Male Athlete of the Year: Swimming’s Alex Evdokimov

For senior Alex Evdokimov, reaching NCAA nationals was the ultimate goal from the beginning of his Cornell swimming career. It was a goal he quickly achieved — three times.

In March, Evdokimov capped off an impressive collegiate career, earning first-team All-America honors in two events at the NCAA swimming and diving national championships in Minneapolis. Evdokimov was one of just four swimmers to earn All-America honors in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke, earning fourth place in the 100 and fifth in the 200.

In the 200 at this year’s NCAAs, Evdokimov swam a 1:52.36 to get into the top five, less than a tenth of a second slower than his previous best time. In the 100, he swam a 51.32, breaking his previous Ivy League record — Evdokimov holds the best and second-best times in Ivy League championship history in the 200.

Evdokimov made an immediate splash in his freshman season, only to miss the cutoff for nationals by a slim margin.

“I’ve wanted to go there ever since my freshman year when I barely missed the cutoff,” Evdokimov said. “Since then I’ve been able to go, and I’ve been trying to improve and have a good meet there, which only happened this year which I was very happy about.”

The four-time Ivy champion holds the Cornell program record in the 100 by more than two and a half seconds. Evdokimov was the first Cornellian to become a national finalist since Randy Sprout ’86 did it in the 50 free in 1986.

At home against Brown in January, the 200 medley relay team of Dylan Curtis, Jacob Mullin Jack Mahoney and Evdokimov posted a pool record 1:28.98. In the 2018 Ivy Championships, Evdokimov took first in the 200 breast, beating out the second-place finisher by more than three seconds.

While his senior season was a culmination of an impressive career, Evdokimov got off to a hot start right when he arrived at Cornell from his hometown of Coral Springs, Florida. He won the 100 and 200 breaststroke events at the Ivy League championships his freshman year before earning honorable mention All-American accolades in the 200 in his sophomore season and both the 100 and 200 as a junior.

While his national achievements define his swimming career, Evdokimov said his experiences at Ivy tournaments were some of his favorites.

“I’ve loved going to Ivies every single year because a lot of the team gets to go, so it’s a real team atmosphere,” he said. “Even though it’s such a demanding meet … everyone still gets to be there as a team.”

Last November, Evdokimov was honored with the 2017 Richie Moran Award, Cornell Athletics’ award for performance in and out of the sphere of sports.

“Although there have been a lot of separate achievements and awards, [this award] encompasses everything together,” Evdokimov told The Sun in November. “It’s not very typical to be honored across … different sports.”

After four years as a top performer for the Red, Evdokimov said he’ll miss the team environment most.

“[I’ll miss] how close everyone was to each other and the atmosphere — the training environment and hanging out with the same people that you see 20 hours a week on top of that,” he said.

As for what lies ahead for the standout swimmer, Evdokimov said he plans to train for the upcoming Olympic trials. “We’ll see what happens,” he said of the goal of reaching the Olympics.

Fresh off one of the most impressive swimming seasons in Cornell history, it’s a bit early for Evdokimov to look back at his legacy — but he knows it’s one that promises to be long-lasting.

“I was extremely happy with the season and just how my Cornell career turned out, and I’m hoping my name stays on the wall for a couple years,” Evdokimov said.

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