Stanford freestyle star Grant Shoults will take advantage of the NCAA waiver that awards all athletes who competed in the 2020-2021 collegiate season an extra year of eligibility because of the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shoults has had a very unconventional collegiate career. He will return to the Stanford men’s team this fall for what will actually be his 6th season with the team. Shoults began at Stanford as a freshman during the 2016-2017 season. He completed his sophomore season (2017-2018), but ultimately had to redshirt in the middle of his junior season, due to a shoulder injury, which required surgery. Shoults then came back for his senior season during the 2019-2020 season, which, of course, was cut short due to the pandemic. The 2020-2021 season was Shoults’ redshirt senior season.
Though his NCAA experience hasn’t been ordinary, Shoults has been highly successful during his time with the Stanford men’s team. He was the Pac-12 Champion in the men’s 500 free during his freshman, sophomore, and senior seasons. He’s also a 12-time NCAA All-American, including a pair of 4th-place NCAA finishes in the 500. At the men’s 2021 NCAAs, he finished 7th in the 1650.
Outside of the NCAA, Shoults has been a member of the US National Team. He finished 2nd in the 400 free at the 2018 U.S. Nationals, which earned him a spot on the 2018-2019 National Team, and the a roster spot for the 2019 World Championships. His runner-up finish at Nationals also earned him a spot on Team USA for the 2018 Pan Pacs.
Shoults is historically one of Stanford’s best men’s freestylers. He holds the Stanford team record in the men’s 500 free (4:10.02), and is a member of the Stanford record-holding 800 free relay. He’s Stanford’s, #3 all-time 1650 freestyler, #4 all-time 1000 freestyler, and #7 all-time 200 freestyler.
Here are Shoults’ lifetime best times in his best SCY (yards) events:
- 200 free – 1:33.26
- 500 free – 4:10.02
- 1000 free – 8:48.03
- 1650 free – 14:35.82
- 200 fly – 1:43.99
- 400 IM – 3:47.90
The retention of Shoults to Stanford’s 2021-2022 roster is huge for The Cardinal. He adds NCAA experience and scoring power to a team that has an incoming freshmen class including Russia’s Andrei Minakov. Minakov most recently finished 4th in the men’s 100 fly at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and is the 100 fly Silver medalist at the 2019 World Championships. Stanford also has Hayden Zheng, one of this freshmen class’ top breaststrokers, incoming.
Here are Minakov’s lifetime bests in meters:
- SCM 50 free – 21.51
- SCM 100 free – 46.64
- SCM 50 fly – 22.34
- SCM 100 fly – 50.12
- LCM 50 free – 22.45
- LCM 100 free – 47.57
- LCM 50 fly – 23.02
- LCM 100 fly – 50.83
For context, his 50.83 LCM 100 fly converts to 44.53 in yards, meanwhile his 47.57 LCM 100 free converts to 41.41 in yards.
In October 2020, the NCAA granted all winter sport athletes the option to use an extra year of eligibility following complications from the COVID-19 pandemic. Under normal circumstances, Division I student-athletes have a 5-year window during which they can use up their four seasons of eligibility. However, given the current situation with COVID-19, student-athletes of all class years have been offered an additional season of eligibility, regardless of where they are in their 5-year window. For a detailed breakdown on what the stakes are surrounding a 5th-year decision in 2021, click here.