An Unprecedented Four Alabama Swimmers Named to Men’s First Team CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large Team
An unprecedented four Alabama swimmers have been named to the CoSIDA Men’s Academic All-America At-Large Team it was announced Thursday while senior Anton McKee was named the At-Large Academic All-American of the Year for the second consecutive season.
“This is a truly amazing accomplishment,” UA Senior Associate Athletics Director for Student Services Jon Dever said. “It is extremely hard to earn a place on the at-large team, but to be the first school have four men earn the honor and have them all come from the same team is a feat of extraordinary proportion.”
Alabama is the first school in the history of the award to put four men on the at-large team in a single season. All four of the Crimson Tide’s honorees – McKee, senior Connor Oslin, senior Pavel Romanov and junior Luke Kaliszak - earned first-team honors. Alabama swimming and diving is also the first men’s team to have four Academic All-Americans in the same year. Alabama is also the first school, for either men or women, to have four student-athletes earn first team at-large honors in the same season.
“We are very proud of Anton, Connor, Pavel and Luke for everything they have accomplished while representing Alabama,” UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. “All four men have worked extremely hard to be the best they can be in the pool and the classroom and this latest honor is a testament to all they have done here. For Anton, Connor and Pavel it is a great cap to three amazing careers.”
Schools are only allowed to nominate four men for the at-large team. To be eligible for the Academic All-America ballot, student-athletes must be voted on to one of eight all-district teams. The at-large teams include the sports of fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, swimming & diving, tennis, water polo, volleyball and wrestling.
It is the third Academic All-America nod for McKee and Oslin, the second for Romanov and the first for Kaliszak. The Tide swimming and diving program has now earned 19 Academic All-America honors since 2005. This year also mark the sixth time since 2005 that two or more members of the swimming and diving team have earned the honor in the same year.
Oslin, the three-time SEC 100 backstroke champion, Kaliszak and Romanov were part of the Tide's 2016 NCAA champion 200 medley relay squad while McKee, the 2014 and 2017 SEC 200 breaststroke champion, was the 2017 NCAA 200 breaststroke runner-up. All four were key to Alabama's trio of top-10 NCAA team finishes from 2015-17.
Oslin, a native of Kennesaw, Ga., earned a 3.92 grade point average while earning his pre-med degree. McKee, a Hafnarfjörður, Iceland, native, earned a 4.0 GPA on the way to a degree in management information systems. Romanov, who hails from Moscow, Russia, also carries a 4.0 GPA while majoring in economics. Kaliszak, a native of Huntsville, Ala., carries a 3.93 GPA while majoring in human performance and exercise science.
Alabama also had two women – gymnasts Mackenzie Brannan and Keely McNeer – earn First Team Academic All-America honors, giving the Crimson Tide six honoree overall, the most in the nation this year. Over the last four years, the Tide’s men and women have earned at-large honors an NCAA-best 21 times with the next closest school tallying 13 honors.
To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.30 on a scale of 4.0, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his current institution.