World Junior Championships Gold Medalist Faith Knelson Lands at Vanderbilt

Canadian breaststroker and Pan American Games participant Faith Knelson, a former Arizona Wildcat, has committed to Vanderbilt University. Knelson indicated she will be starting in spring 2022.

“I am thrilled to announce I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at Vanderbilt University this spring,” Knelson wrote on Instagram. “Nashville, let’s go. Anchor down!

Knelson entered the NCAA transfer portal after one season with the University of Arizona program during the 2020-21 school year. Knelson declined to comment to SwimSwam on why she chose Vanderbilt.

TOP TIMES (Short Course Yards)

  • 100 breast – 1:00.60
  • 200 breast – 2:16.55

Knelson competed at one meet with the Wildcats during the 2020-21 season. She joined the team in fall 2020 after deferring the 2019-20 season to focus on making the 2020 Olympics before they were postponed. The 20-year old should have four years of eligibility remaining if she chooses, including the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA to all athletes who competed in the 2020-2021 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Knelson hit her breaststroke SCY bests at a meet in December 2020. In January, she took to Instagram to announce that she would be taking a medical redshirt for the remainder of the season due to a spinal injury, and that she’d also be missing the Canadian Olympic Trials.

For Team Canada, Knelson competed at high-profile meets like the 2017 World Junior Championships and the 2019 Pan American Games. She took silver medals in the 50m breast (30.91) and 100m breast (1:07.47) at World Juniors, and she followed that with a bronze at Pan Ams in the 100m breast (1:07.42).

Vanderbilt, which has only a women’s swimming program, competes in the SEC and finished 12th out of 12 teams at the 2021 SEC Championships — and the eight seasons prior. Knelson’s best time in the 100 breast is under the school record of 1:01.37, set by Lizzy Colwell in 2020. It took a 1:00.10 to make the A-final at the 2021 conference championships.

Vanderbilt’s head coach Jeremy Organ, who’s been with the school since 2006, is a native of Cranbrook, British Columbia. Knelson is also from British Columbia, though she hails from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island — about a 12 hour drive from Organ’s hometown.

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4 months ago

Maybe she feels college swimming is just not for her and focuses on academics, but who knows, her choice, not mine to critic, good luck.

Reply to  samulih
4 months ago

Yes, it’s a good /academic/ decision.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Armchair
4 months ago

It sounds like ladies wear pearls & angora fluffy jumpers. to class . Wonderful!

Last edited 4 months ago by Corn Pop
Reply to  samulih
4 months ago

I guess she must’ve seen the USNews college rankings that came out today, where Vanderbilt was ranked 14th–tied with WashU and Brown. Just like those other two school, Vandy is a great place to study literally anything. Best of luck to her!

Reply to  HJones
4 months ago

It is easy to fall in love with Vanderbilt and people there. I know I did.

4 months ago

Possible she’s focusing on school at Vanderbilt and training some with Nashville Aquatic Club?

Reply to  Hmm
4 months ago

Except that’s not how College Swimming works

4 months ago

Jeremy Organ is a coaching legend ever since he used to coach the Kimberley Seahorses!!

4 months ago

A return to form would be a huge bonus for Canada,s medley relay.

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
4 months ago

This is nice news for a change, rather than the inevitable “so-and-so is transferring to Texas men’s swimming.”

Braden Keith(@braden)
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
4 months ago

Vanderbilt started to show some progress last year, and this should be another bump. The bottom of the SEC got a whole lot tougher based on coaching changes, but Vanderbilt appears to be improving too.

Now they’ve got a few years’ window to really build on that and see if they can sustain it going forward.

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

Coach Jeremy is a great person and knowledgeable coach. Vandy is an amazing school in a wonderful city (Nashville). This may signal the start of an exciting chapter in Vanderbilt swimming and the SEC. Congratulations Faith!

4 months ago

Jeremy Organ is a great man and on hell of a good coach. I’ve always considered the Vanderbilt option a very under-rated one for swimmers that are also excellent and highly motivated students. Jeremy takes excellent care of all his student/athletes and they get faster and get a top notch education.

Tobi Adeyi
4 months ago

Great commit for Vandy! You can never go wrong with the Ivy League of the South, and with the addition of the new assistant coach, Chelsea, I feel like Vanderbilt is finally on the way up.

Last edited 4 months ago by Tobi Adeyi
her choice
4 months ago

this is someone who just wants to live in Nashville & is using the team to do that. Best of luck! But don’t see her ever returning to Canadian best to make those large national teams

M d e
Reply to  her choice
4 months ago

Given the state of Canadian breaststroke at the moment I wouldn’t write her off.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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