UofL swimmers competing with world’s best these days

UofL’s Kelsi Worrell, Mallory Comerford and Coach Arthur Albiero discuss upcoming international competition (in top photo). Mallory (above) has been competing strongly against current Olympic champions (Photos by Charlie Springer).

One can’t attend a press conference involving University of Louisville swimmers without getting the impression that the program is on the verge of achieving some major milestones in the near future.

Coach Arthur Albiero, who is in his 14th season at UofL next year, is on his way to Budapest for the FINA World Championships July 15-30 as an assistant coach for Team USA. Accompanying him on that trip will be UofL sophomore Mallory Comerford and graduate Kelsi Worrell.

Coach Albiero was elated that his son Nick committed to swim for UofL and performed well in the Junior Nationals.

Comerford shocked the swimming world in June when she bested Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel in the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. National Championships.  Earlier this year, she tied Katie Ladecky, the vaunted Olympic gold medalist, in the 200 freestyle event for the NCAA individual title.

Worrell, of course, was a member of the 2016 USA Olympic Team and was awarded an Olympic gold medal as a member of the 4×100 meter medley relay team. She holds the American record in the 100-yard butterfly.

“I’m just really excited to be able to learn from the people on Team USA,” said Mallory. “There are so many incredible opportunities being able to race against the best people in the entire world. So crazy and so amazing to have that opportunity.”

“I’m grateful that Kelsi and Coach Albiero will be around during the world competition at Budapest. It’s helpful to have some familiar faces and to be able to share the experience with them.”

Zach Hartin and Andrea Cottrell are headed to Taipei, Taiwan.

Meanwhile, sophomore Zach Harting and senior Andrea Cottrell are preparing for the World University Games, scheduled Aug. 11-12 at Taipei, Taiwan. Harting will compete in the 100-meter butterfly, Cotrell in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Albiero’s son, Nick, a Christian Academy graduate who recently committed to UofL, became the 18 & Under US National Champion in the long course 100-meter butterfly in July in Indianapolis.

“We have a lot of fun outside the pool but we’re extremely focused and paying attention to detail when we practice and compete,” said Coach Albiero. “Our philosophy has been simple, we’re just trying to get a little bit better, each and every day.”

The UofL men’s and women’s teams ranked ninth and 10th, respectively, nationally during the 2016-17 season.

Kelsi Worrell finalist for Honda Award

Congratulations indeed to Kelsi Worrell, a University of Louisville swimmer, who has been named a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the 2016 Honda Cup. She was announced as the winner in the swimming and diving category over the weekend.

Worrell, a native of Mt. Holly N.J., is a nine-time All-American, the 2015 and 2016 ACC Swimmer of the Year and the 2016 ACC Championship Most Valuable Swimmer. At this year’s NCAA Championships, she captured the 100 butterfly, setting the American, NCAA and US Open records and won the 200 butterfly while setting a new NCAA Championship standard.

Louisville Swimming and Diving v UK“She has earned her success through her work ethic, team-first attitude, and a huge heart,” said UofL head coach Arthur Albiero. “During her four years as a swimmer at the University of Louisville, she has captured our imaginations and allowed us to dream bigger than ever as a program. Yet, in the midst of ACC records, NCAA Records, American Records, and even a World Record, she continues to embody the ‘humble and hungry’ approach that has impacted our swimming and diving program in all levels.

“Her success is also a validation of the support that Tom Jurich and our entire administration have put forth to create an environment where we are given to the tools to create world-class programs for student-athletes.”

The Honda award is presented by the Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards organization to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics.” The winner of the overall award will announced in June.