NCAA Champion Kensey McMahon Putting Swimming “On Pause” To Pursue Other Opportunities

Two-time NCAA champion and World Championship medalist Kensey McMahon is taking a break from competitive swimming to pursue other opportunities.

McMahon, 23, told SwimSwam that she’s putting the sport “on pause” for the time being but hasn’t ruled out a return in the future.

“My post-grad plan was to continue in the sport but sometimes plans don’t work out as you envision,” she said. “Swimming is on pause and I’m pursuing other opportunities.”

McMahon declined to elaborate on why her plans changed.

McMahon wrapped up her college eligibility at Alabama this past season with the best year of her career, winning NCAA titles in the women’s 500 free (4:36.62) and 1650 free (15:43.84) while also claiming the SEC title in the mile for the second time.

She’s also had a breakthrough in meters over the last 12 months, first winning bronze at the 2022 Short Course World Championships in the women’s 1500 freestyle while representing the United States.

McMahon then had a very impressive 2023 long course season, setting personal bests to place 3rd in the women’s 1500 free (16:07.78) and 6th in the 800 free (8:25.97) at U.S. Nationals while also placing 8th in the 400 free (4:10.27). She added a PB of 2:01.40 in the 200 free in a time trial.

Despite being fast enough in the 1500 free, McMahon was not a part of the 2023-24 U.S. National Team roster that was announced on Monday, indicating she opted out.

The Jacksonville, Florida native was named to the National Team in open water earlier this year, and has represented the U.S. internationally in open water events multiple times, including placing 10th at the 2022 World Championships in the women’s 25km.

Over the course of her collegiate career, McMahon was a nine-time All-American, including finishing inside the top eight of the 1650 free in all four of her NCAA appearances. At the conference level, she won the SEC title in the 1650 free in 2020 to go along with her 2023 title, and she never missed the podium over five championship appearances, also placing 3rd in 2019 and 2nd in both 2021 and 2022.

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Coach John
9 days ago

One of the best personalities in the sport, happy our paths crossed. Good luck Kensey!

9 days ago

A truly impressive career! And agree nice she made the spot available. As mentioned by others the article does raise more questions than answers will be interested to hear the follow-up and hope to see her back in the pool someday if that’s what she decides.

Dale Porter
9 days ago

We are proud of you, Kensey!

Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
9 days ago

Odd to bail going into Olympic year. Seems like she had a chance in the 1500

Reply to  Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
9 days ago

For some people at certain points in their lives when everything is changing and new doors are opening every which way, a year is a looooong time…

Reply to  Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
9 days ago

Agree she had a chance, but let’s be honest, there’s only one spot available there with plenty of competition for it. She’s probably done the mental calculation that whatever she’s doing now is more valuable than her odds of making the team.

Mike McCormack
9 days ago

Good for you Kensey! How much fun it has been watching you we can’t come close to expressing!

Happy Slappy
9 days ago

Other interests include

Sleeping until 7 am.
Being dry from 3-6pm
Enjoying a late Friday night.

9 days ago

It seems there should have been a follow-up question that was missed here? “OK, whatcha you up to then?”

Reply to  Swimpop
9 days ago

The question was asked.

Swimmin in the South
10 days ago

Good luck on n your future endeavors. Happy to see you finish up at least your collegiate career so well this past season. RTR!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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