2020 ACC Champion Colton Paulson Transfers to Notre Dame for 5th Year

2020 ACC Champion in the 200 free Colton Paulson has announced he will be transferring to Notre Dame to use his COVID-19 fifth year.

Paulson spent his first four years at fellow ACC rival Louisville. This past season, he competed at the ACC Championships. There he finished eighth in the 200 free (1:34.30), 11th in the 200 IM (1:43.72), and 14th in the 100 free (43.02). He scored a total of 51 individual points.

Notably in 2020, Paulson was the ACC Champion in the 200 free as he swam a 1:33.77 in finals, 0.01 seconds off his 1:33.76 in prelims. He also swam a 4:16.75 for ninth in the 500 free and a 15:13.44 for 14th in the 1650 free. His 200 and 1650s were best times and still stand as his best times.

His best times are:

  • 100 free: 42.72 (2021 NCAAs)
  • 200 free: 1:33.76 (2020 ACCs)
  • 500 free: 4:16.53 (2019 ACCs)
  • 1650 free: 15:13.44 (2020 ACCs)
  • 200 IM: 1:43.72 (2022 ACCs)
  • 100 breast: 54.36 (2022 Last Chance)

Paulson has the potential to make a huge impact for the Fighting Irish. Paulson’s 51 individual points at 2022 ACCs would have been the second most on the Notre Dame roster, only behind Josh Bottelberghe who was a senior this past season. Bottelberghe scored 54 individual points. Paulson’s 51 individual points are also huge as Notre Dame only finished 55 points behind seventh place UNC.

Paulson also has the potential to make a huge impact for Notre Dame’s 800 free relay as his 200 free best time would have been the fastest on the roster this past season. In addition, his 2021-2022 season best also would have been the fastest.

Paulson told SwimSwam that his motivation for his fifth year was because “I had done research in ND’s masters programs, specifically the MSBA program, and I thought it’d be a good fit for me. I ended up applying to their graduate program and got accepted! It was then that I had the idea of giving this 5th year a shot because I knew I couldn’t pass up on this opportunity to get an education from Notre Dame. I reached out to Chris again to tell him my thoughts and we had a good conversation and concluded that we should give this a go.. and now I’m here in South Bend training and getting ready for the season”

Notre Dame has a much different staff this upcoming season than it has the past few years. Four out of the five staff members for this upcoming season have ties to Louisville. Most notably, Notre Dame’s new head coach Chris Lindauer was Louisville’s associate head coach during the 2021-2022 season. Lindauer was at Louisville during all of Paulson’s undergraduate career.

Paulson also told SwimSwam that “this whole thing started out with me reaching out to Chris about any potential coaching opportunities – whether it was volunteering or a GA position.. but it wasn’t going to work out for this upcoming season. ” He then spoke to Lindauer about using his COVID-19 fifth year.

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Fighting Irish Super Stan
3 months ago


3 months ago

Arthur seemed to be really happy/supportive of the hire at ND. With all the people going over now, are things still cool?

3 months ago

Louisville to ND pipeline continues…first staff now swimmers.

Joel Lin
3 months ago

Terrific move to use swimming as a conduit pursue a grad degree from a strong program at a strong university. Congratulations.

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Government & Law and Economics at Lafayette College. There she is …

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