Nina Kucheran has announced she will be using her COVID-19 fifth year of eligibility at Florida. Kucheran originally committed to Cal back in May before any abuse allegations came out about Cal’s head coach Teri McKeever.
Kucheran made the announcement by placing “UF Swim ’23” in her Instagram bio. Kucheran told SwimSwam that Florida stood out to her because she “had a tough time deciding between UF and Cal the first time around.” She was accepted into a masters in Kinesiology and human performance at UF which she said: “lines up really well with my goals beyond swimming”.
She spoke about staying in Florida after spending time at Florida State saying “I also really love Florida and am excited to stick around in the region.” She also spoke of the coaching staff at Florida saying they have “done an amazing job with the team in the last few years and I’m excited to learn from them and be somewhere that lines up well with my swimming and academic goals!”
Kucheran swam her first four years of eligibility at Florida State. At the 2022 NCAA Championships, Kucheran swam individually in prelims finishing 22nd in the 100 breaststroke (59.53), 28nd in the 200 breaststroke (2:09.23), and 31st in the 200 IM (1:57.12).
At the 2022 ACC Championships, she finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke (59.02) and 11th in the 200 IM (1:56.78). She was Florida State’s second highest scorer with 42 individual points.
Best Times in Yards:
- 100 breaststroke: 59.02 (2022 ACC Championships)
- 200 breaststroke: 2:08.57 (2021 Georgia Tech Invite)
- 200 IM: 1:56.68 (2022 ACC Championships)
Kucheran has the potential to make an immediate impact for Florida at both the conference and NCAA levels. Kucheran’s best time in the 100 breaststroke would have been the fastest on Florida’s roster this past season by almost two seconds, making it the only time under the 1:00 mark.
Kucheran’s best times would have finished sixth in the 100 breast, seventh in the 200 breast, and eighth in the 200 IM at the 2022 SEC Championships. Notably, the 200 breaststroke was the only event that Florida did not score in at the 2022 SEC Championships.
In total, her best times would have scored an additional 69 individual points at SECs. Those 69 individual points are huge as Florida was fifth at SECs, only 81 points behind Georgia.
Kucheran also has the potential to impact Florida’s medley relays as her 100 breaststroke best time is already faster than the school’s breaststroke splits from this past season’s relays at both SECs and NCAAs. The team used primarily distance freestyle Tylor Mathieu for the 400 medley relay at both SECs and NCAAs.
Her best time of 59.02 from ACCs would have made the B final in the 100 breaststroke at NCAAs. Florida had no breaststrokers qualify individually at NCAAs where the Gator women finished 13th overall.
The team was relatively thin in the breaststroke events partially due to Cecilia Porter only competing in one meet during the 2021-2022 season as well as Vanessa Pearl‘s medical retirement midway through the season.