4x NCAA Champion Lexi Cuomo Announces Retirement From Competitive Swimming

Lexi Cuomo, an American record holder and 4x NCAA Champion who swam four seasons at the University of Virginia, announced her retirement from NCAA swimming on Saturday via an Instagram post.

“Leaving this sport smiling even more than when I started,” Cuomo wrote. “Thank you to my parents, coaches, teammates, friends, sisters. I wouldn’t have been able to succeed in swimming without you. Here’s to finding a new passion to devote the next 15 years to!”

As SwimSwam’s #16-ranked recruit in the high school class of 2019, Cuomo was a part of the first group of swimmers that Virginia head coach Todd DeSorbo recruited, which also included the likes of Kate Douglass, Maddie Donohoe, and Ella Nelson. That group would go on to be the foundation that Virginia built off of to win three straight national titles, and also cause a domino effect of other top recruits from later classes coming to Charlottesville.

For Cuomo specifically, her legacy at Virginia will largely be based upon her endless relay contributions. During her sophomore year (the 2020-21 season), she began swimming the fly leg of Virginia’s 200 medley relay, helping her team break the NCAA, US Open, and American record four different times and win two NCAA titles in the event. She also swam on Virginia’s 200 free relay, which broke the NCAA record twice and won two NCAA titles with her on it. In addition, Cuomo has swam on a few 400 free relays, most recently at 2023 ACCs where she helped Virginia break another NCAA record (which was later taken down at NCAAs without her).

Cuomo’s relay splits have seen tremendous improvement throughout her years at UVA. From her first ACCs as a freshman to her senior year, she has dropped 0.41 seconds on her 50 free split, 0.45 seconds on her 50 fly split, and 0.84 seconds on her 100 free split, with the majority of those drops coming in her senior year. At 2023 NCAAs, her fly split on the 200 medley relay was the fastest overall in the field.

Lexi Cuomo Fastest Relay Split Progression (Championship Meets Only):
Freshman year (2019-20) Sophomore year (2020-21) Junior year (2021-22) Senior year (2022-23)
50 free (200 free relay) 21.55 21.63 21.41 21.14
50 fly (200 medley relay) N/A 22.40 (22.55 at ACCs, her first time swimming the relay) 22.68 22.10
100 free (400 free relay) 47.84 48.14 N/A 47.00

Individually, Cuomo has also seen great success in her time at Virginia. Her pre-college best times were 22.94 in the 50 free, 49.71 in the 100 free, and 52.01 in the 100 fly, and she ended up finishing her career with personal bests of 21.61, 47.71 and 50.65. The former two best times came from her senior season. She has also scored in every single NCAA Championships that she’s competed in (2021, 2022, 2023), finishing a career-high of 8th in the 100 fly (51.80) back in 2021 and 8th in the 50 free (21.71) in 2023. Her highest-placing conferences performance was the 2021 ACC Championships, where she was second in the 50 free (21.99), fourth in the 100 free (48.52), and second in the 100 fly (50.65).

At the 2023 NCAA Championships, Cuomo finished 8th in the 50 free (21.71), 16th in the 100 fly (48.31), and 14th in the 1oo fly (51.28), scoring 15 individual points to help her team to their third-straight NCAA title. In addition, she also won two NCAA titles from being a part of Virginia’s 200 free and medley relays.

Cuomo was named a team captain for Virginia for the 2022-23 season. Outside the pool, she is a chemical engineering major, and finished the fall 2022 semester with a 4.0 GPA.

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Mike McCormack
2 months ago

Beautiful swansong in Knoxville, Lexi! Thank you for your smiles…

2 months ago

Not everyone continues to WOW through college. It has been a pleasure watching Lexi through VHSL and NCAA.

Viking Steve
2 months ago

She’ll have no problem finding a new passion for the next 15 years with a Chemical Engineering degree from Virgina!

Congrats on a great swimming and ACADEMIC career!

Emo boi
2 months ago

why do all these students retiring(which is the norm for a graduating senior) making me so sad 😭 i don’t even know those people

2 months ago

Congrats on an incredible career! Enjoy swammer life!

VA Steve
2 months ago

My girls swam with her and family in Summer league. Class acts. Congrats for a great career.

Reply to  VA Steve
2 months ago

NVSL for life

Reply to  Coachymccoachface
2 months ago

Cuomo actually didn’t swim NVSL – she did neighboring League CSL (colonial)

2 months ago

Looks like Maddie Donohoe also retiring.

Reply to  Kelsey
2 months ago

And b4 Kate Douglass also announces her retirement 😳

tree badger
Reply to  USA
2 months ago

What does this mean?

2 months ago

chemical engineering 4.0! damn!

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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