Canadian Olympian Josh Liendo Set To Join University of Florida This Season

Spencer Penland contributed to this report.

One of the top young talents in men’s swimming has announced his collegiate commitment.

Josh Liendo, a 2021 Canadian Olympian and three-time medalist from the 2022 World Championships, is heading to the University of Florida. Liendo announced the news Thursday on Instagram.

 

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A post shared by Joshua Liendo (@joshua.liendo)

The University of Florida has confirmed that Liendo will begin competing this fall. He will have four seasons of eligibility.

Liendo joins a Florida squad that has finished third at the Men’s NCAA Championships in back-to-back seasons, but will be missing one of their top performers in recent years in the form of Bobby Finke, and they also could potentially be losing Kieran Smith, who was a senior last year but has yet to announce if he plans on doing a fifth year.

The addition gives the Gators a swimmer who can realistically challenge for wins in three individual events and also be a key cog in four relays.

The 19-year-old began to make a name for himself on the major international scene in 2021, qualifying for the Canadian Olympic team in the men’s 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly, setting new lifetime bests in all three.

After a successful Olympic debut that included semi-final appearances in the 100 free (14th) and 100 fly (11th), Liendo had an explosive performance at the 2021 Short Course World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

He picked up three medals at that competition, including gold in the mixed 200 free relay and a pair of individual bronzes in the 50 free (20.76) and 100 free (45.82), setting a new Canadian Record in the former.

The Scarborough, Ontario native is coming off an even better 2022 long course season, winning three medals at the World Championships and four medals at the Commonwealth Games.

Having first set a pair of National Records in the 50 free (21.63) and 100 fly (50.88) at the Canadian Swimming Trials in April, Liendo went on to win bronze at the World Championships in both the 100 free (47.71) and 100 fly (50.97) while re-breaking his Canadian Record in the 50 free (21.61) and placing fifth. He added a silver medal in the mixed 400 free relay after leading the Canadians off in 48.02.

A product of the North York Aquatic Club, Liendo went on to win his first individual major international title at the Commonwealth Games earlier this month, claiming gold in the men’s 100 fly. He added three bronze medals, including one individually in the 50 free.

While Liendo has shown great progress in the long course pool over the last few months, his performances at SC Worlds indicate he’s going to be a dynamic force in the NCAA.

He’ll have the opportunity to train with arguably the best swimmer in the world, Caeleb Dressel, who was a superstar for the Gators during his collegiate career and swims the same three primary events—50 free, 100 free and 100 fly.

Here are Liendo’s personal best times in meters, with the yards conversions in parenthesis. The conversions in this post come from the Speedo Time Converter:

Liendo’s Meters Best Times (SCY Conversion)

  • LCM 50 Free – 21.61 (18.74)
  • SCM 50 Free – 20.76 (18.70)
  • LCM 100 Free – 47.55 (41.39)
  • SCM 100 Free – 45.82 (41.27)
  • LCM 200 Free – 1:50.62 (1:36.77)
  • SCM 200 Free – 1:46.34 (1:35.80)
  • LCM 50 Fly – 23.72 (20.73)
  • SCM Fly – 22.52 (20.28)
  • LCM 100 Fly – 50.88 (44.57)
  • SCM 100 Fly – 50.00 (45.04)
  • LCM 200 Fly – 2:00.52 (1:46.07)
  • SCM 200 Fly – 1:56.77 (1:45.19)

If we average out Liendo’s LCM and SCM to SCY conversions in each of his best events, this is what his yards times look like:

  • SCY 50 Free – 18.72
  • SCY 100 Free – 41.33
  • SCY 200 Free – 1:36.28
  • SCY 50 Fly – 20.50
  • SCY 100 Fly – 44.79
  • SCY 200 Fly – 1:45.63

Keep in mind that these conversions are likely on the conservative side, given the success Liendo’s meters times have earned him on the international stage. That being said, these conversions are a nice place to start in terms of giving a rough estimate of where Liendo might be once he gets acclimated to yards swimming and racing.

In the 50 free, 18.72 would have put Liendo sixth at last year’s NCAA Championships. His 100 free conversion of 41.33 would have been good for fifth in the prelims and sixth in the final at nationals, and his 44.79 average conversion would have put him .01 shy of earning an ‘A’ final berth in the 100 fly.

Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, Liendo would have been Florida’s top performer in each of those events last year.

On top of that, he gives them an ace to throw on the 200 and 400 free and medley relays, one capable of delivering splits that could tip the scales in terms of winning an event and placing third or fourth.

At last season’s NCAAs, the Gators won the 200 medley relay in a new NCAA and U.S. Open Record, and they also topped the field in the 200 free relay, three one-hundredths back of the all-time record.

Liendo teams up with a solid Florida recruiting class this season that also includes our #7 ranked domestic recruit Dawson Joyce, who is also a sprint free/fly specialist.

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Aquajosh
1 month ago

They just snagged Pac-10 champ Caroline Pennington too.

Aquajosh
1 month ago

Between adding Josh Liendo and Jake Mitchell and with the rise of Kevin Vargas and Trey Freeman this summer, they’ve just about made back the points lost by Kieran and Bobby graduating.

If Kieran and Bobby took their 5th years, UF would be looking at a serious team title run. Bobby and Kieran scored 86 points last year and UF was only about 110 points away from winning.

bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Aquajosh
1 month ago

They’ve got Buff coming in next year too, all I can think is they’re missing a breaststroker for the post Hillis era.

Swimmer
Reply to  Aquajosh
1 month ago

If Bobby and Kieran took a 5th year Josh might of not been able to come. I’m guessing that’s why it was announced so late because they freed up some money recently

Swimmer
Reply to  Aquajosh
1 month ago

But either way I thibk that florida has a pretty good shot to win in the next few years if Texas or cal aren’t having a great meet

George Durin
Reply to  Aquajosh
1 month ago

Don’t forget about Adam Chaney!

BigBoiJohnson
1 month ago

Single greatest sprint recruit of all time. What a huge move!

Assuming Dressel still exists, this should be a wild training duo. Liendo’s faster in all LCM events than Dressel was at the same age (19), and Dressel was already heading into his Junior year at that point.

Last edited 1 month ago by BigBoiJohnson
Willswim
Reply to  BigBoiJohnson
1 month ago

In regards to “greatest sprint recruit of all time” I assume you’re just looking at how fast they were before they got to college, right? If that’s the case are Liendo’s times that much better than Minakov’s were at this point last summer?

jeff
Reply to  Willswim
1 month ago

0.02 faster in the 100 free, 0.05 slower in the 100 fly, 1.1 faster in the 50 free, 0.7 slower in the 50 fly.

Liendo slightly has the edge imo but I think the upside is that these personal times are all more recent- Liendo’s fly times were set in April and free times are from June of the same year that he’s starting his collegiate career, while Minakov only set 50 PBs in that time frame; his 100 free PB was set nearly a full year before starting school and his 100 fly PB was over 2 years old by the time he started

Last edited 1 month ago by jeff
jeff
1 month ago

Even though he’s 2 years older than Dressel was when Dressel started at UF, he’s still faster when comparing times from the same age- Dressel at this age had a PB of 48.02 in free and 52.2 in fly (but Dressel was slightly faster in the 50 with a 21.53).

Obviously Dressel had meteoric drops in his last 2 years that I’m not expecting Liendo to replicate but he’s gonna be crazy to watch

oxyswim
1 month ago

If Curry is 21.8 and 47.9 to 18.5 and 40.8, I have a hard time believing Liendo will be any slower with his underwaters being so much better. Conversions really lose their utility for the top end athletes. I think Liendo has an argument for being the best male recruit this century. I’d take him over Nolan, Seli, Minakov, Grevers, etc.

Dan
Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

I prefer to the short course meters to yards conversions because you have more or less the same number of turns and the same amount of underwater opportunity.

Virtus
1 month ago

Bruh, best sprint recruit ever just above minakov right?

USA
Reply to  Virtus
1 month ago

Ryan Hoffer

Virtus
Reply to  USA
1 month ago

Hell Nah, but Hoffer really is definitely one of the best of all time

George Durin
Reply to  Virtus
1 month ago

sasfsf

Last edited 1 month ago by George Durin
Riccardo
1 month ago

He’s turning 20 in 2 days.

bobthebuilderrocks
1 month ago

Let’s say goodbye to Auburn’s 2 free relay record. Liendo, Joyce, Chaney, Friese

Mike
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 month ago

Do we know if Will Davis is taking a 5th year? He was big part of the 2 med and 2 free relays

HJones
Reply to  Mike
1 month ago

Davis retired after NCAAs, so no.

Dan
Reply to  HJones
1 month ago

To bad, I wonder how much the 9.9 scholarship limit by NCAA affected the number of 5th year swimmers for Florida. I think it was only 1 year where 5th year swimmers did not count against the limit (is that correct?).

Admin
Reply to  Dan
1 month ago

That’s correct, next season and moving forward they count against scholarship caps.

I’m sure that was part of the conversation. But Bobby Finke illuminated what the usual is for swimmers, especially distance swimmers: the desire to control their training and taper cycles for international competition.

Aquajosh
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 month ago

They also have McDuff and Mestre that could slot in one of those spots. If Mestre can turn his 21.9 LC speed into an 18 low split, they could put that record out of reach for awhile.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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