Ella Eastin Comes Down with Mononucleosis; May Miss Nationals

7-time NCAA Champion and American Record-holder Ella Eastin has told SwimSwam she may not swim at Nationals this summer, owing to a Mononucleosis diagnosis that has kept her out of the water for the last two weeks. “The weekend after SMOC I wasn’t feeling well. I was achy and felt like I had the flu. The weather was changing -it was getting hot- and I thought I was dehydrated. On Monday [July 2] I went to the see my doctor. They did a blood test and it came back positive for Mono.” Mononucleosis is an infectious disease caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It can cause problems with the liver and the spleen.

Eastin did absolutely nothing for the first 8 days of convalescence. She tried to swim a little on each of the next two days, but she could feel that she wasn’t ready, so she stayed away from the water for 3 more days. Eastin explained she has been cautious not to do anything to risk her long-term recovery. “I had to be careful because with an enlarged spleen there is an extreme risk of rupture. So even if I did swim I had to make sure there was no chance that I would get hit or get my heart rate up really at all.”

Eastin’s entire training regimen this spring has been geared toward preparing the mid-distance events for which she is known: 200 fly, 200 free, 200 IM, and 400 IM. Events “that require both strength and endurance,” she noted wryly.

“After having an … interesting… season last summer with things not going as I’d hoped with the disqualification [after finishing second in the 400 IM at World Championship Trials], then turning things around with the help of my Stanford teammates and having a great NCAAs, I was excited to push myself forward and prove myself at Nationals this summer.

“It’s never easy to deal with an illness but it’s been especially disappointing to have to manage this with such a big meet coming up. I can’t control what I do physically because of safety precautions and doctors’ orders. I have to sit around -and I’m terrible at sitting around.

“I hope I’ll be able to swim at Nationals, but I honestly don’t know yet. There is a reason for everything. In the bigger picture, I’ll be fine. But the timing is frustrating. That this meet determines what I’ll be doing the rest of this summer, as well as next summer, it’s just frustrating.”

Eastin’s coach, Greg Meehan, the Paul A. Violich Director of Women’s Swimming at Stanford, said, “Clearly, this is a really tough break and we all feel for Ella. Not too much to do at this point other than taking it day-to-day and focusing on what she can control, with the hope she might feel well enough in 8 days to race. Either way, she has had the best year of training in her life and that will carry her forward.”

Eastin is a rising senior at Stanford. She currently holds the American Records in the 200-yard butterfly (1:49.51), the 200-yard IM (1:50.67), and the 400-yard IM (3:54.60), all achieved during her junior season with the Cardinal. She also holds the American Record in the 800-yard freestyle relay with her 2017 Stanford teammates Simone Manuel, Lia Neal, and Katie Ledecky. She won all three of her individual events (200 IM, 200 fly, and 400 IM) at the 2018 NCAA Championships and earned Swimmer of the Meet honors. Last summer, Eastin touched second in the 400 IM at the Phillips 66 National Championships & World Championship Trials only to be disqualified for the “Lochte Rule” moments later. She was third in the 200 IM and fourth in the 200 fly at Trials, thus missing out on competing at World Championships in Budapest. Eastin did represent the United States at World University Games, garnering a gold medal in the 200 fly, a silver in the 200 IM, and a silver in the 4×200 free relay.

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2 years ago

Symptoms: extreme fatigue…..there goes all 400im hopes 🙁

2 years ago

That sucks. Feel for her!

Reply to  Superfan
2 years ago

Yes it does! The way the team selection is set up for this and next year she won’t be able to make the pan pacs or next year’s world team. She could go to the short course worlds this winter or world univ games next summer.

2 years ago

This poor girl cannot catch a break. Glad she at least had a stellar SC season but I was really looking forward to watching her redeem herself in the big pool.

Another reason the selection process for 2019 is less than ideal (Vollmer)

Just sayin
Reply to  Hswimb99
2 years ago

It’s so stupid why are we doing it again…

Reply to  Just sayin
2 years ago

Is this selection process the reason our Kazan showing was so poor?

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
Reply to  Maelstrom
2 years ago

Of course! It’s also the reason our 2011 WC team did so poorly, as well as our 2007 WC team, and our 2003 WC team.


Joel Lin
Reply to  PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
2 years ago

I agree with all of the above. This really does drive home how dumb it is to use 1 selection meet to determine 2 years for a set of athletes aspiring toward 2020. You have a bad meet this summer & just like that it could prejudice your ability to stay in the sport as a post-grad. National team member stipends are essentially a need for many & there’s also the valid points that foreclosure on who gets to 2019 international meets now is nonsensical.

Reply to  Joel Lin
2 years ago

I can see the pros and cons of both perspectives. I would love to see them come up with a “challenge” system, something objective where a swimmer in this position can *steal* a spot, maybe in December of the year out, or something. Still leaving an 18 month taper cycle for the Olympics. It would take some creative lawyers to craft that, but I think it could be done.

The really tough part is that they do all of the *minor* meet selections here too. So, WUGs, Pan Ams, etc. Getting on one of those rosters should be a viable backup for a swimmer like Eastin, even if they decide they like it for Worlds selection. Maybe selections from those… Read more »

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

What are the pros here ? Why can’t they do 2019 Worlds selection like the one for 2017? They can have this year’s nationals as selection for Pan Pacs and “minor” meets !

Reply to  PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
2 years ago

Incorrect, actually both 2007 and 2011 teams did great but the 2015 was definitely subpar.

Reply to  Hswimb99
2 years ago

She has had a couple tough breaks, but she is still one of the greatest female swimmers of all-time. I should be so lucky as to have her career.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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