Pac-12 Champion Chloe Larson Among Trio of Washington State 5th Years for 21-22

by Spencer Penland 1

August 20th, 2021 College, News, Pac-12

Washington State has three swimmers who will take advantage of the NCAA waiver that awards all athletes who competed in the 2020-2021 collegiate season an extra year of eligibility because of the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2021-2022 season. Chloe Larson, Mackenzie Duarte, and Taylor McCoy will be coming back to Pullman, WA for a 5th season with the Cougars. All 3 of WSU’s 5th years are 2021 Pac-12 A finalists.

Chloe Larson is coming of a sensational 2020-2021 NCAA season. Larson became Washington State’s first-ever Pac-12 Champion last season, winning the 50 free. She also set the Washington State program records in the 50 free (22.16) and 100 free (48.74). Chloe then took her SCY success during the NCAA into the LCM season, racing in the women’s 50 free at Wave II of the U.S. Olympic Trials. At Trials, Larson scored a 13-th place finish in prelims, advancing to semifinals, where she would ultimately finish 14th, dropping another 0.07 seconds from her prelims time.

Larson has consistently improved during her first 4 years with the Cougars. Here is a year-by-year breakdown of Larson’s yearly best times dating back to 2017, when she began at WSU:

Yearly Best 50 Free 100 Free 100 Fly
2017 23.60 51.74 59.00
2018 23.34 50.76 59.65
2019 22.82 49.73 56.35
2020 22.64 49.63 55.73
2021 22.16 48.74 55.48

Mackenzie Duarte is also a Washington State school record holder, and an NCAA qualifier. Duarte is a breaststroker who became Washington State’s first NCAA qualifier since 2010 when she qualified for the 2019 NCAAs after swimming a 2:09.47 at the 2019 Pac-12 Championships. That time still stands as Washington State’s team record.

Duarte has been a Pac-12 A finalist, and one of the Cougars’ highest individual scores during her career. Duarte’s continuance with the team will strengthen an already deep breaststroke squad in Pullman. Duarte will be joining, rising sophomores Alexandra Vartiainen, Hailey Grotte, and Emily Ward, each of whom made B finals in at least one breaststroke event as freshmen at last year’s Pac-12 Championships. Vartiainen was a B finalist in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Kaya Takashige, another rising sophomore, made C finals appearances in both the breaststroke events at Pac-12s last year. Additionally, rising senior Lauren Burckel will be returning this season, after opting out of last season. Burckel is the WSU team record holder in the 100 breast (1:00.89), and #3 all-time in the 200 breast (2:11.28).

Here are Duarte’s SCY lifetime bests:

  • 100 breast – 1:01.63
  • 200 breast – 2:09.47
  • 200 IM – 2:02.89
  • 400 IM – 4:21.66
  • 100 fly – 56.69

Taylor McCoy has been another of Washington State’s top individual scorers over the last few seasons. At the 2021 Pac-12 Championships, McCoy scored an A finals appearance in the women’s 400 IM, and B finals appearances in the 200 IM and 200 back. Additionally, McCoy posted lifetime best times in 100 back and 200 free with her lead-off legs on the 400 medley relay and 800 free relay at 2021 Pac-12s. She’s all over the Washington State all-time top 10 performers list, heading into her 5th year season as the #2 Cougar all-time in the 200 back and 400 IM, #4 in the 200 IM, and #6 in the 100 back.

Here are McCoy’s SCY lifetime bests:

  • 200 IM – 2:00.51
  • 400 IM – 4:15.07
  • 100 back – 54.75
  • 200 back – 1:56.53
  • 200 free – 1:50.35

McCoy and Burckel both competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials Wave I meet in June. McCoy finished 4th in the women’s 200 back, while Duarte made the B final of the women’s 200 breast.

In addition to the trio of 5th years who will be returning to Washington State this season, the Cougars will also be regaining a number of swimmers who opted out of last season, including 2 school record holders. Lauren Burckel is one such swimmer, and fellow rising senior Keiana Fountaine is the other. Fountaine is the WSU record holder in the 200 free (1:46.14), and was the record holder in the 100 free (49.28), until Larson broke her record last season. Fountaine is also #8 all-time in the 50 free.

In October 2020, the NCAA granted all winter sport athletes the option to use an extra year of eligibility following complications from the COVID-19 pandemic. Under normal circumstances, Division I student-athletes have a 5-year window during which they can use up their four seasons of eligibility. However, given the current situation with COVID-19, student-athletes of all class years have been offered an additional season of eligibility, regardless of where they are in their 5-year window. For a detailed breakdown on what the stakes are surrounding a 5th-year decision in 2021, click here.

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1 year ago

Hoping to see WSU continue building momentum! The PNW needs some Pac 12 Swimming representation.