Nathan & Alex Noel share a love for competitive swimming

Published 12:02 am Saturday, July 15, 2017

LAPLACE — When Kyle and Lori Noel first took their oldest son, Alex, to the local pool, they had no idea what the future would bring.

Already a little older than most competitive swimmers, Alex didn’t even really like swimming.

“We brought him the first year and he didn’t like it,” Kyle said.

“We brought him the next year and he still didn’t like it. It wasn’t until he was 11 or 12 that he really started getting good at it.”

That’s when Alex started to enjoy himself.

“As I got better and better I started really liking it more and I wanted to stay with it,” he said.

Little brother Nathan was a fish of a different kind.

“He took to it right away,” Kyle said.

Now 17 and a rising senior at St. Charles Catholic High School, Alex considers himself a serious swimmer with hopes of swimming at the college level.

Besides swimming for the Comets, Alex also swims for the Riverlands Country Club summer team and year-round for the South Louisiana Swim Team.

Nathan, 10, has bigger dreams.

Although he said he first started swimming because he wanted to follow in his brother’s, ahem, wake, Nathan began swimming year -round within just a few months.

Now he has Olympic dreams.

“That’s my goal,” he said. “I just have to train really hard.”

When he’s not in the pool, Nathan likes to watch Youtube videos of Olympic swimmers to study their technique.

He also posts swimming videos (plus some gaming videos and a few of his own rap videos) to his own Youtube channel, “NateG Does.”

“I just try to memorize the pacing and stuff and see how to improve,” Nathan said. “I just try to be as close to the Olympians as I can possibly be.”

Kyle said it’s very impressive to see.

“Before he steps on the blocks, he knows how many strokes he will take and exactly when he will breathe or not breathe as some events require for extra speed,” said dad Kyle Noel.

“And when you throw in that (Nathan) has Autism, it is truly remarkable.”

Nathan said he wasn’t very good at first either, but once he began swimming year-round, his times got better.

“Once I started swimming year-round I started taking bigger leaps, cutting like nine seconds off,” he said.

“It’s crazy how year-round can improve you that much in one year.”

Together the Noel brothers were a formidable force at last week’s season-ending Invitational Meet.

Larayo won the final meet ahead of Riverlands but of Riverlands’ 10 first place finishes,  Alex and Nathan finished with five.

Alex was the top point scorer in the 15-18 boys age group and Nathan was second in his 9-10 boys age group.

Individually, Alex won the 50 backstroke with a time of 25.2, just shy of the record of 24.3; the 100 individual medley with a time of 56.8, just shy of the record of 55.03; and the breast stroke with a time of 31.0. The record is 28.52.

“I had goal times going into the last meet and I accomplished those,” Alex said.

“I was happy. I still have another year to go for the records.”

Nathan won the 50 backstroke with a time of 37.54 and the 50 freestyle with a time of 33.03.

He was second in the 50 butterfly with a time of 35.20, four one-hundredths of a second behind the winner.

“I just barely got out-touched in the fly,” he said, emphatically.

Kyle said none of this was imaginable when he first brought his sons to sign up for summer swimming.

“Not at all,” Kyle said. “It’s pretty amazing.”