With the 2016 Women’s Pac-12 Championships looming this week, one of the conference’s top teams is riding a major second-semester boost – the USC Trojans have welcomed back senior All-American Kendyl Stewart from a fall-semester redshirt.
Stewart sat out the fall semester in preparation for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials and the upcoming long course season. She was joined by Dylan Carter of the USC men’s team. At the time, it was unclear how long the Olympic redshirt period would last, and Stewart told SwimSwam she wasn’t “100% sure what [her] year” would look like.
“I’m enjoying some awesome focused training at USC and a lightened course load,” Stewart said at the time. “I see it as the perfect way to come off my first World Championships and prep for an exciting year. I’m entered in the Minnesota Arena pro series and beyond that, I’m not sure what meets I’ll be racing in.”
Heading into Pac-12s, though, it looks as though that year will include both the conference and NCAA championships for the senior, who is back on the roster and has competed for the Trojans in all of their second-semester dual meets. Carter, on the other hand, has not competed for USC this semester.
Stewart, third at last year’s NCAA Championships in the 100 fly, is a huge re-addition for the Trojan women, who are red-hot after beating defending national champs Cal last month. She’s another instance of a well-documented trend for USC of having top-flight swimmers sit out the fall semester before returning to compete at Pac-12s and NCAAs. This season along, USC did so with 5 potential NCAA qualifiers: Stewart, Ralf Tribuntsov, Alex Valente, Carsten Vissering and Patrick Mulcare.
In just two months of racing, Stewart has already put up times of 51.83 in the 100 fly and 53.64 in the 100 back.