Canadian National Teammer Abby Dunford Receives “Complete Release” From NLI With Michigan

Canadian National Team member Abby Dunford has received a “complete release” from her National Letter of Intent (NLI, not to be confused with name, image, likeness NIL).

A complete release is granted when, “Extenuating circumstances must be presented in any appeal to the NLI Appeals Committees as grounds for a complete release. The merits of each case are different which is why the committee determines what constitutes extenuating on a case-by-case basis and what life event changed after signing the NLI.”

When given a complete release, the athlete can sign another NLI for the upcoming season. Dunford confirmed to SwimSwam that she is “happily pursuing other opportunities.” “I plan on being in another program this fall of 2024,” Dunford continued.

Dunford originally committed to Michigan in the middle of her junior year in January 2023. Dunford is a Canadian citizen who trains with the Sarasota Sharks in Florida.

Dunford has not competed in a meet since June 2023 when she swam the 800 freestyle at the Sarasota Shark Open. There she swam a 8:48.91, about 10 seconds off her lifetime best of a 8:38.01 that she swam at 2022 Canadian Trials.  Dunford was set to compete in the 10km Open Water event at 2023 Worlds last July but withdrew due to a shoulder injury.

Her time from June was faster than she was at 2023 Canadian Trials as she swam a 8:52.52 for 6th then. Her best time from 2022 Trials would have won the event.

Dunford’s best SCY times are:

  • 1650 free – 16:20.92
  • 1000 free – 9:50.79 (alt adjusts to 9:45.79)
  • 500 free – 4:44.47
  • 200 free – 1:50.53

Dunford was not the only distance freestyler in the incoming class for the Wolverines. German native Marian Ploeger has best times of 8:36.55 and 16:23.69 in the 800 and 1500 LCM freestyles. The incoming class is also home to Rebecca Diaconescu from the Sandpipers of Nevada. Disconescu has a best time of a 16:15.73 that altitude adjusts to a 16:04.73.

The Michigan women also return their top 1650 freestyler from this past season as Kathryn Shanley returns for her senior season. Shanley earned a 2024 NCAA invite in the event. Katie Crom also returns as the team’s top 500 freestyler as Crom won the 500 free ‘B’ final at 2024 NCAAs.

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“Im gonna rap right now actually”
1 month ago

“abby dunkin’ on the track her friends in the back and the cat in the rack”

1 month ago

Her boyfriend is going to Auburn I wonder if she will follow him ?

1 month ago

Michigan dodged a bullet!!!!

Reply to  Swimfan712
1 month ago


Reply to  Swimfan712
1 month ago

No need to be rude when you don’t know the swimmer. Embarrassing saying such a comment.

Canada is awesome
1 month ago

Great athlete! She’s got huge potential in store and a very hard worker. She will be a force to be reckoned with.

“Im gonna rap right now actually”
Reply to  Canada is awesome
1 month ago

huge indeed…

1 month ago

I heard she switching to diving full time

Love swimming
Reply to  Boots
1 month ago

Incorrect information, stop spreading misinformation.

1 month ago

Just curious, can schools retract their original offers if athletes get injured?

Reply to  SwimFreak111
1 month ago

Before a NLI is signed, yes. After, no, although they can tell an athlete they will be forcibly medically retired.

Reply to  Katie
1 month ago

They can’t forcibly medically retire an athlete

Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

Saw it happen with my own eyes twice. Forcibly might not be the best word for it. “Strongly coerced” is more likely

Love swimming
Reply to  SwimFreak111
1 month ago

No they can not

1 month ago

Abby’s best mile times in lcm and scy are actually faster than both Marian and Rebecca.
16:20.26 lcm
16:04.22 scy alt adjusted

I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
1 month ago

I know a school down south with a name that rhymes with Beorgia that does really well with swimmers like her…

Reply to  I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
1 month ago

Oh wait!

The “Go dawgs” wasn’t a big enough clue.

I miss the ISL (go dawgs)
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

I’m proud of my team I support!

Reply to  I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
1 month ago

pretty sure the school you’re referring to rhymes with “Blorida”, actually.

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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