Freshman Levi Sandidge Becomes Kentucky’s First-Ever SEC Champ In The Men’s 1650 Free

by Ben Dornan 8

February 18th, 2023 College, National, News, SEC


University of Kentucky freshman Levi Sandidge swam to victory in the men’s 1650 freestyle at the 2023 SEC Championships, becoming the first man from his school to win the event at this meet. Sandidge swam a 14:31.47 to earn the gold medal, ahead of Georgia’s Jake Magahey who hit a 14:38.45.

Sandidge’s winning time marked a significant PB for the freshman who entered the meet with a PB of 14:49.75 from his swim at the 2022 NCSA Spring Championships. The swim also marks a new national age group record for the 17-18 age category, improving upon PJ Ransford‘s 14:34.36 from 2015.

His swim at SECs was only his third this season, having also swum the event at the Ohio State Invitational (14:51.24) and at the TA&M vs Kentucky, dual meet a few weeks before that (15:10.40).

Sandidge hails from Texas and swam in high school with the City of Richardson Swim Team. He was ranked 18th in the class of 2022 when he committed to Kentucky back in July 2021. Sandidge first crack 15 minutes in the mile in March 2021 when he swam a 14:57.96.

While 20 seconds is a notable drop for a freshman season, it was to be expected that Sandidge would make improvements in his distance swimming once he began at Kentucky. He is currently training under head coach Lars Jorgensen who represented the US at the Olympics in the 1500 in 1988. Jorgensen is an accomplished distance swimmer who has collected a silver medal at both the Pan Pacific (1989) and Pan American (1987) Games.

By topping the podium in the 1650 freestyle, Sandidge became the first man to win the event for Kentucky in the history of the SEC Championships. This is just the 7th time that a Kentucky man has topped the SEC podium in any event. The others are Roger Messick who won the 50 and 100 freestyles in 1955 and 1957, Daniel Cruz who won the 200 butterfly in 2005, and Steve Manley who won the 200 freestyle in 2006.

This was Sandidge’s best performance of the meet, having placed 21st in the 500 free on day two and 20th in the 400 IM on day three.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Just Saying
1 year ago

It would be refreshing if RG could invest in knowing the entire field of swimmers rather than the past NCAA swimmers or Olympic swimmers. He did not even say Levi’s name until the 1/2 way point and then said “you really have to look at the finishers, not those that are leading the first half”.
Once again we had to turn off the volume to enjoy the race. What a great race Levi!!!

1 year ago

*Gerogia’s Jake Magahey

Reply to  Caty
1 year ago

Jake Magahey= Georgia’s Levi Sandige

Reply to  Caty
1 year ago

No, Kentucky’s Levi Sandige

1 year ago

Way to go! Go cats!

DTX Swimmer
1 year ago

He broke the 17-18 national age group record

1 year ago

yayyy! go levi

1 year ago

The Circle of Life