North Allegheny’s Nico Butera to swim at Wisconsin

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Thursday, December 26, 2019 | 5:31 PM


Nico Butera, a North Allegheny junior who competes for a USA Swimming club, committed to the Wisconsin men’s team for the 2021-22 season.

A member of Team Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics at Pitt, Butera, a 16-year-old from McCandless, reached the B final of the 100-yard freestyle in the Speedo Winter Junior Championships East in December. He placed 12th in 44.87 seconds.

Over the summer, he finished seventh in the 100-meter freestyle (51.83), 11th in the 200 freestyle (1:53.83) and 12th in the 200 individual medley (2:08.20) in the National Club Swimming Association championship meet.

Butera said Wisconsin coach Yuri Suguiyama was a factor in his decision.

In his first season with the program, Suguiyama guided Beata Nelson to the 2019 College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America Division I Women’s Swimmer of the Year award.

Before joining the Badgers, Suguiyama was an assistant and associate head coach of the California men’s team for six seasons. He helped the Golden Bears to the 2014 NCAA Division I title and five runner-up finishes.

Prior to that, he coached at the Nation’s Capital Swim Club in Washington, D.C., where he worked with Olympian Katie Ledecky before her first gold medal in 2012.

“(Suguiyama) is highly regarded,” Butera said. “When I met with him and (assistant) Trevor Maida on my official visit, I knew they were the right coaches for me.”

Butera, a 2019 USA Swimming Boys Scholastic All-American, said Wisconsin also was the best choice academically.

He plans to study data analytics and work in sports.

“My goals are to qualify for (USA Swimming) national select camps, continue to make great progress at national meets and swim Big Ten qualifying times, so I can be an immediate contributor,” Butera said.

He said he mainly looked at Big Ten, ACC and SEC schools.

Among Butera’s teammates with Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics is Upper St. Clair junior standout Joshua Matheny. An Indiana recruit, Matheny earned two individual titles and set a meet record in the 200 breaststroke at East Speedo Winter Juniors.

Kristin Matheny, a club president, said Butera is a great kid and training partner for her son.

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