19.6/44.3 Sprinter Jack Blake Retires from Swimming, Will Stay at Alabama

Jack Blake, a junior at the University of Alabama, has retired from the sport after two full seasons with the Crimson Tide citing personal reasons.


  • 50y free – 19.67
  • 100y free – 44.34
  • 200y free – 1:39.15

Blake came to Alabama in the fall of 2017 from Phoenix, Arizona, where he trained with Scottsdale Aquatic Club and attended Brophy College Prep. He won Arizona HS D1 titles in the 50 free and 100 free as a senior in fall 2016, helping Brophy to the program’s 29th-straight state title (they just secured #32 in November).

At Alabama, Blake competed at the 2018 SEC Championships as a freshman but did not score. He’d make improvements in his sophomore year, where at the 2019 SEC Championships he posted a 19.67 to take 13th in the 50 free, scoring 14 points.

His biggest impact came in the 200 free relay, where he split 19.08 on the third leg as Alabama won the 2019 SEC title in 1:15.43. He didn’t go to NCAAs, but his SEC split was a touch quicker than his NCAA replacement Jonathan Berneburg was at the big meet (19.15). Alabama placed sixth at the national meet as a team.

Blake raced at the first two meets of this season, his junior year, and has since retired. He was second in the 50 free (21.47) against Delta State in September and then was fourth in the same event (20.91) against Georgia in October.

With Blake no longer in the picture, ‘Bama still has three sprinters who have been under 20 seconds in the 50 free this season: Zane Waddell (19.15), Tyler Sesvold (19.65) and Berneburg (19.82). Meanwhile, Sam Disette has been 20.29, and he split 18.93 at 2019 SECs and 18.97 at 2019 NCAAs.

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Far from the only one. Lots of roster changes at Bama– surprised this is just coming to light now. Being going on for months….more than the roster on their site reflects

Stan Crump

Because of the new coaching staff?


Can we get a list? Roster only suggests 4 dudes but it seems like 10

Mickey mouse



Why’d he retire?

Coach John

Personal reasons


A nice way of saying Coley


Not true yet again. Nothing to do with Coley.


Now that’s for sure wrong


@DUH Funny how Jack has not come out and said anything. He’s retired and has no fear of retribution. If you really know something come out with it or mind your own business.

Bama Source

In fairness, I don’t know why Jack quit and whether it does or doesn’t have to do with Coley. However, pretending Coley has no leverage on him is foolish. Leaving the team doesn’t destroy the friendships Jack has with the swimmers still on it; Coley could punish Jack by punishing them if he wished. This wouldn’t be out of line with other behavior he’s reportedly exhibited (i.e. NAC swimmers being threatened with blacklisting due to the actions of an alum 6+ years their senior). Coley has leverage on everyone even tangentially related to the team. Jack may just feel opening his mouth would put his friends at risk more than it would benefit him.


Examples man.


Do you know this for a fact? Did Jack personally state this to you? Or is this conjecture to start trouble?

Michael Blake

I can take this one. Jack is my son. You may want to look at the negatives and positives that follow each post. They are indicative of reality. Thanks to those who offered support to Jack, some of whom don’t even know him. Our goal was to have our son go through college and flourish. That he is doing. Swimming was at the forefront but was always secondary to his degree. Thanks to those who didn’t attack my son. He is a great student-athlete, he loves the sport, and he was a great teammate. We did not foresee this premature ending to his career, but we are all pragmatic about it as a family. Each thing is just one thing… Read more »


Best of luck – time to focus on that mechanical engineering degree (per the roster).

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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