Blue chip breaststroker Faith Knelson will defer her enrollment at the University of Arizona until after the 2020 Olympic season.
Arizona confirmed the deferral to SwimSwam, saying that Knelson would join the Wildcats in the fall of 2020. Knelson was one of the better recruits in the entire NCAA in her class, and would have been a big freshman contributor this year for Arizona. On the other hand, she’s an Olympic hopeful for Canada after winning bronze at the Pan American Games this past summer.
The 17-year-old Knelson was third in the 100 breast at Pan Ams earlier this month. She finished behind American standout Annie Lazor and South American record-holder Julia Sebastian of Argentina.
This season, Knelson was third overall among Canadians in the 100 breast, but just 0.2 seconds out of second. Kierra Smith (1:06.54) and Sydney Pickrem (1:07.20) are the top two, though Knelson (1:07.42) isn’t far behind, and Pickrem will probably have a bigger focus on the 200 and 400 IMs plus the 200 breast.
The Arizona women finished 14th at women’s NCAAs last year. They graduate a number of key contributors, and will miss Knelson’s production this year, though she’s still on the younger end of the age group and will be a major addition to the roster for the 2020-2021 season.
Knelson’s top times in long course meters (converted to short course yards)
- 100 breast: 1:07.30 (58.3)
- 200 breast: 2:27.70 (2:09.17)
- 50 breast: 30.91 (27.60)
- 200 IM: 2:15.74 (1:58.67)