Turkish 800 Free Record-Holder Mert Kilavuz Chooses Georgia Tech for Fall 2021

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Turkish national record-holder Mert Kilavuz has verbally committed to Georgia Tech’s class of 2025.

It is an honor to announce my verbal commitment to continue my athletic and academic career at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I’m thankful to my family, coaches, teachers and friends for all their support along the way. I can’t wait to be a Yellow Jacket and I am so excited to be part of this legendary family. GO JACKETS 🐝!

TOP TIMES (LCM/ SCY CONV.)

  • 200 free – 1:55.86 / 1:41.49
  • 400 free – 3:55.22 / 4:23.55
  • 800 free – 7:55.28 / 8:52.52
  • 1500 free – 15:20.64 / 15:02.58

Kilavuz, a pure distance specialist, is best in the 800 and 1500 free. At the 2020 Greek Winter Championships, Kilavuz swam his lifetime best 7:55.28 in the 800 free to set the Turkish national record. With his 7:48.70 in short course meters from the Turkish Nationals in December, Kilavuz holds the 800 free NR in both long and short course.

For context, that 7:55.28 would rank within the top 25 on the U.S. top performers all-time list, and Kilavuz ranks 13th in the world for the 2019-20 season with that swim, less than a second back of #12 Robert Finke.

At the 2019 European Junior Champs, Kilavuz placed seventh in the 1500 free and 10th in the 800 free. He also competed for Turkey at the 2019 World Junior Champs, placing 21st in the 1500 free, and in December he won Turkish National titles in both the 800 and 1500 free in LCM.

Georgia Tech had nobody under 4:20 in the 500 free last season, and Kilavuz would’ve been their best miler by over ten seconds last year with his converted best. With that converted time, he would’ve placed sixth at the 2020 ACC Champs in the 1650 free.

Kilavuz joins another Turkish National Team-er, Berke Saka, along with Brazil’s Leandro Odorici and Texas’s Antonio Romero in GT’s class of 2025.

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swimfan210_
6 months ago

Great pickup for GT! Looks like a lot of Turkish swimmers are going there, including Batur Unlu in their class of 2024.

Stewie
Reply to  swimfan210_
6 months ago

When your domestic recruiting is so low effort, you gotta go abroad.

Guy
Reply to  Stewie
6 months ago

I’ll never understand why they just let UGA take all the in-state talent. 5 kids in the Georgia 2021 class are going to UGA and only 1 is committed to tech.

Working Swim Mom
Reply to  Guy
6 months ago

Its a tough school to get into and to maintain eligibility. Not everyone wants to balance being an engineer with what it takes to be a Div 1 athlete.

Blackflag82
Reply to  Guy
6 months ago

For a lot of instate folks, UGA is the pinnacle…the football machine has been advertising to these kids since they were in diapers. Couple that with the ability to swim at a top tier program on the Hope scholarship (ie. not having to compete for the coveted athletic scholarships), and you’ve got kids who aren’t even considering any other schools

SWIMGUY12345
6 months ago

I’ve truly never understood the recruiting of GT. As I’ve commented on another article before, I don’t understand why they give their scholarships to foreign swimmers and almost refuse to give any sizeable scholarship to an ELITE in-state or out-of-state swimmer. It’s been this way since I was in high school (early 2010’s). Besides Andrew Kosic, I can’t remember the last time they had an elite domestic swimmer. I know there’s the HOPE scholarship (which was 90% tuition for a 3.0 GPA when I was in HS which apparently is now less) for in-state recruits, but their lack of recruiting their home state is mind-boggling. No disrespect to this kid and I hope he does well, but I have to… Read more »

Coach
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
6 months ago

Well, on collegeswimming.com, he’s currently ranked the #12 recruit in the class of 2021…but you know, I guess that’s just their opinion, man.

His 7:55 800 LCM is 22 seconds faster than the fastest in-state Georgia distance kid in the Class of 2021…

The way people lose their mind over international kids never fails to shock me.

GA Boy
Reply to  Coach
6 months ago

I don’t think that it’s that they like international’s that is so perplexing, it is their apparent distain for in state athletes that could come to their school for little to no cost.

Guy
Reply to  GA Boy
6 months ago

Zell Miller covers 100% of the tuition for in-state. I think Tech just doesn’t want to give any in-state kids opportunities.

Admin
Reply to  Guy
6 months ago

Is your implication that Georgia Tech has some kind of wanton hatred for in-state swimmers, even if they wouldn’t have to use any scholarship money to sign those swimmers?

That seems…unlikely to me.

GA Boy
Reply to  Braden Keith
6 months ago

, as crazy as it sounds, this is what I am saying. There was a freshman that attended GT this year that is less than 3 seconds off of ACC scoring time in the 400 IM and 2 in the 200 fly. He requested to walk on as a freshman and was told no, there are kids on scholarship in his class that he is faster than but was not allowed to walk on to the team even though he was already attending the school with Zell Miller. It is absolutely crazy.

SWIMGUY12345
Reply to  Coach
6 months ago

Didn’t realize he was class of 2021. My apologies.

Again my disdain is not toward international swimmers, but GT’s unwillingness to really go after their own states’ talent.

Blackflag82
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
6 months ago

I’m not sure it’s as cut and dry as GT not going after in-state talent. A lot of these kids live and swim in and around the Atlanta area. A lot of these same kids want to “go away” for college. So when you have the option of Athens 1.5 hours away (and the distance that comes from the family) or ATL, which might feel like their backyard, I think a lot choose UGA. Also, the UGA football machine has been advertising to these kids their whole life, so many have their heart set on Athens from elementary school. Plus the 2016 Olympic team had like 8 UGA swimmers on it (9 if you want to count Weir) – that’s… Read more »

Hmmm
6 months ago

That 200 free conversion ain’t right

GA Boy
Reply to  Hmmm
6 months ago

Yes it is.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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