Mary Pelton Transferring From UCLA to Virginia After 1 Season

College sophomore-to-be Mary Pelton will transfer to the University of Virginia in the fall after 1 season with the UCLA Bruins.

Pelton came out of high school as primarily a sprint freestyler (50-200) and 200 IMer, but in her one year in Westwood she swam a lifetime best in just one event: the 500 yard free.

In her best events, she was well off the pace of what she swam in high school while training at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

Pelton’s best events (best time in high school/best time in college):

  • 50 free: 22.93/23.58
  • 100 free: 50.35/50.99
  • 200 free: 1:46.59/1:49.78
  • 100 back: 55.60/no swim
  • 200 IM: 1:58.87/2:02.05

All of those season-best times at UCLA were done at mid-season meets, and she was well short of even those marks at the Pac-12 Championships and missed scoring in any individual events.

If she can get back to form, Pelton will join a Virginia short-free group that picked up big points at NCAAs despite not having any scorers in the 50 or 100 freestyles. The Virginia 200 free relay was 6th at NCAAs, the 400 free relay was 10th, and the 800 free relay was 4th. The Cavaliers graduated just one swim from across those three free relays.

Pelton overlapped in the Pac-12 for one year with sister Liz Pelton, who is an American Record holder and swam her senior season last year at Cal.

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5 years ago

Mary is a huge boss…mad respect for the switch. #HoosWho

Reply to  Calvin
5 years ago

I agree, Calvin. Nice hashtag. I hope she does well at UVA.

Reply to  Calvin
5 years ago

I agree, Calvin. Nice hashtag. I hope she does really well at UVA.

Swimmer jammer
5 years ago

The problem with recruiting is that swimmers are made promises by the college coach, then sprinters are forced to swim the long distance events and do the type of weight training for long not short distance, ruining the swimmers who are sprinters. This goes on at all the top colleges. They just need bodies in the long distance events to get points at meets. Coaches don’t care about the swimmers. In college, it’s all political, all about the coaches, all about money, all about power, all about what is best for the coach, not individual swimmers.

Reply to  Swimmer jammer
5 years ago

Not individual swimmers, not coaches, TEAM.

kelly lynn
Reply to  Swimmer jammer
5 years ago

How can she swim with a transfer without sitting out for a year?

Reply to  Swimmer jammer
5 years ago

I’m all for TEAM, but being a team player does not have to mean everyone training the same way. College coaches who apply the same training to all swimmers using the argument that it builds teamwork need to do some reading. A track coach would never tell a sprinter that he will make her fast by doing marathons week after week. A farmer would never use a racehorse to plow a field. Both would be pure stupidity. I’m absolutely not an expert, though I do take my own training seriously and make a point of training smart, but there’s this very basic concept of slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscles that any college coach (not that that’s the case here…I honestly don’t… Read more »

Reply to  Swimmer jammer
5 years ago

No chance that too much distance is why she struggled. If you knew anything about the club team she came from or what strengths Virginia has had historically, you’d likely suspect the opposite.

5 years ago

Great move, hope she improves with Virginia.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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