Senior swimmer Anna Kalandadze is a shoe-in for Women's Athlete of the Year, but you could even argue she’s worthy of Ivy League Women's Athlete of the Year with her performances this season.
Kalandadze's 2022-23 season culminated in immense fashion, notching two individual Ivy titles in the 500- and 1650-yard freestyle. In the 1650 free specifically, the Ardmore, Pa. native broke the Ivy League record in the event with a time of 15:53.88, which marked the eighth-fastest this year in the 1650 free, while her time of 4:38.86 in the 500 free puts her at 16th.
Though her times were a bit slower at NCAA Championships, she still finished tenth in the 1650 free, and a 25th-place finish in the 500 free. In the former, Kalandadze’s time was good enough to earn her All-American honors.
Last year, she went to NCAA Championships for the same events but finished worse in each, with a 42nd-place mark in the 1650 free and a 49th-place mark in the 500 free. Kalandadze attributed this improvement to a renewed mindset this season.
“My approach to the sport definitely changed this year,” she told The Daily Pennsylvanian in March. “I started looking at it as more of a fun thing to do instead of putting all this pressure on myself to do really well all the time.”
Kalandadze originally swam at the University of California-Berkeley, but after a bad experience with a verbally abusive coach, she looked to transfer elsewhere and talked with Penn swimming and diving coach Mike Schnur. “Just by talking with Mike Schnur over the phone, I could tell that this was a place that I really fit in,” she told the DP in December. “I thought that I would be happy here.”
If her results this season are any indication, Kalandadze has been plenty happy at Penn.
Read about the rest of DP Sports' End of the Year Awards for the 2022-23 season here.