2x SEC Champion Kristen Stege Retires from Competitive Swimming

2021 and 2022 SEC mile champion Kristen Stege has announced via Instagram that she will be retiring from competitive swimming. Stege is a currently senior at Tennessee but did have another year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 waiver during the 2020-2021 season.

“17 years of swimming!! I am sad to say that I am officially a swammer:(
Swimming has been a huge part of my life and I will forever be grateful for it! Thank you to @vol_swimdive for the best three years ever with the BEST people! Also big thanks to ECU, Fox/fmc, and Neuqua for shaping who I am today. 💗 i’ll miss u swim”

Stege transferred to Tennessee from East Carolina University (ECU) after the school announced that they would be cutting both their men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs in May 2020. (Note: the women’s team has since been reinstated) As a freshman at ECU, Stege began in the sprint group but eventually made her way to the distance group.

She was recruited out of high school as a sprinter, but asked ECU to place her in the 500 at a dual meet where she swam a time of 5:01. She then moved to the mid-distance group and dropped 15 seconds in the 500 at her freshman midseason. Then, she moved to the distance group.

At the AAC Championships her freshman year, Stege swam the 1650 freestyle for the first time ever. In her 1650, she broke the ECU school record as well as the AAC Conference record touching in a final time of 16:11.96.

Stege arrived at Tennessee for her sophomore season and continued in the distance group. In 2021, she captured the SEC title in the 1650 free swimming a 15:47.72. She went on to swim the event at NCAAs swimming a 15:52.07 to finish fourth. In addition to her SEC title in the mile, she was second in the 500 free.

She defended her SEC title in the mile in 2022 swimming a 15:42.37. At NCAAs, she swam a 15:59.49 to finish eight, earning a spot on the podium for the second year in a row.

This season, her senior season, Stege swam a 15:53.47 to finish third in the mile at SECs. Notably, she was second in the 500 free swimming a 4:36.35 touching right behind sister Rachel Stege who won in a 4:36.31. Rachel Stege is a sophomore at Georgia. This was the first meet the two sisters were able to swim against each other in college as Rachel Stege was sidelined for most of her freshman season with a shoulder injury.

Kristen Stege just finished up NCAAs where she finished fourth in the 1650 free, swimming a season-best of 15:50.24. She also was 18th in the 500 free.

The Tennessee women just finished eighth as a team at NCAAs with 214 points.  Kristen Stege contributed 15 points. In addition to Kristen Stege‘s fourth place finish in the 1650, Aly Breslin also earned a podium finish swimming a 15:50.80 for sixth. Breslin will be a senior next season.

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2 months ago

Well done! Best wishes going forward–and GBO!

2 months ago

ily kristen🥰🥹

2 months ago

Great career Kristen – well done…

2 months ago

We’ll miss you Kristen!! Appreciate all you’ve done for this team and program. Best of luck in the future!!

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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