Ben Walker De-Commits from UGA, Will Become an Aggie Instead

We reported back in September of 2015 that Ben Walker of the Premier Aquatic Club of Klein had committed to the University of Georgia, but he has since pulled out of that commitment. Walker, who attended Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball, TX, will stay in-state and swim for Texas A&M this fall.

Primarily an IM’er, Walker is also strong in the 200’s of each stroke.

Top Times

  • 200 free – 1:39.00
  • 200 back – 1:47.15
  • 100 breast – 55.33
  • 200 breast – 1:59.05
  • 200 fly – 1:47.30
  • 200 IM – 1:47.82
  • 400 IM – 3:47.45

In addition, Walker boasts Olympic Trials cuts in both IM’s in long course– he’s been 2:03.60 in the 200 IM and 4:22.01 in the 400 IM. Both of those times were done at U.S. Nationals last summer.

With his current bests, Walker would’ve made the B final of the 400 IM and been right in C final range in the 200 breast and 200 IM at the 2016 SEC Championships. He’s also not too far off of what it would take to be top 24 in the 200 back or 200 fly, either.

The Aggies are led in the IMs by rising juniors Brock Bonetti and Austin Van Overdam. After swimming a year for Arizona, Van Overdam (a Texas native) transferred to the Aggies program where he scored in the B final of both IM races at the 2016 SEC Champs as a sophomore. Walker will jump right in with those two, where he’ll likely boost the IM group significantly in College Station. In fact, he’s only about three seconds off of the 400 IM school record – a 3:44.33.

Walker is currently enrolled in classes and on Texas A&M‘s roster for the 2016-2017 season, even though this is technically an intra-conference transfer.He won his first collegiate race against Incarnate Word last week with a 4:01.60 in the 400 IM.

We have attempted to contact Walker for comment on the reason for the change of heart, but he has declined to do so.

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Swimming Fan

Austin Van Overdam does not appear to be swimming for the Aggies this year as he is not listed on the team’s current roster.


Smart call, while Georgia may do a good job at making swimmers better, where they dramatically fail is in making the character of the team better. It’s hard to do that when the team prefers to hangout in the bars in downtown Athens, I admire Jack and Harvey but what is missing is the team character. Swimming isn’t everything, but being a good person will take you far in life. This is the reason that UGA has not landed the top recruits in Georgia in the past few years, even though they have the Hope scholarship (covers around 75% of instate tuition) and the Zel Miller Scholarship (covers 100% of instate tuition) even the instate swimmers who are serious will… Read more »


Where are you getting your information?


If you live in Georgia, are involved with swimming, and have college age kids, you will hear what happens at UGA. Hookemhorns321 is spot on. There are a few exceptions on the team that do not party hard but for the most part, there is a lot of drinking and partying on the team – in season and off season. I’m impressed that the swimmers make it to practice and to class. College kids are college kids and there will be drinking. It just doesn’t seem like much effort is put into reducing it, people just look the other way.


Hookemhorns321, this is a very strong opinion about a team that you obviously do not have any connection with. The character of the team directly reflects that of the coaching staff, high integrity humility and respect. Just because people do not choose Uga to represent for their NCAA career does not mean that they do not have good character. On a side note, the UGA women have won two NCAA titles in the past few years and the men have consistently finished in the top 7.


Who’s to say he doesn’t have a connection with them? Just because he didn’t name drop doesn’t mean he’s just speaking nonsense. I get what he’s saying. Ive heard of multiple recruits last year saying that the men’s side is a little too wild for them. And that’s fine some people love to work hard play hard ( which is perfectly fine, plenty of swimmers live by that motto) others want to grow with their teammates and not go over the top on the weekend or the feel the pressure of having to do so. No ones saying they aren’t getting it done, they find great recruits from out of state to fill the void. And to answer your UGA… Read more »


You seem to know a lot about the team dynamic for someone who’s a Texas fan….? I’ve heard Ben is a great kid and he decided to decommite for reasons that had nothing to do with team character. No need to trash on a team you don’t know anything about. Go dawgs!

Lauren Neidigh

Lots of teams have good swimmers who go out to bars. It happens everywhere. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have bad character or aren’t good people.


Wow, another Texan (and ex-Nitro) decommits from UGA (after Regan Barney). Loved watching Ben when he was swimming for Nitro. I think family moved to Houston when he turned 15. Very technically sound in every stroke and a very nice young man. Good luck to Ben.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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