Caroline Pennington, the 2022 Pac-12 champion in 1650 free, has entered the transfer portal. She competed for the University of Southern California in the second semester of the 2021-22 NCAA season.
NOTE: A swimmer being in the transfer portal does not mean that they HAVE to transfer to another school, it only means that they have opened up communication with different schools and coaches.
As the #19 ranked recruit in the high school class of 2021, Pennington originally committed to the University of Virginia and was set to compete there in the fall of 2021. She briefly trained there and attended classes for three days, but she never made an appearance for the Cavaliers and ended up being listed as a freshman on USC’s roster in January 2022. She represented USC for the first time at a dual meet versus Stanford on January 29, 2022.
Pennington had a successful freshman campaign, setting personal bests in the 500 free (4:43.05) and 1650 free (15:48.69 at Pac-12s. She finished sixth in the 500 and won the 1650 free, scoring 56 points for the Trojans. She was the sixth-highest individual scorer on her team, and one out of four USC swimmers to win an individual Pac-12 title, with the other three being Kaitlyn Dobler (100 breast), Isabelle Odgers (200 breast) and Anicka Delgado (50 free).
At NCAAs, Pennington was a bit off her Pac-12s times, but still managed to score six points by finishing 11th in the 1650 free (16:03.16) and take 45th in the 500 free (4:46.11).
In her time at USC, Pennington saw the most improvement in her 1650 free, which has developed into her best event by a significant margin. From December 2020 to now, she has dropped nearly 15 seconds in the event and has established herself as one of the best yards distance swimmers in the nation.
Caroline Pennington‘s Times, High School vs. Freshman Year:
|200 free||500 free||1650 free|
|High School Best||1:48.60||4:43.46||16:03.21|
Coaching-wise, USC had a tumultuous 2021-22 season. In fall 2021, their then-head coach Jeremy Kipp was placed on administrative leave and associate head coach Lea Maurer was named as the interim head for the rest of the season. She ended up leading the Trojan women to a 3rd-place Pac-12 finish and a 16th-place NCAAs finish, and also helped the men finish 4th at Pac-12s and 26th at NCAAs. Eventually, in April 2022, Maurer was officially appointed as head coach.
USC has seen many of their swimmers enter the transfer portal lately, with Billy Cruz, Jade Hannah, and Daniel Matheson being just a few of the names. Another Trojan, Chris O’Grady, entered the transfer portal but then withdrew his name. The team also has one incoming transfer, Elise Garcia, who is using her fifth year of eligibility at USC after competing at Cal.
Pennington’s transfer portal entry comes after the May 1 deadline for all fall and winter sports. In addition, since this is Pennington’s second time transferring out of a four-year school, she will be required to sit out of competition for a year unless she applies for a waiver. SwimSwam has reached out to her to ask about her plans for fall 2022.