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.