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:
- Lisa Graf, 2017 German National Championships – 2:07.63
- Jenny Mensing, 2018 European Championships – 2:08.92
- Sonnele Oeztuerk, 2017 German Junior Championships – 2:09.98
- 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.