2021 NCAA ‘B’ Finalist Susan LaGrand will return to Oakland for 5th year

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2021 200m backstroke NCAA ‘B’ finalist Susan the Great announced via Instagram that she will return to Oakland University to utilize her fifth year of COVID-19 eligibility.

Last season, LaGrand led the Oakland Grizzlies to another Horizon League Conference title. LaGrand went 3 for 3 in the individual event titles scoring a total of 60 points. There she won the 100 backstroke (53.88), 200 backstroke (1:53.93) and 200 IM (1:58.20). Notably, she was the only woman under the 2:00 mark in the 200 backstroke and 200 IM.

LaGrand went to the 2022 NCAAs where she swam in the 200 backstroke, 200 IM, and 100 backstroke prelims. She finished 26th in the 200 backstroke (1:53.87), 43rd in the 200 IM (1:57.84) and 46th in the 100 backstroke (53.08).

LaGrand also qualified for the NCAA in 2021. There she was highlighted by a 15th place finish in the 200 backstroke preliminary swim (1:53.48), earning her a berth in the finals. In the final, she swam in 1:54.13 to finish 16th and score a point for Oakland.

LaGrand’s collegiate progression

200 return 100 return 200 MI
High school 1:59.68 55.42 2:05.86
First-year student 1:56.74 54.68 2:04.41
Second year 1:56.27 53.75 1:58.22
Junior 1:53.48 53.38 1:57.61
Senior 1:53.87 53.08 1:57.84

As the chart above shows, LaGrand made huge leaps in each of his seasons in Oakland. LaGrand told SwimSwam that she will begin a master’s degree in public administration this summer while also applying to medical school. She also said that her motivation for returning for a fifth year is that “I still have efforts and ambitions to give to sport and I’m not ready to give them up yet. I am very lucky to be able to have the chance to do a 5th year in a place that I love.

LaGrand holds the Horizon League records in the 200 IM, 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke. She is also part of the relay conference records in the 200 medley, 400 medley and 800 medley freestyle.

Athletes were granted an additional year of eligibility due to COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 season. Many athletes have taken advantage of that extra year this season, and while the number is expected to drop over the next few years, it doesn’t seem to have happened as dramatically so far for next season.

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