arena Swim of the Week: Levi Sandidge’s History-Making Performance In The 1650 Free

Swim of the Week is brought to you by arena, a SwimSwam partner.

Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

There were a number of jaw-dropping swims last week that came out of the ACC and SEC Championships, as superstar names such as Kate DouglassMaggie MacNeil and Jordan Crooks continued to deliver record-breaking performances.

One swimmer that unexpectedly joined in on the action was Kentucky freshman Levi Sandidge, who made history in more ways than one in the men’s 1650 freestyle at SECs.

Sandidge, who came into the meet seeded fourth and more than 11 and a half seconds back of top seed Victor Johansson, opened up an early lead in the timed final heat and never looked back.

After a swimming a personal best time of 4:20.24 in the 500 free earlier in the meet, Sandidge opened up the mile in 4:22.26, putting him out ahead of the field early, and his lead only grew from there, as he split 4:26.42 and 4:25.00 over the next two 500s. His split of 8:48.68 at the 1000 was a new school record.

The 18-year-old then finished things off over the final 150 to clock 14:31.47, dropping more than 18 seconds from his previous best time of 14:49.75 while also breaking the boys’ 17-18 National Age Group Record of 14:34.36 set by PJ Ransford in 2015.

Additionally, Sandidge became the first-ever Kentucky swimmer to win the mile at SECs and just the seventh to place first in any event at the conference championships.

Sandidge’s Splits

  • 24.03
  • 50.29 (26.26)
  • 1:16.87 (26.58)
  • 1:43.20 (26.33)
  • 2:09.69 (26.49)
  • 2:36.13 (26.44)
  • 3:02.52 (26.39)
  • 3:29.12 (26.60)
  • 3:55.71 (26.59)
  • 4:22.26 (26.55)
  • 4:48.71 (26.45)
  • 5:15.40 (26.69)
  • 5:42.06 (26.66)
  • 6:08.71 (26.65)
  • 6:35.40 (26.69)
  • 7:01.95 (26.55)
  • 7:28.61 (26.66)
  • 7:55.48 (26.87)
  • 8:22.16 (26.68)
  • 8:48.68 (26.52)
  • 9:15.32 (26.64)
  • 9:41.78 (26.46)
  • 10:08.25 (26.47)
  • 10:34.54 (26.29)
  • 11:00.89 (26.35)
  • 11:27.17 (26.28)
  • 11:53.93 (26.76)
  • 12:20.65 (26.72)
  • 12:47.19 (26.54)
  • 13:13.68 (26.49)
  • 13:40.17 (26.49)
  • 14:06.19 (26.02)
  • 14:31.47 (25.28)

Sandidge, who also swam a best time of 3:46.79 at the meet to finish 20th (he was 21st in the 500 free), currently holds the top time in the country by over four seconds, with NC State’s Will Gallant (14:34.82) sitting second.

See arena North America here.

Follow arena USA on Instagram here.

About arena

arena has revolutionized the world of aquatic sport through insightful collaboration with world class athletes and the development of cutting edge competitive swimwear since 1973. Today, this spirit of collaboration and innovation lives on through a continuous evolution of advanced materials and Italian design that improves the performance, style and expression of all those who chose arena. From leading the lanes to living in style, arena is dedicated to providing all swimmers with the tools they need to express themselves, feel confident, win and achieve more. Because in arena, you can.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

Read More »