Shortly after posting that Italian junior star Andrea D’Arrigo has been granted a release from the University of Virginia, Florida confirmed that D’Arrigo was a member of their NCAA roster and would swim for the Gators in the 2013-2014 season.
“We feel like he can be the best middle distance freshman in the entire country,” said Florida head coach Gregg Troy. “We are lucky to have him on the team.”
This is a huge boost to a Florida team that didn’t have much in the way of big-name freshmen pieces lined up for the fall of 2013, though it wouldn’t be the first time that the Gators brought in a surprise international recruit either prior to the start of the season or at the semester.
If D’Arrigo’s long course times convert into yards (which would include around a 1:35 in the 200 yard free), it would push the Gator men even further into the National Championship conversation for this coming season.
He won’t necessarily be needed on any relays immediately; the Florida men already won the 800 free relay NCAA Championship at last year’s meet, and returned all four members (Pawel Werner, Sebastien Rousseau, Marcin Cieslak, and Dan Wallace).
His best time in the 500 yard free, however, puts him within a second of scoring individually at NCAA’s, and his 1:48.9 in the 200 long course meter freestyle converts to a time that puts him only half-a-second from scoring there.
Florida didn’t graduate much off of their 2013 SEC Championship squad: only four swimmers total, and only two, Jason Taylor and Cameron Martin, who scored at NCAA’s. If D’Arrigo can replace their points, Florida should be a top 5 team at least in 2013. They finished 6th at last year’s NCAA Championship meet.
D’Arrigo, originally from Italy, went to High School in Gainesville and trained with the Gator Swim Club. He is in Dubai this week for the World Junior Championships.