Luca Urlando Will Return to Racing This Weekend in Tempe After Shoulder Surgery

1st Annual Sun Devil Open

  • June 2-4, 2023
  • Mona Plummer Aquatic Center, Tempe, Arizona
  • Long Course Meters (50m)
  • Psych Sheets
  • Results on Meet Mobile “2023 Sun Devil Open”

According to psych sheets posted late Wednesday evening by Arizona State assistant coach Herbie Behm, US National Teamer Luca Urlando will make his return from injury this weekend at the 1st Annual Sun Devil Open in Tempe.

There, he’s scheduled to swim the 200 free and 400 free, but not the butterfly events that made him famous, nor even the 100 backstroke, where he is the American Record holder in short course yards – all races that cause more strain on a recovering shoulder.

Urlando, a 5-time World Junior Champion, underwent shoulder surgery in the fall after dislocating his shoulder during a race and having to be helped out of the pool by lifeguards at a World Cup meet in Indianapolis in November. That was not his first dislocation – he also hurt his shoulder in practice in high school in 2020 and had to take a few months away from training to recover.

Urlando has raced three seasons at the University of Georgia, including the one where he was injured, meaning he would have at least two years of eligibility remaining – his senior year, his COVID-19 5th year, and possibly a redshirt year for the season he was injured in (though that would take NCAA paperwork).

While he’s representing his home club of Davis Aquadarts in California, Urlando has repeatedly declined to address rumors in recent months that he is turning pro to train under Bob Bowman at Arizona State – the hosts of this weekend’s meet. His recent social media posts have seen a lot of engagement from Arizona State undergrads and postgrads, though, where he would join a number of former Georgia Bulldogs in training – including names like Haley Flickinger, Olivia Smoliga, Jay Litherland, and Chase Kalisz.

That group is all entered in the meet this weekend, along with most of Arizona State’s post-grads and undergrads. But the event is far from an intrasquad – about a dozen other teams will be there, including Swim Neptune and their star Keaton Jones. Jones, who will start at Cal in the fall, earned a bronze medal in the 200 back at the 2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships for Team USA and finished 6th at the International Team Trials in the same event.


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3 months ago

I’m a big fan, hoping this surgery is the key to his successful swimming future. I like the way he’s handled himself through three shoulder dislocations. (at least, three is what I read when the most recent dislocation occurred -a high school one and a less publicized one before the most recent one.) The idea of Luca training with Bob Bowman intrigues me. I can make a crude division of butterflyers as “hammerers” and “rowers”, when describing their arm recoveries. Keep in mind that the difference in arm recoveries is not an isolated event. It reflects what’s going on in the rest of the stroke. Phelps and Milak are classic “rowers”. Luca is a “hammerer”. Maybe Bowman could turn Luca… Read more »

3 months ago

So talented, so wasted.

James Beam
Reply to  Kim
3 months ago

what is this supposed to mean?

Reply to  James Beam
3 months ago

He was basically as fast at 17 as Milak was at 17. Not even did he not improve on that time, he hasn’t really been all that close to it since. So, even though it could have been worded better, he fits the parameters of a “wasted talent”, although lets not write him off just yet. Guy’s still young.

Reply to  snailSpace
3 months ago

Pretty tough crowd, which is twisted by persons apparently only aware one event in which he was hugely successful, his LCM 200 fly pre-injury, without following other aspects of what is already a pretty remarkable and versatile career, with the possibility of more big things to come.

Reply to  snailSpace
3 months ago

He was a qtr-second away from his PB at trials last year

3 months ago

Thank goodness he’s back. I would hate for a califraudnia baby bear to make the olympic team in 2 fly

3 months ago

I hope he can get back to his level and live is full potencial but kind of feel that his window of opportunity passed. I remember when Milak Vs Luca was a debate

Old Swim Coach
3 months ago

Glad you are back, Luca!

3 months ago

I’m glad to see he’s back. I was worried he was done.

3 months ago

glad hes back. Lets remember that Luca has been 1:53 in the 2 fly.

Lap counter
Reply to  Chris
3 months ago

As a junior in HIGH SCHOOL!

3 months ago

If he is turning pro would seem like a strange decision given his struggles to stay healthy. Finish your degree and set yourself up with a better backup plan.

James Beam
Reply to  oxyswim
3 months ago

100% agree. Get the piece of paper.

1650 Onetrick
Reply to  oxyswim
3 months ago

Isn’t it pretty common to go pro but stay in schol to finish out the degree? If he is going pro I’d be shocked if he didn’t do that.

Reply to  oxyswim
3 months ago

I am not the expert on NIL, but would he have to “turn pro?” It seems that he could do an Olympic redshirt, collect endorsements, and then decide in a year what he wants to do. That assumes he doesn’t want to continue the path he is on, which he might want to.

I am pulling for him. He has a ton of talent. Hoping he can stay healthy through the Olympics.

About Braden Keith

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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