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Canadian runner-up Kesa Taivassalo moves to South Carolina

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Canadian swimmer Kesa Taivassallo has announced her verbal commitment to continue her swimming career and study at the University of South Carolina beginning in the fall of 2025. Taivassalo currently trains at the Markham Aquatic Club and attends Bill Crothers Secondary School in Markham, Ontario.

“I am super proud and excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue both my athletic and academic careers at the University of South Carolina! From the moment I stepped onto campus for my official speech, I was warmly welcomed by the team and the coaches were beyond supportive. Coach Jeff's vision for the future of the program is something I want to be a part of and I can't wait to see what the future holds. This is just the beginning!!”

Taivassalo posted a personal best of LCM 2:35.17 in the 200m breaststroke at the Speedo Canadian Championships last year, placing 2nd overall and 2nd nationally in the 15-16 age group. She was only Summer McIntoshthe world record holder in the 400 m individual medley, who achieved a time of 2:29.56. Taivassalo achieved a total of 15 personal bests between SCM and LCM in 2023.

This year, Taivassalo continued to improve, setting ten personal bests, including a notable performance at the Winter Ontario Championships (LCM), where she won the 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:33.16.

In comparison Laura Goettler has been a standout player for the Gamecocks this season, clocking 2:10.29 in the 200-meter breaststroke, a time that ranks her 5th in program history. Meanwhile, Delaney Franklin and in the second year of study Meaghan Harnish also made significant contributions: Franklin secured 2nd place in the 200 breaststroke for the University of South Carolina with a time of 2:12.31, closely followed by Harnish with her time of 2:13.57.

While Taivassalo's best SCY times date from 2022, her converted LCM times show a competitiveness comparable to that of the leading breaststroke swimmers at the University of South Carolina.

Best LCM times and SCY conversions

P/E SCY conversion
100 Breaststroke – 1:12.63 1:03.63
200 Breaststroke – 2:33.16 2:14.37
200 medley – 2:30.92 2:13.08

As Taivassalo prepares to enter the University of South Carolina, swimming has long been a shared passion in her family. Her older brother, Brayden Taivassaloswam this season as a freshman for the University of Texas, where he won gold in the 200m breaststroke (1:53.28) at the Big 12 Championships.

At the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, he won a silver medal in the LCM 200 breaststroke (2:10.89). In the same year, Brayden Taivassalo took 1st place in the LCM 50 breaststroke, 100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke in Canada in the 17-18 age group.

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