#4 in 2021, National Jr Teamer Paige McKenna, Verbally Commits to Wisconsin

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High school junior Paige McKenna from Easton, Pennsylvania has announced her verbal commitment to the University of Wisconsin’s class of 2025.

“I am so excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison! I want to thank my family, friends, and coaches. Without you all I wouldn’t be where I am today! So excited to be a Badger! On Wisconsin❤️🦡”

McKenna is the #4 recruit on SwimSwam’s Way Too Early list of top-20 girls from the high school class of 2021. She trains under Bruce Gemmell at Nation’s Capital Swim Club and specializes in long distances. McKenna was selected to the 2019-20 USA Swimming Women’s National Junior Team for her performances in the 800m free and 1500m free at Phillips 66 Nationals. There, she went best times in the 400 free (4:14.78), 800 free (8:38.37), and 1500 free (16:26.49), finishing 22nd, 18th, and 6th, respectively, and qualifying for 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in all three events. McKenna then went on to represent the United States at FINA Junior World Championships in Budapest where she came in 6th in the 1500m free with 16:40.74. McKenna earned PBs in the 200/500/1000/1650 free and 200 IM at 2019 NCSA Spring Championship. She won the 500 free, 1000 free, and 1650 free and came in 5th in the 200.

McKenna’s 1650 time, which she swam as a 15-year-old at NCSAs in March, would have scored 5th at 2019 NCAA Division I Championships. She is only 2 seconds off in the 500 free, where it took 4:39.15 to get a second swim. McKenna has been improving rapidly this past year (she dropped 48 seconds in the 1650, 14 in the 500, and almost 3 in the 200 free) and could be a three-event scorer as a freshman. Wisconsin finished 16th with 100 points at NCAAs this past season. They graduated their top distance swimmers this year: Grace Tierney, the only Badger to score in the mile at B1Gs, and Sydney Lofquist, the lone Badger in the 500 final. McKenna would have been runner-up in the 1650 to Allyson McHugh and would have scored in the A-final of the 500 free.

Best SCY Times:

  • 1650 free – 15:48.07
  • 1000 free – 9:35.99
  • 500 free – 4:41.21
  • 200 free – 1:47.36
  • 100 free – 51.17
  • 400 IM – 4:24.58
  • 200 IM – 2:05.55


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1 year ago

Big get for the Badgers. Curious about her training situation. She’s from Easton, PA and is ranked as a Pennsylvania swimmer — but trains year-round with Bruce Gemmell in Rockville, MD, about 200 miles south of Easton. How’s that work?

Reply to  Swummer
1 year ago

Good that she knows who got Katie to her first gold. Smart girl!

Reply to  Swummer
1 year ago

She moved to MD with her mom 2 years ago. Online school.

1 year ago


1 year ago

Yuri tapping his NCAP connection — first Bacon, now McKenna

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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