Ultra Swimmer of the Month: Ilya Kharun

Ultra Swim Swimmer of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based swimmer who has proven themselves over the past month. As with any item of recognition, Swimmer of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one athlete whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a swimmer who was visibly outperforming other swimmers over the month, or one whose accomplishments slipped through the cracks among other high-profile swims. If your favorite athlete wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.

It was a busy month of racing for Arizona State, and despite coming out of winter training, the team performed incredibly well, led by star freshman Ilya Kharun.

Kharun has been on fire all season, but took things to a new level on Jan. 19 in a dual against Stanford, clocking 1:37.93 in the 200 fly to become just the fourth swimmer sub-1:38 in history.

Khaurn entered the meet with a lifetime best of 1:39.10, done at the midseason NC State Invite, and had also gone 1:39.31 in a dual with Utah in November, which altitude adjusted down to 1:38.11.

Now, after going 1:37.93 in January, he has Jack Conger‘s NCAA and U.S. Open Record of 1:37.35 clearly in his sights with Pac-12s and NCAAs on the horizon.

All-Time Performances, Men’s 200 Butterfly (SCY)

  1. Jack Conger (Texas), 1:37.35 – 2017 NCAA Championships
  2. Nicolas Albiero (Louisville), 1:37.92 – 2022 ACC Championships
  3. Ilya Kharun (Arizona State), 1:37.93 – 2024 Stanford vs ASU
  4. Joseph Schooling (Texas), 1:37.97 – 2016 NCAA Championships
  5. Jack Conger (Texas), 1:38.06 – 2016 NCAA Championships

In addition to his 200 fly swim against Stanford on Jan. 20, Kharun also produced two elite 44-mid swims in the 100 fly during the month, first clocking 44.72 against the Cardinal—taking 2nd to Andrei Minakov (44.16)—before touching in 44.54 for the win the following day against Cal.

Kharun, 18, also went 1:39.92 in the 200 fly against the Golden Bears, and early in the month, won the 50 free (19.45) and was the runner-up in the 100 free (42.64) against Grand Canyon.

This season, he ranks 3rd in the NCAA in the 100 fly (44.33) and sits 7th in the 50 free (18.93), both swims from the NC State Invite, in addition to his #1 ranking in the 200 fly.

He also produced three 19-point 50 fly relay splits during the month, going 19.60 against GCU, 19.35 against Stanford and 19.29 against Cal, the latter of which only a handful of swimmers have ever been faster than.

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4 months ago

Conger and Albeiro , the only swimmers ahead of Ilya on that list were 23 when they did those times.Ilya is 18 ,I,ll guess he has the record soon…..no?

Alex Wilson
Reply to  bob
4 months ago

Also Ilya was not tapered nor was Andrei as it was at a dual meet! PAC12s and NCAAs are going to be exciting as I am certain both will push each other at the next two meets.

4 months ago

Keep it up, Ilya!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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