quality or international environmental protection without his guidance. His continued support, from encouragement to professional networking, has been a game-changer.

“Most importantly, I couldn't have been successful without my teammates. The CC swim team has a positive and uplifting culture that made it possible to push myself to the physical and mental limits each day. To this day, some of my closest friends were fellow Tigers."

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the association's most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports.

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