Backstroker Scarlett Cao Commits to UNLV

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Liwen (Scarlett) Cao has announced her commitment to continue her academic and athletic careers at the University of Nevada- Las Vegas (UNLV) beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. 

“I’m so happy and appreciate that I’m able to commit with UNLV as a student athlete, especially as an international student as well. UNLV has great programs either on swimming and academic, the hotel management which always leads the line in the world. What makes me who I am now because of my parents, coaches and Michael Phelps who is my athletic idol since I was 6. He said that “we can’t put a limit on anything, the more we dream, the farther we get”, because I have a great dream, I’m here and can’t wait to be a NEW REBEL!

Cao swims for Mission Viejo Nadadores out of Mission Viejo, California. This past May she competed at the 18&Under Spring Cup in Irvine where she earned a 14th-place finish in the 200 backstroke with a long course time of 2:23.77. She also earned a 15th-place finish in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:06.20. She also swam the 100 butterfly, where she earned a best time of 1:05.24. 

At the beginning of November, Cao swam a best time in the short course 100 backstroke with a time of 56.13. She also was just off of her 200 backstroke best time by about a second (1.03 to be exact) as she swam a time of 2:02.53.

Cao began her senior year this fall at Jserra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, CA. 

Her best short course times are:

  • 100 backstroke: 56.13
  • 200 backstroke: 2:01.50
  • 100 butterfly: 57.24
  • 200 freestyle: 1:52.37

UNLV is a public university located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The school is a member of the Mountain West Conference. At the 2021 Mountain West Championships, the Rebels captured the conference title in what was a close battle with the University of Nevada. The Rebels scored 1349 points compared to Nevada’s 1340. It was the Rebels’ first Mountain West title in 16 years and only the second in school history.

Based on her best times, Cao has the potential to make an immediate impact at the conference level for the Rebels. Her best times would have placed her in the ‘A’ final of the 100 and 200 backstrokes as well as the ‘C’ final of the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle. 

Cao will arrive on campus next fall as a member of the class of 2026 along with freestyler and backstroker Kayleigh Lovell.

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