Kentucky Wildcats Get 2021 Verbals from Sprint Freestylers Michael Belair, Mac Russell

mac russell michael belair uk kentucky
Photo Courtesy: mac russell / michael belair

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NEW COMMITS: The University of Kentucky has picked up a pair of verbal commitments for the 2021-22 season and beyond from Frisco, Texas native Michael Belair and Mac Russell of Fort Thomas, Ky.

Both talented swimmers will join Jackson Mussler in Lexington as a member of the Wildcats’ class of 2025.

The Wildcats finished seventh overall in the team standings at the 2020 SEC Championships under head coach Lars Jorgensen. They also qualified five swimmers for the NCAA Championships – their most in a decade.


michael belair uk kentucky

Photo Courtesy: Michael Belair

Regarding his commitment, he said:

“I chose the University of Kentucky because of the quality of the academics, excellent coaching staff, and the welcoming and friendly atmosphere of the campus! I am looking forward to joining the Kentucky swim program because of the strong team culture, the coaches’ ability to develop swimmers, and the respect between the swimmers and coaches!”

A talented freestyler and backstroker, Belair does his club swimming with Metroplex Aquatics and most recently earned four best times at College Station Sectionals in March after placing 22nd in the 100 free at Juniors West in December. Last summer, he raced to seventh place in the 100m free at Des Moines Futures.

His best times include:

  • 50 free – 20.72
  • 100 free – 44.98
  • 200 free – 1:40.67
  • 100 back – 49.63
  • 200 back – 1:50.54

Also competing for John Paul II High School, Belair is the TAPPS state record-holder in both the 50 and 100 free. The USA Swimming Scholastic All-American also won those two events at the TAPPS Division I State Championships during his junior season.


mac russell uk kentucky

Photo Courtesy: David Russell

He told Swimming World:

“I’m so stoked to announce my verbal commitment to swim for the University of Kentucky! I would like to give a big thanks to God for guiding my heart and the amazing unconditional support of my family, friends, teammates, and coaches. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. It’s been a long journey, but it’s far from over. Time to begin a new chapter. Go cats! #BBN #FastCats”

Also a strong freestyler, Russell swims year-round with Cincinnati Marlins and finished second in the 50 free at the TYR Sport Winter meet in January. At that meet last year, he earned gold in the 100 free.

His best times include:

  • 50 free – 20.63
  • 100 free – 45.81
  • 200 free – 1:47.17

A rising senior at Fort Thomas Highlands High School, Russell is a four-time Kentucky State Championship finalist. The NISCA and USA Swimming Scholastic All-American won the 50 free and was the runner-up in the 100 free as a junior while taking fifth and fourth, respectively, in those events during his sophomore season.

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