McKendree Adds Iranian National Record-holder Alireza Yavari for 2021-22

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Alireza Yavari from Isfahan, Iran will join the McKendree University men’s swimming and diving team this fall. Yavari is the Iranian national record holder in the LCM 200 freestyle. He is also in the record books as a member of the LCM 4×100 freestyle relay and the SCM 4×100 freestyle relay.

Yavari also specializes in 50/100 free and 50/100 fly. He earned B cuts for all five events for the Youth Olympic Games. Yavari started swimming at age of 6 and broke his first Iranian Age Group record with the 100 free for 13-14 boys, going 57.23. He then broke the 200 free record for 15-17 boys with 1:55.65, and the 100 fly with 56.92.

Yavari has represented Iran internationally since 2017 when he participated in the Asian Indoor Games. He also wore his nation’s colors at the Youth Olympic Games and the Jakarta Asian Games in 2018 and the FINA World Cup in Doha and the FINA World Swimming Championship in Gwangju in 2019.

Best LCM times (converted)

  • 50 free – 23.60 (20.54)
  • 100 free – 51.41 (44.87)
  • 200 free – 1:51.92 (1:37.94)
  • 100 fly – 54.85 (48.15)

The McKendree men finished fourth at the 2021 NCAA Division II Championships. Yavari will join a freestyle training group led by senior Gregg Lichinsky, the NCAA DII 50 free silver medalist in 2020 and B final winner in 2021. He will also have Xander Skinner, Davanté Carey, Caleb Law, and Taras Zherebetskyy – all of whom were sub-20 sprinters last season. Lichinsky (42.57), Skinner (43.92), and Sherebetskyy (44.89) were the leading 100 freestylers, while Skinner (1:36.41) and John Bodden (1:38.96) topped the field in the 200 free. Yavari’s 200 free converted time would have made the Bearcats’ NCAA 800 free relay about 4.4 seconds faster, challenging GVSU for third place in the race. Individually he would have scored in the B final of the 200 free.

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Coach Tom
1 year ago

Congrats to Alireza and best of luck in his college career! Out of curiosity, how does an Iranian athlete even go about getting recruited by a NCAA school given the tenuous relationships between the US and Iran? I’d imagine scheduling an official visit was a bit more complicated than usual.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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