All-American Nicholas Caldwell Transferring to Wisconsin Next Season

Former University of Florida swimmer Nicholas Caldwell has committed to Whitney Hite and the Wisconsin Badgers, marking a new chapter in the career of one of the best distance age group swimmers of the last decade.

“I think Whitney’s got a really good plan and a really good group moving forward and I’m really excited to get back into a college environment,” Caldwell said of the decision.

Hite, a former Frank Busch assistant at Arizona, is one of the hottest coaches in the country right now after leading sophomore Drew Teduits to the NCAA titles in the 200 backstroke: the program’s first event title in over 50 years. Teduits didn’t even qualify for NCAA’s the year before.

Caldwell left the Florida program in November of 2012: midway through his sophomore season with the Gators. He battled a lot of injury in his year-plus under Gregg Troy, but still managed to earn a First-Team All-American honor as part of Florida’s 800 free relay at the 2012 NCAA Championships. If he can get back to the incredible times he put up in high school (4:17 in the 500 free, 15:05 in the mile, 3:49 in the 400 IM, 49 in the 100 fly) he should be an immediate impact-maker for the Badgers.

Wisconsin has had some really impressive individual swimmers early in Hite’s tenure, including the aforementioned Teduits, Mike Weiss, and Daniel Lester. They only have 22 guys on their 2012-2013 roster, though, so they really need to puff up their depth to get relay scorers, and place higher at meets like the Big Ten Championships to continue building recruiting momentum. Hite has brought in an unbelievable recruiting class for his men’s team, including two of the best out of the state of Texas Cannon Clifton and Brett Pinfold.

Caldwell comes from the impressive distance tradition at Sarasota that continues to grow year-after-year. That includes winning four of the six distance titles at this weekend’s YMCA Short Course National Championships.

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WHOKNOWS
8 years ago

Hite was also McKeever’s assistant at Cal before taking the job at U of Washington.

Geoff Mykleby
8 years ago

Great addition to an up and coming program. It is good to see a kid from a great age group
program like Sarasota Y come to a solid school like UNIV of WISCONSIN
Congrats Nicholas on a very smart decision!!!!

ReeceStyles
8 years ago

Sweet!!! Now the hole left from Michael Weiss won’t be as severe! That program is on the rise! Does anyone know whether nick will be considered a sophomore or a junior in the fall?

John
8 years ago

Does he know how cold it is in Wisconsin?

liquidassets
Reply to  John
8 years ago

lol I thought of that too, John, but I do have some Floridian friends who got tired after a life of being sunbaked and thrived in northern winters (not me, I eventually went the opposite route!). Interesting choice and I hope he thrives too. Btw, I was racking my brains during NCAAs and wondering why I hadn’t heard of Teduits; now I know. From non-qualifier the year before to NCAA champ; that’s quite a trajectory. Has it ever happened before? Quite a testament to both swimmer and coach.

Josh
Reply to  liquidassets
8 years ago

Yes, and interestingly enough, the precedent was set on the team Nick transferred from. Conor Dwyer was NCAA Swimmer of the Year his junior year after transferring from Iowa to Florida and winning both the 200 and 500 freestyles, having never even previously qualified for NCAAs.

John Sampson
Reply to  Braden Keith
8 years ago

Wasn’t last year a weird year where they invited very few swimmers in the first place? Cause if I remember correctly TeDuits was in the top 30 and by all means should have been invited however they took so few people that he didn’t. I think he was 1:43 last year; but a 5 second drop is nothing to overlook and is still veeery impressive.

Reply to  Braden Keith
8 years ago

John:

You’re correct — last year the cut line was really tight, and teDuits missed by under a tenth of a second in the 2Back, if memory serves correctly. Good article here about how that near-miss served as motivation for this year:
http://host.madison.com/sports/columnists/andy_baggot/andy-baggot-badgers-swimming-champ-awash-in-emotion/article_de9a01ae-9be8-11e2-b5be-001a4bcf887a.html

CraigH
8 years ago

I guess he couldn’t handle the “intensity of the Florida program.” He decided to get out of the fire and dive into the snow.

http://swimswam.com/forged-by-fire-what-i-learned-swimming-for-gregg-troy/

BringDaRuckus
8 years ago

Yeah, he got out of the fire alright. He’s been in that type of program for most of his life. I’ll say this too – Nick Caldwell always looks everybody right in the eye.

Icantpickem
8 years ago

I am both happy and sad to see this news. I have watched Nick swim for many years as a fan and father of a competitor in the same state. My son is a couple years younger.

I was saddened to hear that he left the sport. I thought he was going to be another Troy tragedy but he has been able to find another program. So I am happy that he has found Wisconsin. However, since my kid is headed to another Big 10 program next year, I am sad he has to compete against him again. I am sure he will regain his form.

The kid is a machine and always has been. I became a… Read more »

Another Coach
8 years ago

There are a lot of people in and around Florida who have seen how Nick handles himself- and we are rooting for him. This guy has much more to accomplish in the sport. F’em Bucky!

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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