2021 and 2022 Division I NCAA qualifier Andrei Ungur has announced he will be using his COVID-19 fifth year of eligibility at Utah this upcoming season. Ungur made the announcement by placing “Utah Swim&Dive 23′” in his Instagram bio as well as confirming to SwimSwam that he will be using the extra year of eligibility.
Ungur was the highest-scoring swimmer for the Utes at the 2022 Pac-12 Championships. There he scored 11 points by finishing eighth in the 100 backstroke swimming a time of 46.13. Overall, Unger was the fifth-highest scorer for the Utes as the top four all were divers.
Ungur went on to qualify for the 2022 NCAA Championships. There he swam in the prelims 100 back and 100 free. He finished 20th in the 100 back (45.46) and 48th in the 100 free (43.52). He also led off both of Utah’s only relays at the NCAA Championships swimming a 21.02 50 back split on the 16th place 200 medley relay as well as a 45.05 split on the 20th place 400 medley relay.
Utah’s two points from the 200 medley relay 16th place finish earned them two points as well as their only points from the meet.
Prior to this past season, Ungur also qualified for the 2021 NCAA Championships. There he swam in prelims of the 100 back (47.28 for 34th) and led off Utah’s 200 and 400 medley relays.
Ungur arrived at Utah at the beginning of his junior season after spending his first two seasons at Division II Carson-Newman University. Ungur raced at the 2020 Division II NCAA Championships placing ninth in the 50 free (19.86) before the rest of the meet ended up being canceled due to COVID-19.
Ungur told SwimSwam that when he transferred to Utah after his sophomore year, not all of his credits transferred so he plans on finishing up his Film & Media Arts major as well as adding a minor in animation studies during this fifth year. When asked what his motivation for returning was Ungur said “I fell in love with my teammates and coaching staff and I was planning to keep on swimming anyway to achieve some bigger dreams so when I got the opportunity to stay for another year I didn’t have to think twice.” Ungur also said that he is motivated to help out his teammates to push them to get better. He said that one day they might be doing as much yoga as he does.
Athletes were allowed an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 season. Many athletes took this extra year this past 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 Ungur’s scholarship next season will count towards the 9.9.