Levi Sandidge shines in swim and dive NCAA Championships


Kentucky swimmers compete in the Blue and White Meet on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, at the Lancaster Aquatic Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Ian Alvano, Reporter

Levi Sandidge stole the show at swim and dive NCAA Championships in Minneapolis over the weekend.

The Kentucky freshman earned First-Team All American honors for the 1650 freestyle.

Sandidge certainly had the numbers to back up the prestigious nomination. He finished the 1650 freestyle at 14:40.05, which was good for a sixth place result.

Sandidge’s place was the highest finish for a Kentucky swimmer in over 10 years.

The accomplishments only continued to pile on for Sandidge as the season went on. In February, he became the first UK male swimmer to win an SEC Championship in 17 years.

Sandidge’s time of 14:31.47 is the fastest mile in Kentucky history along with his 1000 split, which was recorded at 8:48.68.

A few other Wildcats made some noise at NCAA Championships as well.

Max Berg placed 29th in the 100 freestyle after posting a 42.47.

Fifth-year Mason Wilby concluded his Kentucky campaign with a 1:43.07 time in the 200 butterfly while finishing in 25th place in the event.

Also competing in the 200 butterfly was Freshman Ryan Merani. He finished in 38th place with a time of 1:44.82.

Nick Caruso swam in the early heats of the mile where he finished in 24th place. Caruso’s first NCAA championships was concluded with a 14:55.22 time.

Overall, the Wildcats had some positives to take back to Lexington, including this being the second consecutive year where a Kentucky swimmer has been named a First Team All-American.

Wilby started the trend last year when he placed eighth in the 200 butterfly. Fast forward to 2023, and the torch is passed to Sandidge.

As a team, Kentucky finished in 28th place at the NCAA Championships. The Wildcats ended the meet with 13 points – the most for the program since 2019.