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Rafael Ponce de León, a rising senior at the Bolles School who is originally from Peru, has announced his verbal commitment to the University of Tennessee’s class of 2024. The Vols have also received verbal pledges from Alexander Milanovich, Harrison Lierz, Jack Gillespie, Jacob McDonald, Jordan Tiffany, Joseph Jordan, and Will Jackson for the fall of 2020.
“I am so excited to announce my verbal commitment to the University of Tennessee. I am really thankful to all my family, coaches and friends who have always supported me through the journey. I can’t wait to join the University of Tennessee class of 2024. GO VOLS!!!”
Ponce de Leon specializes in mid-distance and distance freestyle. In the two years that he has been competing in the United States he has made enormous strides across the board. He competed for Bolles at the 2018 FHSAA 1A Championships last fall, winning two state titles by anchoring the 200 medley relay (21.26) and leading off the 400 free relay (46.61). He notched PBs in the 200/500/1000/1650 free at Florida Swimming LSC Senior Short Course Championships this past February, making B finals of the 100/200/500 free and the top-8 of the 1000/1650 free. This summer he competed at Gainesville Sectionals and picked up new times in the 50 free and 100 fly. At Speedo Junior Nationals he finaled in the 400 free and left Palo Alto with PBs in the 100/400/1500 free.
Tennessee has been the home to distance freestylers David Heron, Sam Rice, and Taylor Abbott over the past four years. Abbott and Marc Hinawi have another year left while Ethan Sanders will overlap two years with Ponce de Leon.
Best times and progression:
|200 SCY free||1:42.20||1:40.42|
|500 SCY free||4:47.15||4:29.87|
|1650 SCY free||N/A||15:37.57|
|200 LCM free||1:58.42||1:55.68|
|400 LCM free||4:12.74||3:59.61|
|1500 LCM free||16:37.50||16:18.55|
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