2021 NCAA Qualifier Ethan Heasley Enters Transfer Portal After Retiring in the Fall

Two more Texas Longhorns have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal. Ethan Heasley and Matthew Tannenberger, neither of whom competed for the Longhorns last season, are both now in the portal.

Heasley’s Return

Heasley was part of a group of at least five Longhorns that left the program last season. The former #6 recruit and Junior Pan Pacs medalist announced his retirement in the fall, saying that he had been “struggling mentally, physically, and emotionally with the sport for some time and my continual decline in performance as well as struggle to stay healthy made matters even harder.”

“I realized it was time to prioritize my mental well-being and relationships.”

After some time away, though, Heasley is now in the NCAA Transfer Portal, allowing him the opportunity to talk to other programs about a transfer. He says that for now, he’s just exploring his options.

As a sophomore in 2021, Heasley was seeded to score in both the mile and 400 IM at the NCAA Championships. The Longhorns were over the maximum allowed 18 roster slots, though, and Heasley was one of three swimmers who were dropped from the nationals squad.

The Hillsboro, Oregon native was part of the 2018 Junior Pan Pacs team, and earned his bronze medal in 3:53.81 behind Ross Dant and Brendon Smith. He also finished ninth in the 400 IM and 11th in the 200 freestyle.

As a high school senior swimming for Hillsboro HEAT, Heasley won three events at the Oregon Senior Championships: the 200 freestyle, 200 butterfly, and 200 IM.

For his accomplishments outside of the pool, Heasley was named to the 2021-2022 CSCAA Scholar All-American Second Team and the Academic All-Big 12 First Team. His freshman year, he was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team. He’s also a four-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Best Times in Yards:

  • 500 free – 4:16.06
  • 1000 free – 8:50.51
  • 1650 free – 14:48.10
  • 200 fly – 1:42.90
  • 200 IM – 1:47.87
  • 400 IM – 3:43.35

He is the second Longhorn to retire and then consider a return to the pool this spring. Anthony Grimm, the former #1 ranked recruit, will transfer to Virginia in the fall.

Tannenberger

Tannenberger last competed for the Longhorns at the 2021 Big 12 Championships. As a high school senior at The Woodlands High School near Houston, he was the Texas 6A State Champion in the 200 free (1:37.14) and 500 free (4:21.64).

In spite of entering the transfer portal, he tells SwimSwam that he is thinking about ending his competitive career.

“I realized after I did it that I had much more potential in my academics and my future business career than my swimming after 2 shoulder surgeries,” he said. “I will probably not transfer.”

Tannenberger is enrolled in the highly-regarded McCombs business school at Texas.

At those freshman Big 12s, he was left off the team’s scoring roster, though he swam best times in the 200 free (1:36.30), 500 free (4:18.57), and 1650 free (14:58.94).

While Tannenberger hasn’t competed for the Longhorns since then, he has continued to race. That includes at the 2021 US Olympic Team Trials (Wave I), where he was 10th in the 400 meter free in 3:58.24.

He raced at Sectionals in March in College Station, finishing as high as 3rd in the 200 free (1:37.14).

Best Times in Yards:

  • 50 free – 20.88
  • 100 free – 44.33
  • 200 free – 1:35.68
  • 500 free – 4:18.57
  • 1000 free – 9:02.13 (split on a mile)
  • 1650 free – 14:58.94

The Texas men finished 3rd at the 2023 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. That was the first time they placed outside of the top 2 since 2013.

Entering the NCAA Transfer Portal does not require an athlete to transfer; rather, it gives them the opportunity to talk to other schools about the possibility of transferring.

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Snarky
10 months ago

Hopefully he goes somewhere where he is appreciated and the coach notices he’s at practice.

Owlmando
10 months ago

It would be cool if swimmers who are cut due to team limit could still come and swim unattached. as a fan i think id enjoy the potential drama of those swimmers rising to the occasion and taking points from possibly their own team 👀 and it gives them a chance to demonstrate what they’ve built to all season

oxyswim
Reply to  Owlmando
10 months ago

NCAAs is the one setting where the team race is more important to the best athletes there then what’s going on individually. Athletes at Texas the last few years or NC State knew that they were going to loaded trans that had a chance to be a big part of that race, but there’s some risk in that as well. They don’t get to have it both ways.

Even picking a school like IU and you won’t have to worry about butting up against that roster limit but you can still fight for a trophy.

Owlmando
Reply to  oxyswim
10 months ago

I understand they’re aware of what they’re signing up for but as a fan I’m just saying I’d find that element interesting if it were ever introduced.

I think swimmers who struggle mentally and are on the cusp just might show up if given a chance to. And its another dynamic to breakdown after the meet

Foreign Embassy
10 months ago

If he’s from Oregon, maybe he is considering cal or asu now. Could prob get full ride at USC too if willing to take the chance.

Andrew
10 months ago

Send him to Coley Stickels LOL

Andrew
10 months ago

He should go to Florida, a truly great place to cultivate and cherish one’s mental health

Entgegen
10 months ago

At those freshman Big 12s, he was left off the team’s scoring roster, though he swam best times in the 200 free (1:36.30), 500 free (4:18.57), and 1650 free (14:58.94).

While Tannenberger hasn’t competed for the Longhorns since then, he has continued to race. That includes at the 2021 US Olympic Team Trials (Wave I), where he was 10th in the 400 meter free in 3:58.24.

Now that is some depth…

Chachi
Reply to  Entgegen
10 months ago

Are you new to SwimSwam, or to the depth of the Texas team?

Swim Fanatic
10 months ago

Potentially headed to Dallas w SMU…🤔

Dmswim
10 months ago

“The Texas men finished 3rd at the 2023 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. That was the first time they placed outside of the top 3 since 2013.”
If they got third, wouldn’t they be inside of the top 3, not outside?

TXSWIMDAD
Reply to  Dmswim
10 months ago

right a typo: first time outside of the top 2

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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