Christmas came early for the Texas Longhorns men’s swim team, as after much deliberation, freestyle phenom Townley Haas has verbally committed to Eddie Reese’s squad. Haas, ranked #2 in the class of 2015, was the last of the SwimSwam top 20 recruits in the class of 2015, male or female, to announce his college decision, and is the last American likely to have an impact at the NCAA level as a freshman to publicly commit.
Haas is a rarified type of recruit who will immediately be an NCAA scoring threat at every distance from 50 yards to 1650 yards in the freestyle events, though it seems most likely that the 50 won’t be in his individual repertoire. Haas is one of the best all-around freestylers coming out of high school not only in his class, but in his generation.
In yards, Haas’ best times:
- 50 free – 20.41 (done last week)
- 100 free – 43.82
- 200 free – 1:35.19
- 500 free – 4:14.19
- 1000 free – 8:53.31
- 1650 free – 14:49.49
- 100 fly – 49.86
- 200 fly – 1:50.97
Haas, despite being on the younger end of the 17-18 age group, now ranks 24th all-time in the 200 free, 4th in the 500 free, 5th in the 1000 free, and 13th in the 1650 free.
And for all he’s done in yards, Haas has been even faster in long course, and seems to be on-track for a potential Olympic bid (leading many to speculate that part of the reason for his long decision-making period was toying with the idea of not participating in NCAA swimming until after the 2016 Olympic Trials).
Haas’ long course bests, and all-time 17-18 ranks by Americans:
- 50 free – 23.13 (t-46th)
- 100 free – 49.55 (8th)
- 200 free – 1:48.29 (3rd)
- 400 free – 3:52.01 (18th)
- 800 free – 8:00.99 (11th)
- 1500 free – 16:01.74
Haas joins a great Texas distance freestyle tradition that is heavy with a history of success, including names like Michael McBroom, Michael Klueh, Jackson Wilcox, and Matt Hooper. Haas’ best time would already rank him 5th, behind those 5 men, on Texas’ all-time rankings.
By the time Haas arrives in Austin, Clay Youngquist, Nick Munoz and Jake Ritter will be out of eligibility, but Haas will still have names like a season with Sam Lewis, a season with Matt Ellis, and the breakout sophomore sensation Clark Smith to train with across his wide range.
He’ll also most likely have some of the above as post-grads, plus Michael McBroom – the 2013 World Championships silver medalist in the 800 meter free, around. For a swimmer as good as Haas, it will take more than one swimmer to challenge him in practice across the freestyle distances, and the 2014 NCAA runners-up have the swimmers across that range to do so.
Haas, who swims for NOVA of Virginia and attends Benedictine High School, would have scored individually last year at NCAA’s in the 500 and 1650 frees. He’s a member of the USA Swimming Junior National Team and in long course is the defending USA Swimming Junior National Champion in the 100, 200, 400, and 800 meter freestyles.