Breakout National Record Holder Ilya Kharun Commits to Arizona State

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A month after his breakout at the Winter Junior Championships in Austin in December, high school junior Ilya Kharun has verbally committed to Arizona State University. He is scheduled to arrive in fall of 2023.

“I chose Arizona State University so that I could pursue my academic and athletic career.”

Kharun was unranked in our most recent Class of 2023 rankings done in June, but since then has risen to almost sure-fire top 10 status in the class. At Winter Juniors, he won the 100 fly in 45.59, which broke the 15-16 National Age Group Record that was held by National Team member Luca Urlando.

He also swam, and won, the 200 fly at that meet in 1:42.39. In the course of 13 months, he dropped a whopping 14.5 seconds in that event.

Kharun trains with the Sandpipers of Nevada, a team that put 3 junior-aged swimmers on the US team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. He began his training there as a young swimmer, and returned in the spring of 2019 after leaving to join another local club. According to Sandpipers coach Michael Kinross, Kharun “took a little while to readjust to our training and he is a bit of a late bloomer size wise compared to some of the other boys at his age and level.”

“Then COVID hit and he remained in our Age Group/Pre-Senior level track, which by design focuses on the development of the growing athlete. Meaning he was still swimming all events, all strokes, all distances, at all meets, only wearing a tech suit a couple of times a year, and racing at meets not as fresh as many of his age group counterparts.

“Ilya moved into our National groups in January which allowed a little more freedom to focus on more of his primary events, especially in the lead up to Open Water Nationals and Olympic Trials.”

Best Times in Yards:

  • 50 free – 20.16
  • 100 free – 44.50
  • 200 free – 1:37.96
  • 500 free – 4:20.55
  • 1000 free – 9:02.58
  • 1650 free – 15:03.72
  • 100 breast – 56.37
  • 100 fly – 45.59
  • 200 fly – 1:42.39
  • 200 IM – 1:47.41
  • 400 IM – 3:50.16

The Sun Devils redshirted their entire roster last season amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, but have made a lot of noise in their comeback season. Based on season-best times, the Swimulator tool currently ranks them as the #2 team in the NCAA this season, led in large part by French freshman Leon Marchand. He is the fastest NCAA swimmer in the 200 yard IM and 400 yard IM this season.

The team’s top 100 butterflier this season, Cody Bybee, ranks 9th in the NCAA this season in 45.51. He’ll be graduated by the time Kharun arrives on campus, and Kharun will be ready to slide into that role – he’s only 8-hundredths slower than Bybee so far this season. 45.59 would have qualified for the B Final at last year’s NCAA Championship meet.

All of this adds up to an immediate impact for the Sun Devils in his freshman season in Tempe.

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1 year ago

Well he knows, and won’t be shocked by, the desert.

Reply to  mds
1 year ago

Something was done here…

1 year ago

Sandpipers the new ncap 😂

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
1 year ago

The Sandpipers are doing something very very right

Grant Drukker
1 year ago

He’s gotta be the top recruit of the class.

Big Mac #1
Reply to  Grant Drukker
1 year ago

Popovici? Also maybe Krzysztof Chmielewski

Last edited 1 year ago by Big Mac #1
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Hard to imagine Kharun is done rising.

Grant Drukker
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

15:03 in the mile to a NAG in the 100 fly is what does it for me. If butterfly doesn’t workout he’s got a legit shot as a distance swimmer.

Reply to  Grant Drukker
1 year ago

My sense is more that the kid is twitched up in a big way but being from Sandpipers you know he’s doing the work for the long stuff.

It’s crazy he’s going as fast as he is considering his anaerobic system is probably pretty untapped.

Last edited 1 year ago by Riccardo
Jonathan Charbroiled Steak
1 year ago

I forgot about Kharun’s 1650. Jeez

daeleb cressel
1 year ago


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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