Kentucky Wildcats Add Another for 2023 From Junior National Qualifier Marie Belli

marie belli uk kentucky
Photo Courtesy: Marie Belli

NEW COMMIT: The University of Kentucky has brought in yet another verbal commitment for its Class of 2027, this time from Junior National qualifier Marie Belli of Columbus, Ohio.

She will join Lillie Boggs, Libby GretherMegan HutchinsElizabeth TiltCassie HowellPaige Housman and Madi McGlothen in Lexington at the start of the 2023-24 season.

Regarding her commitment, she said:

“I’m beyond excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Kentucky! I’m so thankful for all my friends, family and coaches that have helped me along the way! I can’t wait to be apart of such an amazing team! GO CATS!??”

Belli trains year-round with New Albany Aquatic Club and most recently posted five top-8 finishes at the MAKO Tim Myers Senior meet back in November. This past summer, she earned four best times at Richmond Futures where she placed 14th in the 100m breast and 20th in the 200m IM.

Currently a junior at Gahanna Lincoln High School, Belli placed eighth in the 200 IM at the 2021 Ohio DI State Championships. As a freshman, she finished third in the 200 IM and fifth in the 100 fly.

Her best times include:

  • 200 IM – 2:03.09
  • 400 IM – 4:27.68
  • 50 back – 26.79
  • 100 back – 56.71
  • 200 back – 2:01.50

The 2020-21 season was one of the history books for the UK women’s team, culminating with the Wildcats winning their first-ever SEC title with a program-record 1,124 points under head coach Lars Jorgensen. At the conference meet, the Wildcats collected 12 medals, including three gold, three silver, and six bronze, in addition to breaking five school records. The 4×200 free relay team also combined to give UK their second SEC relay title.

A school-record 14 UK women were invited to the 2021 NCAA Championships, besting the previous record of 10 and tying for the third-most swimmers invited that season behind Virginia and Florida. Those 14 Wildcats combined for 35 entries total, which was also a school record.

UK finished 11th with 152 points at NCAAs, marking their best team finish in school history as well as the most points scored, and also their fourth-straight year in the top-15. Kentucky collected 23 All-America honors – eight First Team and 15 Honorable Mention – yet another school record.

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