2018 German Open Champion Eric Friese to Join Florida Next Season

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German butterflier Eric Friese has verbally committed to the Florida Gators. He was a finalist at the 2017 World Junior Championships in the 100 fly, placing 6th, while he was the 2018 German Open champion in both the 50 fly and 100 fly.

Friese will join the Gators in August of 2019, so he’s a late addition to the class of 2023.

Proud to announce my verbal commitment to swim and study at the University of Florida. Thank you to my family, friends and everybody who supported me. Go Gators! 🐊



  • 50m free – 23.14
  • 100m free – 51.24
  • 50m fly – 23.95
  • 100m fly – 52.48
  • 200m free – 2:03.27


  • 50y free – 20.12
  • 100y free – 44.72
  • 50y fly – 20.94
  • 100y fly – 46.01
  • 200y fly – 1:48.53

Friese looks to be most impactful as a sprint butterflier, but he has potential in sprint freestyle, too. His butterfly speed is a huge plus for a Florida team that just saw Maxime Rooney transfer to Texas. Rooney went 44.99 to place 4th in the 100 fly at NCAAs, making him the 4th-best performer in the event in Gator program history. He was also 41.74 in the 100 free and 19.43 in the 50 free last season, leaving him 2nd and 6th on UF’s all-time rankings.

Erge Gezmis, the 4th-best 100 flyer on UF’s roster last year at 46.46 and 2nd-best 200 flyer behind Rooney (1:40.87 for Rooney, 1:41.87 for Gezmis), has also recently announced that he’s leaving the Gators, though his next destination is not yet known.

It took a 45.90 to qualify for the 2019 NCAA Champs in the 100 fly, so Friese is right on the bubble based on his converted times. At NCAAs, it took a 45.64 to qualify for the B final. Florida had freshman Kieran Smith swim fly on the 200 medley relay at NCAAs (20.62 split, 20.38 in prelims), while Rooney did so on the 400 medley (44.73, 44.32 in prelims).

At the SEC level, Friese’s converted times would’ve gotten him into the 100 fly A final. His fly times in long course are impressive (for a quick comparison, Rooney’s lifetime best in the 100m fly is a 52.28, not far ahead of Friese), and he looks like he’ll be an immediate contributor to the Gators and could take over as their medley butterflier.

Friese’s converted time in the 100 fly puts him right in line with Florida’s top swimmers in the event going into next season: rising sophomores Kacper Stokowski (45.72) and Will Davis (45.99).

Joining Friese in the UF class of 2023 are Brennan GravleyKevin VargasLucas KravchenkoNick Fox, and Tyler Watson.

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based on those fly times, I’m going to guess they’ll be able to make him a relay threat at least for the 50-200 frees


Looks like a small recruiting class for Florida compared to the last few years.

Speed Racer

Let’s see. Monster freshman class last year. Just a few graduating seniors opening up spots. First year under new rules with 2019 and 2020 being recruited in the same year. Maybe those factors are coming into play.


florida is going downhill change my mind


Florida is OK, what is going on with the rest of the SEC on the men’s side? Looks VERY weak in 2019-20


Last year Florida graduated one of the deadliest trios in ncaa history so of course they fell down the hill a little bit but with that considered they had a great season this year. They may be losing some of there stars but they still have depth and a lot of young talent. So I would say they are going uphill.


They’re not done.


you forgot Brendan Peacock in the class


Brendan is 2020

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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