NCAA Runner-Up Emily McClellan Taking Summer Stop in Minnesota En Route to SoCal

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee alumni Emily McClellan is taking a training stop in Minneapolis this summer before headed out to Southern California to dive head-first into her post-graduate career.

McClellan says that she’ll spend the summer training under Kelly Kremer as part of a growing post-graduate group at the University of Minnesota this summer, and that her long-term goal is to join Dave Salo’s renowned breaststroke program at USC after Nationals.

McClellan was the runner-up at the 2014 NCAA Championships in the 100 yard breaststroke, swimming a 57.76. That put her half-a-second behind Breeja Larson, who swam the fastest 100 yard breaststroke in history, and incidentally also made McClellan the second-fastest 100 yard breaststroker at the NCAA level and third-fastest at any level in history (Alia Atkinson was faster as well, but only as a post-grad.)

Now she joins a training group that includes some very good breaststrokes. Among them are 2011 NCAA 200 breaststroke champion Haley Spencer, Phillippines National Teamer Josh Hall, and former Minnesota All-American Jared Anderson.

McClellan has raced two meets since the NCAA season ended, both in long course. At the Charlotte Grand Prix in mid-May, she was a 1:08.77 in the 100 breaststroke and a 2:29.12 in the 200 breaststroke; and then at a local club prelims/finals meet last week she swam a 1:11.6 in the 100 breaststroke and a 2:26.2 in the 200 IM. That 1:08.7 in Charlotte is the fastest in-season time of her career.

Despite her success, McClellan has been overlooked at times because she swam at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her improvements in college, however, came in a hurry: she was a good, but very raw, 1:02.4 breaststroker coming out of high school. Her first records of long course swimming, according to the USA Swimming database, wasn’t until she was 17: before her senior year of high school.

Now she’s got a serious chance, albeit a not-much-talked-about chance, of qualifying for the 2014 U.S. Pan Pacs team, and could be called even so much as a favorite to qualify for the U.S. National Team in the 100 breaststroke.

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bobo gigi

Is the pool at USC enough big to welcome almost all the breaststrokers of the world? 🙂


I’ve always thought with moves like this some kudos should go out to the swimmers former club and coach(es) for getting them to where they can make this type of move. In this case it is a tiny club in the Janesville, WI area (JHawk Aquatics) which has produced some pretty good talent.


Jhawk has put out some quality swimmers I know one is headed to UK this next season, but did McClellan do much in club? You always hear that she didn’t know anything about swimming till she got to college. Either way I am glad to hear that she is going to continue swimming. Best of luck to her.

Cheri Z

Thank you for acknowledging our club, the J-Hawks, and the work, both in and out of the water, that we’ve done with Emily. Emily is a gifted athlete and an awesome person. Anyone that has worked with Emily will speak to her natural feel of the water. No one coach, in club or college, has created Emily’s success. She has always been gifted, but matured into understanding what she can achieve. She worked hard during her college season and with us, and I’m sure, now with Minnesota, putting the grind in everywhere. Rion Epping, her HS coach, was a big influence for Emily. Her family is a huge influence. Yes, the J-Hawks played a role. Yes, her college played a… Read more »

J-Hawk Family

Emily was a late bloomer, for sure. She did not have a true understanding of her gift and potential until the J-Hawk coaching staff sat with her and her parents, discussing what Emily could achieve, in the summer of 2011. When, she came home after her college freshman year, she did not even know what USA nationals was about (she had only gone to USA Junior nats her senior year, making cuts, during her HS season). She went from a 1:04 in Nov to 1:02 a month later, at Juniors. Emily came home every May and trained and represented J-Hawks. This is something our team is very proud of, since she did limited Spring training, in college. Emily has come… Read more »


I love it when college swimmers get to come home and train with their original club teams. Its always a bummer as a club coach when the college makes them swim for their club team. Summer is the fun stuff. Its only two months of training and 2 weeks of taper, and then they get most of August off before we send them back to college for 9 months for the real daily grind training.


The real daily grind training? Marty – it doesn’t sound like you know a whole lot about what you are talking about. The last time I checked, there weren’t a whole heck of a lot of College athletes on our Olympic team, and the USA’s most recent world record breaker (Ledecky) hasn’t done a bit of “real grind” training, aside from kicking a bunch of grinders to the curb. Your other point is suspect as well. Real college programs that are interested in being successful keep their kids at home, usually after their Sophomore year. The club and college coaches are usually communicating. I don’t know what you think is fun, but for athletes who are interested in getting better… Read more »



Apparently, Stuck a nerve there and was not meaning to do so. Was just saying that I would enjoy getting that kind of talent back in the summers to swim long course for me. Colleges tend to keep that talent on campus year round especially if they are getting full ride scholarships

Recent Olympic Breaststrokers and where they trained in the summer.
Breeja Larson A&M Swims For Aggie Swim Club Not home in Colorado
Micah Lawarence Auburn Swims For former Auburn coach at SwimMac Not home in Texas
Jessica Hardy Cal Swam for Cal not at home in Long beach
Rebecca Soni USC Swam for Trojan not back in New Jersey

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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