36617-Makayla Nietzel photo

Makayla Nietzel



Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
S13, SB13, SM13

Further personal information

Crystal Lake, IL, USA

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming lessons as a toddler, and started swimming competitively at age 11. She received her international Para swimming classification in 2018.
Why this sport?
Her mother initially wanted her to learn to swim for water safety reasons. In 2017, after competing at the Fred Lamback Disability Meet in Augusta, GA, United States of America, and the Can Am Para Swimming Championships in Windsor, ON, Canada, she was scouted by national coach Queenie Nichols and invited to join the national training programme.
Club / Team
Cats Aquatic Team: Libertyville, IL, USA
Name of coach
Vlad Pyshnenko [club], RUS

General interest

Sporting philosophy / motto
"The whole reason I'm doing this [Para swimming] is because I want people with disabilities to know they can accomplish something despite what they have." (, 04 Nov 2017)
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 04 Nov 2017)
She was born with albinism and is legally blind. She has also been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. (, 04 Nov 2017)
Other information
At her first Para swimming meet, the 2017 Fred Lamback Disability Meet in Augusta, GA, United States of America, she was approached by a young girl who wanted her autograph. "During that meet after talking to Queenie [Nicholls, US coach], a young girl with albinism walked up to me along with her mum and another young girl. This sweet girl asked me, 'Can I have your autograph? I want it for when you become a famous Paralympian someday.' Since that day, that has been my motivation. Thanks to that one young voice, my passion for swimming grew beyond my expectations. I will never forget that kind request from another individual with albinism and it will forever be my motivation and inspiration." (Instagram profile, 02 Aug 2021)

Her visual impairment causes problems with depth perception, which can fluctuate depending on the lighting conditions of pools and aquatic centres. "I have good peripheral [vision]. I can see somewhat in the lanes next to me when I go to breathe. In a darker pool or a super-bright pool, I can't see as well. If it's moderate lighting, I can see pretty decent." (, 27 Jun 2018)

In 2021 she is due to begin studying psychology and meteorology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, United States of America . (Facebook profile, 02 Aug 2021;, 31 Jul 2021;, 27 Jun 2018)