5-Time All-American Sonnele Oeztuerk Will Transfer from Auburn

5-time CSCAA All-American swimmer Sonnele Oeztuerk has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal, indicating her intent to leave Auburn University. She will have 1 season of eligibility remaining.

Oeztuerk, who declined to comment on her reasons for leaving, confirmed the news to SwimSwam on Tuesday.

At the last NCAA National Championship meet in 2019, as a sophomore, she placed 6th in the 200 backstroke, and also swam on the school’s 15th-place 800 free relay.

She qualified for the NCAA Championships in all 3 of her seasons at Auburn, including a 14th-place finish in the 200 back as a freshman in 2018. That year she also swam on Auburn’s 800 free relay, which placed 15th as well.

In 2020, before the NCAA Championship meet was canceled, due to the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic, she was qualified as the 22nd seed in the 200 back for the NCAA Championships. She finished 8th in the 200 back at the SEC Championship meet in 1:53.49. That time was over a second slower than she was in that event at the SEC Championships as both a freshman and a sophomore.

Oeztuerk leaves Auburn ranked 2nd in program history in the 200 yard back behind only 7-time Olympic medalist Kirsty Coventry.

Brett Hawke was the program’s head coach during her freshman season, with Gary Taylor leading the way in the last 2 years.

Oeztuerk is back home in Germany, and is still working out her training situation there. She says that she hopes to return to the NCAA for the 2021-2022 college season.

In long course, Oeztuerk 5th all-time in Germany in the 200 backstroke with a best time of 2:09.98. That time, swum at the 2017 German Junior Championships, ranks her 3rd among all Germans since the 2016 Olympic Games.

Top Germans, 200 LCM Backstroke, Since 2016 Rio Olympics:

  1. Lisa Graf, 2017 German National Championships – 2:07.63
  2. Jenny Mensing, 2018 European Championships – 2:08.92
  3. Sonnele Oeztuerk, 2017 German Junior Championships – 2:09.98
  4. Nadine Laemmler, 2017 German National Championships – 2:10.39

All of the swimmers on that list are significantly older than Oeztuerk: Laemmler by 4 years, Graf by 6 years, and Mensing by 12 years.

With some of the toughest selection criteria in the world, the country didn’t have any entries in the 200 back at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships. It took 2:09.40, just half-a-second better than Oeztuerk’s best time, to make the final in Gwangju.

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21 days ago

I hear that there are quite a number of girls that have either left or will be leaving the program due to coaching issues. Not sure of the entire story there. Hate it for those kids though.

What goes around...
21 days ago

About time someone starts to catch on on what’s been going on at Auburn the last 6 weeks

Reply to  What goes around...
21 days ago

For us still outta the loop what’s going on?

What goes around...
Reply to  B1Guy!
21 days ago

Like Domino said, multiple females have left the team due to coaching issues. And issues with the racial injustice conversation within the team and coaches

Rick Ri
Reply to  What goes around...
21 days ago

This is just the start to the downfall of the Gary Taylor regime. Toxic environment

What goes around...
Reply to  Rick Ri
21 days ago

Such a toxic environment. Not fair on the athletes whatsoever. Hopefully they eventually get the college experience they deserve

Reply to  What goes around...
21 days ago

It has been going on way longer then 6 weeks! Gary Taylor created nothing but a toxic environment from the time he was hired. The things he has said to the young adults on this team would leave you with your mouth hanging open. Nothing but negativity and no regards for Auburn traditions.

What goes around...
Reply to  Swammer
21 days ago

I agree. 6 weeks ago was when the athletes started standing up for themselves. Somehow there wasn’t a mass exit last year, only a few. But now it’s happening

Reply to  What goes around...
21 days ago

what specifically did taylor do?

What goes around...
Reply to  swimmieeee
21 days ago

I think it’s time more people started asking the Athletics Department this question

Reply to  What goes around...
20 days ago

maybe you could answer the question instead of deflecting?

21 days ago

There is always two sides to a story. Gary Taylor is very honorable and has big aspirations for the team. Don’t forget swimmers are allowed to opt out due to covid. Also seasons may get cancelled which has driven seniors to focus on life beyond swimming.

Reply to  auswam
21 days ago

I agree. In all of my dealings with Gary Taylor, he has been very honest and professional.

Reply to  coach
21 days ago

It is important to keep in mind the above statements are opinions not facts. These comments are misleading and unfair, I don’t think Gary Taylor or Auburn can or will speak about this. I know for a fact the vast majority is happy to be there, and proud to represent Auburn. I only know of one swimmer transferring.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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