Michigan State’s Sydney Kelly Wins Three Events on 1st Day of College Club Swimming Nats

by Spencer Penland 23

April 01st, 2023 Club, College, News




  1. UVA – 366
  2. Purdue – 330.5
  3. Georgia Tech – 323
  4. Michigan State – 311
  5. Cal – 270


  1. UVA – 253
  2. Michigan State – 216
  3. Cal – 147
  4. Georgia Tech – 127
  5. Wisconsin – 125


  1. Purdue – 247.5
  2. Liberty – 212
  3. Georgia Tech – 196
  4. Cal – 123
  5. Georgia – 121

The 2023 College Club Swimming National Championships are underway at Ohio State’s McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. Collegiate club teams from all over the country have traveled to Columbus to compete in the largest college club meet of the year. Through the first day of the meet, Virginia’s club team is leading in both combined and women’s scoring, while Purdue is leading the men’s standings.

Friday marked the first day of the meet, which featured a timed finals session at night.

Michigan State, whose varsity program was cut a few years ago, kicked things off with a decisive victory in the women’s 800 free relay. Sydney Kelly (1:55.79), Sophia Balow (1:57.27), Rachel Aycock (2:02.30), and Kasey Venn (1:57.18) teamed up to post a 7:52.54, winning the race by four seconds.

UVA would go on to win the other women’s relay on the night: the 400 medley relay. Jamie Anderson (59.18), Emma Mitchell (1:06.60), Dana Korotovskikh (57.95), and Anna Sheng combined to clock a 3:56.01, touching first by nearly two seconds. Cal was second (3:57.98), getting out to a great start thanks to Amanda Ng‘s lead-off split of 57.40.

Ng had previously won the women’s 200 back earlier in the session, clocking a 2:02.41. She got out to a quick start with a 59.78 on the first 100, then held on through the back half.

Michigan State’s Syndey Kelly would go on from the relay victory to win the women’s 400 IM in 4:39.28. She was solid all the way around, splitting 1:02.15 on fly, 1:12.07 on back, 1:21.36 on breast, and 1:03.70 coming home on freestyle.

Kelly had a very busy night, as she also won the women’s 200 fly in 2:09.13. In her third race of the night, she still held on admirably, swimming a 1:02.19 on the first 100, then coming home in 1:06.94. Penn’s Caitlin Fagan was out faster than Kelly, splitting 1:01.34 on the first 100, but fell off her pace on the back half, coming home in 1:10.38 on the second 100. She ended up touching second in 2:11.72.

Michigan State picked up yet another win when Kasey Venn threw down a dominant performance in the women’s 200 breast, clocking a 2:17.88. Touching first by nearly six seconds, Venn got out to a strong start with a 1:05.99 on the first 100, then came home in 1:11.89.

The women’s 500 free saw Cal’s Sophie Klube tin by six seconds, finishing in 5:09.74.

In the men’s events, Liberty opened up the meet with a big win in the men’s 800 free relay. Matthew Davidson (1:39.25), Dillon Delaney (1:40.64), Trent Kolter (1:42.19), and Whittman Brown (1:40.66) teamed up to swim a 6:42.74.

The men’s 400 medley relay saw Liberty win once again, clocking a 3:19.23. Davidson once again led off, this time swimming a 48.55 100 back. Delaney then went second with a 54.69 breast split, and Kolter came in at 50.78 on the fly leg. Maximus Phillipps then anchored the team to victory in 45.21.

In a thrilling race, Grand Canyon’s Tim Koza won the men’s 400 IM by 0.05 seconds over Georgia Tech’s Ryan Altera, swimming a 3:59.50 to Altera’s 3:59.55. Altera got out to a slim lead, splitting 53.92 on the fly 100 to Koza’s 54.23. Altera was still leading at the 200-yard turn, splitting 1:54.90 to Koza’s 1:55.11. Koza then took the race over, splitting 1:07.56 on breast to out-split Altera by nearly two seconds. Altera battled back on the final 100, swimming a 55.41 to out-split Koza (56.83) significantly, but he ultimately came up just short of the win.

Penn State’s Ryan Strotheide won the men’s 200 back in 1:50.16. He swam a balanced race, splitting 26.08 on the first 50, then going 28.01, 28.07, and 28.00 respectively on the remaining 50s.

Georgia’s Thomas Askew won the men’s 200 fly in 1:50.04. Like Strotheide in the 200 back, Askew was exceptionally consistent in his race, splitting 24.59 on the first 50, then clocking splits of 28.30, 28.56, and 28.59 on the remaining 50s.

Michigan State’s Travis Nitkiewicz took the men’s 200 breast in 2:00.22. He was out quick, swimming a 57.17 on the first 100, then came home in 1:03.05.

Henry Radzikowski (Penn State) won the men’s 500 free in 4:34.24.


Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

SwimSwam! You want an interesting story to write about, it’s going to be on what Liberty University does to grow the sport of swimming at the Collegiate level without using Scholarships or NIL deals.

Would love to speak with you all about the growth of the program and ways we can continue to help swimmers find the right place for them to continue their love for the sport at any level!

Reply to  CoachGrish
2 months ago

CoachGrish – please stick to one username within any given comment section. Thanks!

2 months ago

Love to see how far Cal has come and how well they are doing… especially considering they started the club team 4 years ago… Go Bears!

Last edited 2 months ago by GoBears
2 months ago

BOILER UP BABY🚂🚂🚂🚂, y’all not talking abt the people who up rn

HOO love
2 months ago

go hoos!

2 months ago

Glad Braden’s allowing SwimSwam to cover the National Angry Drunk Championships!


(This is a joke, love the work you all put in and appreciate y’all giving CCS some love)

Last edited 2 months ago by PVSFree
2 months ago

Love how this meet has gotten more and more attention in the last decade! Not to mention it’s gotten so much faster and deeper. Club swim gave me my love for the sport back and it is cool to see it get better and better

2 months ago

Liberty’s relays are pretty quick for a club team. Any chance they’re looking into promoting this team to varsity status at some point?

Last edited 2 months ago by thezwimmer
Reply to  thezwimmer
2 months ago

They’d make a decent d3 team

Reply to  strela
2 months ago

No need to be condescending. Not every school can be a power 5.

3:19.23 would rank ahead of 30 D1 teams this year.

6:42.74 would rank ahead of 25 D1 teams this year.

Certainly not as fast as top mid-majors, but still highly competitive for a group of club swimmers who run their own team, coach themselves, and (likely) have zero direct funding from the school. Kudos!

Reply to  thezwimmer
2 months ago

Liberty is actually fully funded and have a coach — I don’t know the exact details but Liberty has a weird policy with some of their club sports teams where they receive a lot of funding from their school.

They run their instagram like they’re a legit varsity program and actually engage in recruiting too: https://www.instagram.com/lumensswimming/

Susan Davidson
Reply to  PVSFree
2 months ago

Yes, we receive funding, but we are far from fully funded. The teams raise their own funds but Liberty gives incentives to teams that meet certain goals. Our social media is run by students majoring in graphic design/cinematography areas. Every club team has a student that runs their social media page.

Reply to  thezwimmer
2 months ago

Why is saying they’d make a decent D3 team condescending?

Their 800 free relay would’ve rank 23rd this year for D3 and their 400 medley would’ve ranked them 27th this year.

So yeah I’d say they’d make a pretty good D3 team. It’s not like D3 schools are slow.

Reply to  thezwimmer
2 months ago

Interesting how all of these top teams are stacked with swimmers on varsity teams that got cut. Not Purdue though… built from scratch

Reply to  thezwimmer
2 months ago

UVA and Purdue are the only two teams that have done it the right way

Last edited 2 months ago by Boilermakers
Reply to  Boilermakers
2 months ago

I was a club swimmer and used to think similarly, that the top teams were just a bunch of ex-varsity swimmers or grad students that had used their 4 years of eligibility already. Seemed unfair to the “true” club swimmers and teams.

But honestly, those swimmers are what makes club swim nats super exciting. Not only does the meet get more attention with fast swims and make it super competitive, it gives that group of young adults a chance to keep competing at a high level, which is pretty rare for post-grads. Obviously I know a team like MSU would still like to be an NCAA team, but club swimming gives them a chance to keep going, which is awesome.

Reply to  thezwimmer
2 months ago

I would guess they are a club because of Title IX considerations? Their women’s team is pretty solid. I wonder if they train together?

Susan Davidson
Reply to  JimSwim22
2 months ago

They don’t train together. But the women’s team is very supportive of the men’s team.

Lap Counter
Reply to  thezwimmer
2 months ago

I thought same thing

Reply to  thezwimmer
2 months ago

the swim club of SMU clears by a mile + hold this ratio

Susan Davidson
Reply to  thezwimmer
2 months ago

I’m a parent of a Liberty men’s swimmer. They would love to be D1 but Liberty can’t add another men’s team due to Title IX. Liberty gives so much support to their club teams and most women’s teams don’t want to go D1. They have a huge “Giving Day” promotion every fall and give rewards to teams that raise money and reach certain goals. It certainly helps that the students at Liberty are so enthusiastic about their club teams – the club events are usually packed out!

To the commenter that said Liberty would be a great D3 team – that’s a huge compliment! Yes, we have a coach and assistant coach. We also have access to athletic trainers… Read more »

2 months ago

I went to this meet 6 years ago!
The event was fun and I met many amazing people!

Reply to  Seth
2 months ago

After finishing a nice D1 career, my interest in swimming waned for about ten years. A few times I was encouraged to consider Masters, but I felt it would just be a pointless attempt to reclaim old glory days. Then a friend asked me to swim on a triathlon relay because he wanted to race one time with his dad. I did about five practices of 1000 yards each over two weeks, and really crushed everybody (over the first hundred yards!). It was an aching breast/back limp to the finish line. But it perked up something, and I started going to Masters practices.

Now I’ve been competing in Masters for over thirty years. And every time I go to a… Read more »