Tokyo 2020 Olympian Aimee Canny Commits To Virginia

by Matthew Harder 21

September 30th, 2021 ACC, College Recruiting, News

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South African Aimee Canny has committed to the University of Virginia for the fall of 2022. Canny had the opportunity to represent her home nation at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and primarily focuses on the sprint freestyle events.

17 year-old Canny represented South Africa at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, competing in their 4×200 freestyle relay. South Africa finished 11th overall in prelims (8:01.56), which was a new national and African record. She led off their relay in 1:58.41, which was a personal best time. For reference, the FINA “A” time that qualified athletes for the 2020 Olympic Games was a 1:57.28.

Canny has also represented SA internationally at the 2019 Jr. World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. At the national level, she competed at the 2020 South Africa National Championships (SCM), winning a total of 4 medals: gold in the 200 free (1:56.78) and 100 IM (1:00.31), silver in the 100 free (54.27), and bronze in the 400 free (4:09.90).

Canny lives in South Africa, so she doesn’t have any official Short Course Yards (SCY) times. Her best times include:

  • 50 free (LCM) – 25.29
  • 100 free (LCM) – 54.87
  • 200 free (LCM) – 1:58.41
  • 200 IM (SCM) – 2:13.84

Since Canny has no yards data, we’ve converted her best meters times to yards times.

  • 50 yard free – 22.08 (converted from LCM)
  • 100 yard free – 47.99 (converted from LCM)
  • 200 yard free – 1:43.79 (converted from LCM)
  • 200 yard IM – 2:00.57 (converted from SCM)

Canny’s experience in the 200 free will help ease the loss of graduated seniors Paige Madden (1:42.35) and Kyla Valls (1:44.48). Virginia had 3 women score in the 200 free at the 2021 NCAA Championships, which included Madden’s win, amassing 38 points from the event.

Virginia won the women’s 800 free relay at the 2021 NCAA Championships, which featured both Madden and Valls. Based on her projected yards times, she’ll certainly be in contention for one of those two open spots. In the individual event, she would’ve placed 4th overall as a freshman. She’ll join a great group of young 200 freestylers which includes Ella Nelson and USA Olympian Alex Walsh.

Canny’s generated 50 free time would’ve just missed the A-Final at NCAA’s (9th), but her 100 free would’ve gotten her 8th overall. In addition, she certainly would’ve been utilized on Virginia’s 400 free relay, which was anchored in 48.08 and ended up placing 2nd overall.

The University of Virginia won the 2021 NCAA Championships, which was their first team title in school history. The Cavaliers are led by head coach Todd Desorbo, who took over the program in 2017. Desorbo was selected as an assistant coach for Team USA at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as he placed 3 athletes on the team: Paige Madden (400 free, 4×200 free relay – Silver), Alex Walsh (200 IM – Silver), and Kate Douglass (200 IM, Bronze). All three athletes won medals at the Olympics and individual NCAA titles during the 2021 run.

Virginia has a loaded incoming class, claiming 3 of the top female recruits in the high school class of 2022. Claire Tuggle, Carly Novelline, and Emma Weber will all bring national or international experience with them to Charlottesville. Other top recruits, such as Zoe Skirboll, Sophia Knapp, and Madeline Smith will add an immense amount of depth to the Cavalier’s roster.

If Virginia can claim the #1 recruit and USA Olympian Claire Curzan, they’ll have nearly solidified the #1 recruiting class.


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17 days ago

This is a major pick-up. Welcome to the Cavalier family, Aimee!

17 days ago

1:58 to 1:43 seems kinda sketchy

Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
Reply to  coachymccoachface
17 days ago

it’s natural for high schoolers drop a lot of time


I meant the conversion. 1:43 seems faster than 1:58, no?

Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
Reply to  coachymccoachface
17 days ago

Whoops I did not read the article thoroughly

Reply to  coachymccoachface
17 days ago

Seems pretty on point to me. Comerford was 1:40.1 and 1:56.9 the same year. Simone’s bests are 1:40.3 and 1:56.0. Madden was way on the other side of the spectrum with a 1:55 split this year after going 1:42 to win NCs. Huske was 1:43.2 & 1:58.0 this year.


It’s a straight conversion – not a projection of future times.

Reply to  coachymccoachface
17 days ago

Conversions are always sketchy. Madden was 1:42 at NCAAs this year and was 1:56 at Trials, so I wouldn’t say its too far off, assuming she can translate her skills to SCY.

Reply to  Huh
17 days ago

Yeah I could be wrong. The more I think about it, its probably close

Reply to  coachymccoachface
17 days ago

1:58.4 is pretty darn fast – and a 1:43-high conversion seems spot-on. Only 8 women went faster than 1:58.4 at US Trials in June. And I think the women in that range are cracking 1:44.

BTW – 54.8 100 LC time caught my eye even more — she could make an relay impact, which is not easy to do at UVA where a :48 is going leave you on the sidelines

Reply to  coachymccoachface
17 days ago

No conversion is perfect. However, some data points:

Paige madden: 1:56.44 LCM to 1:42.35 SCY
Talia Bates: 1:59.97 LCM to 1:43.28 SCY
Kelly Pash: 1:59.58 to 1:42.70
Chloe Stepanek: 1:59.79 to 1:42.89
Alex Walsh: 2:00.87 to 1:43.61

Those were the top 5 women from NCAAs last year.

So if anything, the data indicates that it’s overly-conservative, but within the realm of reason – especially as someone who grew up in a country that emphasized more LCM than SCY.

17 days ago

“If Virginia can claim the #1 recruit and USA Olympian Claire Curzan, they’ll have nearly solidified the #1 recruiting class.” Who’s in contention?

Reply to  Monteswim
17 days ago

Hoo’s in contention👀

17 days ago

I think UVA will run into the same predicament as UT – multiple NCAA qualifiers will not be able to go to the meet.

Reply to  noWay
17 days ago

Not that deep yet. But getting close.

hot take predictions
17 days ago

HOOS!!!! let’s go! can’t wait to watch the s’women this year

17 days ago

She a chunk o Hoo for sure!

17 days ago

Aimee, Welcome to the Hoos! Wonderful choice.

Big Shout from small Singapore
16 days ago

That’s a great program !
Big shout out to Coach Francois Boshoff ! What a tremendous job you’ve done with Aimee !
A Canny Cavalier ! Go Hoos !