2022 NCAA 200 butterfly ‘A’ finalist Mason Wilby has announced he will be returning to Kentucky to use his COVID-19 fifth year of eligibility. Wilby made the announcement by placing “Kentucky Swimming ’23” in his bio and confirming to SwimSwam that he will be using the fifth year as well.
This past season, Wilby had his highest finish ever at the NCAA Championships finishing eighth in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:41.72. He also swam in prelims of the 200 IM where he swam a 1:45.28 to finish 28. Wilby was Kentucky’s lone scorer at the 2022 NCAA Championships as his 200 butterfly earned him 11 points, guiding Kentucky to a 31st place finish.
Wilby also helped guide Kentucky to an eighth place finish at the 2022 SEC Championships. There Wilby scored 39 individual events. He finished third in the 200 fly in a personal best time of 1:40.15 as well as 15th in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:44.26. He also competed in the A final of the 200 IM but was disqualified. Wilby also was a member of Kentucky’s 400 medley, 200 free, 400 free, and 800 free relays.
Prior to this season, Wilby qualified for the 2021 NCAA Championships where he finished 13th in the 200 fly with a time of 1:42.63). He also competed in the 200 free (1:34.84) and 200 IM (1:45.40).
He is the school record holder in numerous events including the 200 butterfly, 200 IM, 200 backstroke, and a member of the school record-holding 800 free relay. He also is second all time in school history in the 200 free and 100 backstroke. In addition, his best time in the 100 backstroke stands at seventh in school history.
Wilby’s best SCY times are:
- 200 fly: 1:40.15
- 200 IM: 1:43.05
- 200 free: 1:33.87
- 200 back: 1:41.90
- 100 back: 46.91
Athletes were allowed an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 season. Many athletes took this extra year this season, but the number is expected to fall over the next few years, although so far this year that has not seemed to have happened.
The biggest difference between this season’s fifth years and future season’s is the scholarship cap. Men’s swimming is allowed 9.9 total scholarships per team. This season, 5th year seniors didn’t count toward that cap unless they transferred. In future seasons, 5th year seniors will count against the cap, until the waiver expires. This means that Wilby’s scholarship next season will count towards the 9.9.
The Kentucky men were expected to graduate 147 points from the SEC Championship. The return of Wilby will shrink that number down to 108.
Wilby told SwimSwam that he plans to do the Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Management graduate program at Kentucky.