Taylor Abbott, the #13 overall recruit in the class of 2016, has verbally committed to the Tennessee Volunteers.
Abbott was a member of the U.S. team for the 2015 World Junior Championships team that traveled to Singapore to compete against the best 18 & under swimmers in the world. He wound up at the top of the U.S. National Junior Team in the 1500 free as a result of his participation at that meet, where he earned a silver medal by placing half-a-second behind Brazilian Brandonn Almeida in 15:16.35.
Abbott’s Best Pool Times in Yards:
- 200 free – 1:41.16
- 500 free – 4:24.48
- 1000 free – 9:03.63
- 1650 free – 15:01.46
Those times all came at last winter’s Junior Nationals when Abbott was only 16, making him the 8th-best 15-16 in American history in the 1650.
That’s not even the full extend of why he’s an exciting addition for Tennessee, however. Abbott didn’t swim high school after his sophomore year (he focused on his club training with Nitro in Austin), leaving most of his focus in long course and the longest course: open water. Besides the 1500 meter free, Abbott is also a member of the U.S. National Junior Team in the 10km open water race and traveled in 2014 to compete in the inaugural World Junior Open Water Swimming World Championships, where he came away with gold in the youth boys’ 5km event.
At Tennessee, Abbott will join 2012 U.S. Olympian Alex Meyer (who’s a pro) as part of a growing distance hub led by Tyler Fenwick – one of the top open water coaches in the world. While open water isn’t an NCAA event, Tennessee still provides one of the best collegiate atmosphere for distance specialists both in the pool and in water not bound by lane ropes.
Expect Abbott to qualify for NCAA’s in the 500 and 1650 freestyles as a freshman at least, with national championship scoring in both races well within reach as well if he puts a full-blown season and taper into short course swimming.