The Auburn Tigers have made the first big splash on Wednesday, with the opening of the 2013 “regular” signing period, going down under to head coach Brett Hawke’s homeland to sign sprinter Alex Press.
Press has huge sprinting ability for the Tigers, and will be a huge part of the rebuilding process that will start after next season, when they graduate their three best sprinters. Press’ best times in long course include a 22.73 in the 50 free from January of this year, which converts to a sub-20 swim in the 50 yard freestyle.
At that same meet in January, the Australian Youth Olympic festival, he was also a 51.30 in the 100 free long course, and a 54.3 in the 100 fly long course. If you’re looking for a good comparison based strictly on times to someone in the United States, his times compare favorably to Bolles senior Santo Condorelli, who is a USC commit and ranked #34 by collegeswimming.com in the class. (Though, if you weigh the value of sprinters more highly because of relay value, both are easily top-20 guys).
Press’ potential is impressive; he stands 6’4″ tall and swims for TSS Aquatics in the talent hotbed that is Australia’s Gold Coast.
This adds to an Auburn class that looks like it has the potential to be one of the better ones before they’re said-and-done. The Tigers in the fall inked Kyle Darmody from SwimMAC, who has already gone 19.8 in the 50 free, 43.8 in the 100 free, and 47.6 in the 100 back, among other times and Michael Duderstadt from Panama City who’s a 20.6 and 45.2 in the 50 and 100 freestyles.
They’ve also received a commitment from Joseph Patching, one of the top young swimmers in the UK who’s been 55.7 in the 100 back and 1:59.4 in the 200 back in long course meters.