Luca Urlando, University of Georgia standout and NCAA, U.S. Open, and American Record holder in the 100 yard backstroke, will sit out the remainder of the 2022-2023 NCAA season after dislocating his shoulder for the third time following the recent FINA World Cup in Indianapolis, per an announcement on Instagram Wednesday.
At the 2022 FINA World Cup in Indianapolis, Urlando executed a cross-over turn with his right arm, though as he was being helped out of the pool by the lifeguards, Urlando seemed to favor his left arm. Urlando had been in the lead in his preliminary heat, hitting the 50-meter turn at 23.48, though did not manage to finish the third 25-meter leg of breaststroke due to his shoulder.
Urlando’s full statement on Instagram reads:
As many of you know, I had a setback this last week that will need medical attention. During the 100 IM at the Indy World Cup, I dislocated my shoulder for the third time. With the support of family, friends, and coaches, I have decided to undergo shoulder surgery to prevent further dislocations and restore the anatomy. I am taking this collegiate season off, but will be documenting my rehab/progression. Grateful and appreciative for all the good wishes from everyone, and I look forward to competing full strength soon.
Urlando has a problematic history of shoulder health, going back to 2020 when he dislocated his shoulder in practice swimming with his club team DART of Sacramento, CA. At the time, Urlando, on Instagram, wrote that he “dislocated my left shoulder during a swim workout last Saturday. Recovery will take a couple of months, but with the resources available to me in Colorado Springs I am optimistic that I will be able to reach my goal of swimming well at Olympic trials.” Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic would delay the U.S. Olympic Trials until June of 2021, where Urlando would place 3rd in the 200 fly behind Zach Harting and Gunnar Bentz, and 3rd again in the 100 butterfly behind Caeleb Dressel and Tom Shields.
Though Urlando states this is his third time dislocating his shoulder, it is only the second occasion known publicly.
Urlando made his first senior international team in 2022, qualifying to represent Team USA at the World Championships in Budapest in the 200 butterfly, where he finished 5th. This announcement also likely means Urlando will miss the 2022 short course FINA World Championships, where he is slated to represent team USA in the 200 butterfly. Without Urlando, Team USA may select Trenton Julian to take his place as Julian finished the 2022 long course season with the 3rd-fastest time among American performers in the 200 fly with a 1:54.22 from U.S. International Team Trials in April. Urlando won the 200 fly at U.S. Trials with a 1:54.10, though did not finish the season as the fastest American in the event; Carson Foster, racing at Southern Sectionals in Austin in July, blasted a 1:53.67 to become the 3rd-fastest American all-time, jumping Urlando’s 2019 NAG. Foster will swim the 200 fly in Australia next month as Team USA’s top delegate in the event. If Julian is unable to go, Team USA may also select Gabriel Jett, 2022 US National Champion in the 200 fly. At US Nationals in August, Jett posted an explosive 1:54.37 to become the 7th-fastest U.S. performer all-time. USA Swimming has until November 14th to decide if they will replace Urlando with another 200 butterflyer for World Championships in Melbourne, which will take place December 13th through the 18th.
Urlando has been a standout since his teenage years, and in 2019 made noise on the international stage when he broke Michael Phelps‘ 17-18 NAG Record in the 200 LCM butterfly at the Pro Swim Series in Clovis, stopping the clock in a blistering 1:53.84, making him, at the time, the 3rd-fastest U.S. performer in history. Though Urlando has not claimed an individual NCAA title, he is the NCAA, U.S. Open, and American Record holder in the 100 yard backstroke following his remarkable lead-off leg of the 400 medley relay at the 2022 NCAA Championships at Georgia Tech, where he blasted a 43.35 to dip under Ryan Murphy‘s 43.49 record from 2016.
Urlando, currently a junior, was Georgia’s highest individual scorer at the 2022 NCAA Championships, pulling in a total of 50 points, making him the 4th-highest point-scorer overall behind Cal’s Destin Lasco (52), LSU’s Brooks Curry (53), and ASU’s Leon Marchand (57). At the 2022 NCAA Championships, Urlando placed 2nd in the 100 butterfly, just 0.09 behind Stanford’s Andrei Minakove, and 2nd again in the 200 butterfly, his signature event, again just 0.09 behind Indiana’s Brendan Burns. In the 200 IM, Urlando placed 3rd in 1:39.22, making him the 6th-fastest performer in history. Urlando also became the first man in history to go under 44-seconds in both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke at the 2022 NCAA Championships.
At the 2022 SEC Championships, Urlando won the 100 fly, 200 fly, and 200 IM, helping Georgia to 4th in the team standings, netting a total of 96 individual points.
In short course yards, Urlando is among the top-9 performers all-time in the 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, and 200 IM.
- 100 Backstroke: 1st — 43.35
- 100 Butterfly: 4th — 43.80
- 200 Butterfly: 9th — 1:38.32
- 200 IM: 6th — 1:39.22