The Auburn men were another late-starter in the 2012 recruiting game, like we saw with the Texas men, for example, but they two have come home with some big verbal commitments.
The first is Jordan Jones out of Kingwood, Texas. We discussed when Jillian Vitarius made her commitment to the women’s program that Auburn might be a good fit for Jones as well, who is her high school teammate and travel partner for the NCSA trip to Japan a few weeks ago. It look like that came to fruition, and the best male and female swimmer out of that powerful program will both be headed East down I-10.
Jones is a very strong middle-distance freestyler and IM’er (with a focus on breaststroke) who will fit into the new direction of the Auburn program that has renewed focus on the 200+ races the past year or so. His freestyle bests are 1:39.2 and 4:24.5, the latter of which he’s the defending Texas state champion in.
The 400 IM, however, is where he could be really spectacular. He’s the best in the class with a 3:48.12 from NCSA Junior Nationals in March in the 400. That would’ve been top-25 at NCAA’s last year. He also goes a 1:49.9 in the 200 IM. In the breaststroke races, he goes 56.06 (Texas State champ there too) and 2:02.3. Best guess is that his NCAA schedule will include the 500 free, 400 IM, and 200 breast, with the hope of him possibly emerging as the team’s medley breaststroker.
The other big verbal is Alexander Hancock out of a rapidly improving, though dramatically tumultuous, New Zealand Swimming program. He was the 2011 Youth Commonwealth champion in the 200 fly and took bronzes in the 50 and 100, and it’s those butterfly races where he’ll be a star (and fill a big area of need for the Tigers, at that).
At the Youth Commonwealth Games, swum in a 25-meter course, he had bests of 53.5 in the 100 fly and 1:58.5 in the 200 fly. Those translate to 47.8 and 1:46.1, which are among the best in the class if they hold true upon competition.
Once upon a time, Auburn was a butterfly powerhouse, with the likes of Tyler McGill, Logan Madson, and Robert Looney. Since McGill’s graduation, however, they’ve been very thin there, and Hancock could begin a march back to the top in that category.