Big Ten Champion Autumn Haebig Using 5th Year Eligibility to Return to Nebraska

by Spencer Penland 1

September 02nd, 2021 Big Ten, College, News

Nebraksa star Autumn Haebig will be taking advantage of the NCAA waiver that awards all athletes who competed in the 2020-2021 collegiate season an extra year of eligibility because of the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, head coach Pablo Morales confirmed to SwimSwam.

Haebig has been one of Nebraska’s greatest swimmers of all-time, and is the current school record holder in the SCY 100 back, 200 free, 500 free, as well as the LCM 100 back and 400 free. She also won the 2021 Big Ten Championships in the 200 free, becoming Nebraska’s first swimming Big Ten champion since 2007. Haebig also became the first Husker to be named to All-Big Ten First Team for her efforts at the 2021 Big Ten Champs.

Last season, Haebig also went on to make the B final in both the 200 free and 500 free at the 2021 NCAA Championships, winning the B final in 1:44.39, which tied her personal best. Those efforts were critical to Nebraska finishing 26th in team scoring at the 2021 NCAAs with 33 points, which was the Huskers highest-ever point total, and their highest placement since 2001. She went on to be one of the stars of the U.S. Olympic Trials Wave I meet, winning the 100 back, and placing 2nd in the 200 free, thus advancing to the Wave II meet in both.

Haebig has improved greatly during her 4 years in Lincoln. Here is a quick breakdown of her improvement over the past 4 year:

Event Pre-Nebraska Best Current Lifetime Best Improvement
100 Free 50.99 49.14 -1.85
200 Free 1:49.15 1:44.39 -4.76
500 Free 4:47.79 4:41.83 -5.96
100 Back 53.96 52.29 -1.67

The return of Haebig for the 2021-2022 season means that Nebraska will see both their 2021 NCAAs-qualifying swimmers return. Rising senior Audrey Coffey, a rising senior, raced the 1650 free at last year’s NCAAs, setting the Nebraska program record in the process. Haebig and Coffey represented Nebraska’s swimming NCAA qualifiers, while diver Abigail Knapton also made it to the big meet. Knapton is a 6x diving all-american, but she’s left Nebraska to pursue her 5th year of eligibility at conference rival Rutgers.

In October 2020, the NCAA granted all winter sport athletes the option to use an extra year of eligibility following complications from the COVID-19 pandemic. Under normal circumstances, Division I student-athletes have a 5-year window during which they can use up their four seasons of eligibility. However, given the current situation with COVID-19, student-athletes of all class years have been offered an additional season of eligibility, regardless of where they are in their 5-year window. For a detailed breakdown on what the stakes are surrounding a 5th-year decision in 2021, click here.

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