Competitor Coach of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based coach who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Coach of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one coach whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a coach who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite coach wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.
In 2020, a Kentucky team with strong senior leadership looked primed for its first-ever foray into the top 10 at NCAAs – but when that meet was canceled, the team was forced to head into 2021 without its top two SEC point-scorers. Graduated seniors Asia Seidt (82 points) and Ali Galyer (80 points) were both among the top individual point-scorers at SECs, and among four senior scorers for the Wildcats.
For most programs, that would be the recipe for a painful rebuild.
For Lars Jorgensen and the Kentucky Wildcats, it was just another step in the rise of the program.
Kentucky lost 25% of its individual points and 7 of 20 relay legs from 2020 SECs. But they also led the conference in returning points, and brought in a strong freshman class that scored nearly 100 points individually in 2021. The result was the program’s first-ever SEC title this season, knocking off the Florida Gators by 53.
Even better for Kentucky? The vast majority of their scoring came in the sophomore (284) and junior (367.5) classes, with seniors scoring just 114. That means the Wildcats have a chance to run it back next year with an eye on back-to-back titles.
For now, Kentucky will turn its focus to NCAAs, where that history-making top 10 finish from last year might just be coming one year later.
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