Late-Blooming Breaststroker Liam Kerns Commits to South Carolina

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Liam Kerns from the Billings Aquatic Club in Montana has verbally committed to the University of South Carolina. A rising high school senior, Koops is scheduled to join the Gamecocks’ roster in the fall of 2021.

Kerns is a very late bloomer in the sport of swimming. As an 8th-grader, at 13, his best time in the 100 yard breaststroke was just 1:18.72 – only a “B” cut on USA Swimming’s Motivational Times scale. A year later, he had cut that down to a 1:07.89 as a freshman, and a year after that he was under a minute as a sophomore for the first time.

Since then, his times have exploded, as he now sits as one of the fastest breaststrokers in Montana history. Kerns is the Montana LSC open-age record holder in both the 100-meter breaststroke (1:03.96) and 200-meter breaststroke (2:20.11), with both times being swum in time trials at Winter Juniors – West in December.

Best Times, and Progression, in Yards:

13 14 15 16 17
50 Breast 34.94 33 29.79 26.99 26.50
100 Breast 1:18.72 1:07.89 59.5 56.22 56.94
200 Breast 2:50.74 2:24.60 2:10.24 2:03.31 2:07.57
200 IM 2:37.54 2:26.21 2:08.41 2:02.76 1:59.79
400 IM 6:08.56 4:16.30 4:27.98 4:14.95 4:17.76

While he’s still almost 2 seconds away from the 54.35 that it took to make a scoring final in the 100 breaststroke at last year’s SEC Championship meet, the upside for Kerns is enticing for the Gamecocks. The team graduated its top 2 sprint breaststrokers at the end of last season, including SEC Champion in the 100 Itay Goldfaden, leaving them thin in the breaststroke races. They are bringing in a couple of breaststrokers in the class of 2020, including Daniel West (55.5/2:07.4) and Johnny Nutt (55.4/2:01.4), to beef up that group ahead of the 2020-2021 season. They’ll line up alongside rising sophomores Drew Grespin (54.8/1:59.1) and Jordan Yip (55.6/1:57.5) as part of the Gamecocks’ breaststroke group in the 2020-2021 season.

Kerns attends Billings Senior High School, but did not swim for his school as a junior. As a sophomore, he was the state’s Class AA runner-up in the 100 breastststroke, swimming 1:01.00.

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Lane 8
1 year ago

Congratulations Liam!

1 year ago

Bruh how you improve so much I’ve been stuck at a 1:00 in the 1 breast since 15

B hole surfer
Reply to  HuntleyJones
1 year ago

Rihanna voice: “work work work work work”

1 year ago

Clearly not swimming high school worked for him.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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