By Mark Ambrogi
Legally blind, Grace Nuhfer was limited in sports in which she could compete.
“She can’t compete in any sports that involve a racket, bat or club,” said her father, Adam Nuhfer. “It was really track or swimming, She did a little track in middle school but found her passion in the pool.”
Grace, who has a genetic condition called brittle cornea syndrome, started swimming with the Greenwood Gators when she was 7 years old and his never stopped.
A Greenwood Community High School senior, she finished 16th in the 100-yard butterfly in the IHSAA girls swimming and diving finals state finals Feb. 13 at Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI. She also was on the 200 medley relay.
“She wanted to be on the podium (as top eight finisher),” Adam said. “But when the dust settles, back-to-back (Mid-State) conference, (Johnson) county and sectional champion (in the 100 butterfly) and to make it back as a state finalist and finish your career with seven school record, four individual and three relays. That’s nothing to hang your head over.”
She holds school individual records in 100 butterfly, 50, 100 and 200 freestyle. For her accomplishments, Grace has been selected as The Southside Times’ Athlete of the Month.
“It’s always so fun going to the Natatorium and competing at a state level for your school,” Grace said. “This year with all the COVID restrictions, it wasn’t the same as it normally is. It was a bittersweet ending, missing out on a normal state meet. But at the end of the day, we were all that supporting each other and having a good time.”
Grace, who was 12th in the 100 butterfly in the state meet as a junior, will swim next season for the University of Akron, which has won the Mid-American Conference championship seven years in a row.
“I like the campus size and the atmosphere on the team. The school had a lot of academic aspects I was looking for. It was all-around great fit.”
Adam Nuhfer said he is proud of his daughter’s dedication and hard work and that she has been part of the group that has transformed in the Greenwood program.
“The program is as strong as it’s ever been,” Adam said. “This group has rewritten every record on the board. The future looks bright.”
Grace’s mother, Tami Nuhfer, ran four years for the Purdue University track and field team. Adam played tennis at Greenwood High School.
Grace’s younger sister, Elaina, has the same genetic condition. Elaina was a freshman on the Greenwood swimming team and Tami is an assistant coach.
“So, all three of us were able to share that together,” Grace said.
“Swimming was something that stood out and something I could see myself doing for a long time,” she said. “I think it was natural talent and dedication.”
THE NUHFER FILE
NAME: Grace Nuhfer
HEIGHT: 5 foot, 4 inches
SPORT: Girls swimming
POSITION: 100-yard butterfly, freestyle races
COLLEGE PLANS: Will swim for the University of Akron and major in business marketing
FAVORITE MOVIE: Mamma Mia!
FAVORITE TV PROGRAM: The Office
PARENTS: Tami and Adam Nuhfer