2021 NCAA First-Team All American Alexei Sancov Enters Transfer Portal

Alexei Sancov, a 2020 Tokyo Olympian from Moldova and a 2021 NCAA ‘A’ finalist in the 200 free, has entered the transfer portal. He competed for the University of Southern California for the last four seasons, and graduated from the school in May 2022.

NOTE: A swimmer being in the transfer portal does not mean that they HAVE to transfer to another school, it only means that they have opened up communication with different schools and coaches.

Sancov entered the portal on July 20th, 2022. As of now, he has not publicly confirmed whether he would be taking a fifth year of eligibility or not, and what school he will be attending for the 2022-23 NCAA season if he does. USC currently does not have its roster up for the 2022-23 season.

Although he was born in Moldova, Sancov went to Northgate High School in California and was ranked #3 on SwimSwam’s list of top boys recruits for the class of 2018. He came into USC with best times of 1:32.80 in the 200 free, 4:14.25 in the 500 free, 42.68 in the 100 free, 1:44.51 in the 200 fly, and 1:45.85 in the 200 IM. In his freshman year, he was well off those times, clocking a 43.90 100 free and 1:35.00 200 free at Pac-12s and failing to qualify for NCAAs.

During his sophomore year, Sancov bounced back, hitting best times of 1:42.20 and 1:43.92 in the 200 fly and 200 IM respectively at the 2019 Art Adamson Invitational. He was also significantly faster than his freshman year in the 200 free, clocking a season-best time of 1:32.95. His season culminated in an NCAAs berth, and he was seeded 11th in the 200 free and 18th in the 200 fly prior to the meet getting cancelled due to COVID-19.

However, Sancov’s junior year was where he really shined. He won the 2021 Pac-12 title in the 200 free with a time of 1:32.20, marking his first PB since 2017 in arguably his best event. In addition, he also took second in the 200 fly in a 1:41.04. At NCAAs that year, he improved upon his 200 free time once more, clocking a 1:31.82 while leading off USC’s 800 free relay. He placed 7th in the individual 200 free race and 11th in the 200 fly. His 18 NCAA points made him USC’s top scorer from that meet.  Sancov would go on to qualify for NCAAs once more his senior year, finishing 28th in the 200 free and 19th in the 200 fly.

In addition to his collegiate career, Sancov has also seen long course international success. He was the 2017 European Junior Champion in the 200 free, and went on to compete at the 2019 World Championships and 2020 Olympic Games. He also held the World Junior Record in the 200 free with a time of 1:47.00 from July to August of 2017.

Sancov is just one out of the many USC trojans who have entered the transfer portal following the culmination of the 2021-22 NCAA season. Just on the men’s team alone, Billy Cruz, Daniel Matheson, and Victor Johansson all entered the portal, with Matheson transferring to Arizona State and Johansson transferring to Alabama for a fifth year. In addition, Chris O’Grady also entered the transfer portal, but ultimately withdrew to stay at USC. On the women’s side, Caroline Pennington and Jade Hannah both entered the portal and transferred to different schools this summer.

If Cruz and Sancov end up leaving, USC will only return three out of their nine men’s NCAA swimming qualifiers from the 2021-22 season.

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4 months ago

He would be a great fit at UF

MAC Daddy
4 months ago

Michigan only accepts graduate transfers, has a 1:32/1:47 type for him to train with and MUST have some money available,

4 months ago

Thought he was done swimming???

tea rex
4 months ago

It was interesting looking back at that class of 2018 rankings. What a monster class for mid-distance!
Does anyone know what happened to that Honorable Mention Shaine Casas kid?

Unknown Swammer
Reply to  tea rex
4 months ago

Never even used all his eligibility…

Gator Nation
4 months ago

Niko already took a fifth year during 2021-2022 season.

Some Guy
4 months ago

i think the SMU bit is played out, who should the next target be?

Last edited 4 months ago by Some Guy
maximum mchuge
Reply to  Some Guy
4 months ago

I heard ball state is rebuilding their once glorious team

4 months ago

Eddie Reese, pick up a white courtesy phone, please

Santo Condorelli's #1 Fan
4 months ago

Cutting almost half the men’s team and playing favorites with who stays doesn’t exactly promote a positive team culture

Reply to  Santo Condorelli's #1 Fan
4 months ago

So your solution is cut the entire team?

Old Bruin
Reply to  Santo Condorelli's #1 Fan
4 months ago

Fight on

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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