Sarah Bacon, Emily Cook, Cameron Kelley Will Return to Minnesota for NCAA Extra Eligibility Year

Photo Courtesy: NCAA Media

Sarah Bacon, Emily Cook, Cameron Kelley Will Return to Minnesota for NCAA Extra Eligibility Year

University of Minnesota Swimming & Diving student-athletes Sarah Bacon, Emily Cook and Cameron Kelley have all announced they will be returning to the Gophers for the 2021-22 season. The trio are all exercising their option under NCAA guidelines to compete in an extra season of competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With all of the challenges provided last season to connect and come together as a team, we are incredibly fortunate to have these great Gophers and leaders come back for another season,” said Minnesota head coach Kelly Kremer. “Their leadership will be exceptionally valuable in pulling our team together.”
Sarah Bacon is coming off of her most productive season to date in 2020-21, where she claimed two national titles on the springboard at the 2021 NCAA Championships. Paired with her 2018 and 2019 NCAA titles on the one-meter, Bacon currently sits as the winningest student-athlete in program history, as well as the winningest-woman in Minnesota history in any sport.

In her four years as a Gopher, the Indianapolis, Ind. product has also accumulated two Big Ten Conference individual titles, eight All-American honors, a FINA Diving World Cup silver medal, Big Ten and NCAA diving records, two 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Finals berths and three Academic All-Big honors.

Since the 2021 title-winning performances, Sarah Bacon’s historic season has been well-rewarded, as she’s received all of the following honors and awards thus far over the offseason:

  • Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year
  • CSCAA Women’s Division I Diver of the Year
  • Big Ten Women’s Diver of the Year
  • HONDA Sport Award for Swimming & Diving
  • Minnesota’s Big Ten Medal of Honor

Cook will be entering her fourth year with the Gophers, having spent her freshman season at Washington State. In those four years, Cook has qualified for the NCAA Championships twice, with a pair of All-American accolades to show for it. Both came in 2019 as the backstroke leg of the 400 medley and 200 medley relay teams, which finished seventh (3:29.94) and eleventh (1:36.65), respectively.


Sarah Bacon. Photo Courtesy: NCAA Media

Her second NCAA bid came in 2020, before the Championships were ultimately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Portland, Ore. native was a force for the Gophers in the pool in her most recent season, specifically in her specialty, the backstroke. Over Minnesota’s two regular season meets, Cook earned a perfect six straight top-three finishes in her events, including three first place finishes between the 200 medley relay (2) and 100 back (1).

Capitalizing on that success, Cook would go on to become an ‘A’ finalist in the 100 back at the 2021 Big Ten Championships for the second time in her career, finishing seventh overall (53.14). Cook has also twice been named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten honoree for her efforts in the classroom.

Hailing from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kelley has proven his speed in the water on a number of occasions, the most recent coming at Wave I of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials when he notched a 19th place finish in the 400m freestyle.

Like Cook, and Sarah Bacon, Kelley has reached two Big Ten Championship ‘A’ finals over his career. The first came for the distance-freestylist in 2019, when he touched eighth overall in the 1650 free (15:07.86). He would then go on to reach the ‘A’ final in the 500 free in 2020, recording his career best finish at the meet in seventh (4:21.10).

The Gophers’ men’s and women’s programs will open their 2021-22 season separately, with the women taking on the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City, Iowa on Oct. 8. The men will then travel to West Lafayette, Ind. the following weekend to face off with the Purdue Boilermakers on Oct. 15.

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Minnesota Athletics. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact