Moldovan Olympian Tatiana Salcutan moves to South Carolina from Louisville
Tatiana Salcutan, an Olympian from Moldova, is transferring to the University of South Carolina. She is leaving Louisville, where she swam with the Cardinals for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. Salcutan is a back specialist. She competed at the 2021 Olympics in the 100 and 200 meter backstroke, representing Moldova.
During his freshman year at Louisville, Salcutan competed for the Cardinals at the NCAA Championships in two events. She finished 20th in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:54.19 and 43rd in the 100 backstroke with a time of 53.56. At the 2022 NCAA Championships, she tied her 2021 time in the 100m backstroke (53.56), which put her in 53rd place. In the 200 backstroke, she finished 48th with a time of 1:56.68.
Salcutan’s personal best in the back 100 yards comes from the 2021 ACC Championships, where she posted a 53.44 and finished 14th. At that same meet, she swam the 200 m with a new personal best of 1:54.04, finishing sixth. About a year later, at Tennessee’s last chance meet in 2022, she lowered her best time by 0.07 seconds.
Best SCY times:
-100 back- 53.44
– 200 return 1:53.97
– 200 IM 2:03.20
At the 2021 Olympics, Salcutan competed in the 100 and 200 meter backstroke. In the 100m, she set a new personal best of 1:01.59 and placed 28th. Her previous record was a 1:01.64 which she set at the LEN European Aquatic Championships in May 2021. In the 200 backstroke, she clocked a 2:09.98 in the preliminaries finishing 11th and qualifying for the semi-finals. There she added 0.11 seconds to her morning time, going a 2:10.09 and remaining 11th. His previous record in this event was a 2:10.29 from the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju.
Salcutan has been one of Louisville’s top scorers over the past two seasons. In 2022, they sent 3 swimmers to the NCAA in the 200m backstroke. Sophomore Paige Hetrick placed 12th and Freshman Rye Ulett finished 16th. In the 100 backstroke, Hetrick and Salcutan were the only two entrants for Louisville, placing 43rd and 53rd respectively.
The University of South Carolina swim program is entering its second competitive season under head coach Jeff Poppel.
Salcutan’s transfer continues the trend Poppel is using at the start of his South Carolina rebuilding effort. Of the Gamecocks’ top 10 scorers in the SEC, 4 of them were new to the team with Poppel, either freshman recruits or transfers. Junior Nicholle Toh was in a very similar situation at Salcutan, moving to South Carolina last season after two years at the University of New Mexico. His best SEC finish was 16th in the 100 butterfly.
Salcutan will be a huge addition to the Gamecocks for the 2022-23 season. In 2022, South Carolina sent only two female athletes to the NCAA championships. Senior Mariana Kraus competed in the 200 freestyle and 200 backstroke, placing 33rd and 25th respectively. They also sent a diver, graduate student Brooke Schultz. At SEC, they finished 10th out of 12 teams. Salcutan has the potential to score valuable points for the Gamecocks, especially as they will miss Kraus.
Poppel is working on building his team, and it looks like Salcutan will be part of it. A variety of high profile recruits from the Class of 2022, including Amy Riordan, Claire Dafoe and Megan Mahloic, will also join the team in the fall. Interestingly, Claire Dafoe and Megan Mahloic had already signed up elsewhere before announcing their plans to swim for South Carolina. The Gamecocks have even begun building their class of 2027, with verbal commitments from Emily Fekete and Madelyn Yates.