Kelsi Worrell became the first UofL swimmer to ever qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team.
Kelsi Worrell became the first UofL swimmer to ever qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team.

There are about 337,000 swimmers registered with USA Swimming, the National Governing Body for the sport in the United States. On Monday night, the University of Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell officially became the fastest female butterflyer out of all of them.

At the Olympic Swimming Trials this week in Omaha, Nebraska, Worrell pulled off a bit of an upset over Olympic veteran and 2012 gold medalist Dana Vollmer to win the 100 butterfly and punch her ticket to the Olympic Games in Rio in August. With her 100 butterfly victory, Worrell will also swim the third leg on the U.S. medley relay team.

She is the first Cardinal swimmer to ever qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team, and the second UofL athlete to represent the U.S. at these Games, along with now-WNBA player Angel McCoughtry.

During a press conference after Monday night’s swim, Worrell said, “I don’t know if everything’s really sunk in, but I’m really excited and I have this huge relief off my shoulders … I wasn’t expecting to touch first so that was emotional; a dream come true.”

Worrell will also swim the 200 butterfly, 50 and 100 freestyle during the Olympic Trials this week. She is ranked third, fifth and seventh, respectively, in those events.

Prior to securing her status as an Olympian, the Mt. Holly, New Jersey, native established a long list of swimming and academic accomplishments. For starters, she is a four-time NCAA champion, an NCAA record holder, ACC Swimmer of the Year, Pan Am gold medalist, Arena Pro Series gold medalist, Honda Spirit Award winner, and two-time ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The Olympics are Aug. 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Swimming starts Aug. 6 and runs through Aug. 13.

UofL had 34 swimmers qualify for the Olympic Trials and is also sending swimmers Grigory Tarasevich (Russia), Joao De Lucca (Brazil), Marcelo Acosta (El Salvador), Carlos Claverie (Venezuela) and Tanja Kylliainen (Finland) to Rio. According to, Cardinal swimmers Alina Kendzior (Estonia) and Andrea Kneppers (Netherlands) are “on the bubble.”

Get to know more about Kelsi Worrell below: 




Alicia Kelso
Alicia Kelso is the director of social media and digital content. She joined UofL in 2015 as director of communications at the Brandeis School of Law. She also serves as a senior contributor at, writing about the restaurant industry, which she has covered since 2010. Her work has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine.