Christopher O’Connor Says “Hook ‘Em,” Transferring From Alabama to Texas

Christopher O’Connor, who entered the NCAA transfer portal last month after one year at the University of Alabama, announced Sunday that he will be transferring to the University of the Texas.

I am excited to announce that I will continue my athletic and academic career at the University of Texas! I want to thank everyone who has helped me through my journey and, I can’t wait to see what’s in store! Hook’em 🤘🏻

O’Connor is primarily a backstroker, and swam in the B-finals of both the 100 and 200 backstrokes at the 2021 SEC Men’s Championships in February.

Time Progressions:

PB AT TIME OF COMMITMENT PB PRIOR TO ALABAMA PB AT ALABAMA
100 yard back 49.06 47.78 47.1o
200 yard back 1:53.85 1:49.95 1:42.23
100 meter back 55.39 55.39 54.85
200 meter back 2:03.48 2:03.48 2:00.96

Despite strong improvements by swimmers like O’Connor and fellow freshman Matt King, the Crimson Tide has been beset by swimmers entering the transfer portal since the end of the college season. On the men’s side, that list includes O’Connor, King, Colton Stogner, Andrew Shea, Liam Bell, Alec Dixon, and Nico Hernandez-Tome. Of that group, all but O’Connor and Shea are NCAA Championship qualifiers. Bell has announced he’s transferring to California, while King is heading to Virginia.

O’Connor joins a Longhorn backstroke group that will be potentially going through some transition next season, assuming that seniors Austin Katz, Alvin Jiang and Chris Staka (who, liked O’Connor, transferred from Alabama) don’t come back for a 5th year. The NCAA granted all athletes who competed in the 2020-2021 season an additional year of eligibility, but so far we haven’t seen any indication that any of those three will take advantage of it.

The Longhorns’ backstroke group will still include Carson Foster, who’s primarily an IMer, was an A-finalist in the 200 back last season at NCAAs, and Peter Larson also returns after finishing 17th in the same event. Additionally, the Longhorns incoming freshman class is headlined by sprint backstroker Anthony Grimm.

O’Connor’s 200 back time would’ve actually finished 2nd behind Katz at the 2021 Big 12 Championships, and he was only about half a second away from earning a NCAA invite in the invite. Although, merely qualifying for NCAAs as a Longhorn isn’t enough to guarantee you’ll swim at NCAAs, as Texas left 10 qualifiers at home last season due to roster limits. Still, it certainly would not be a surprise to see O’Connor make a NCAA roster at some point during his Texas career, given his current trajectory.

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Coach Rob
1 month ago

Everyone is leaving Alabama. Shame!

Ole Miss
Reply to  Coach Rob
1 month ago

Shame on the Alabama AD for hiring who they did

Name J
Reply to  Ole Miss
1 month ago

Can someone elaborate on what is happening.? Ozzie is interim head coach…until Margo Geer finished her swimming career? And then she takes over? I saw press releases in spring but haven’t seen new info – or maybe I just missed it.

HJones
Reply to  Name J
1 month ago

I believe at this moment, Margo Geer is now the head coach, and Ozzie is still on staff as an assistant. For a program that has been quite tumultuous with a revolving door of head coaches, choosing someone with zero official coaching experience fresh off their swimming career is a puzzling hire at best. I don’t blame all these ‘Bama swimmers for jumping ship to more established programs, and Geer has done herself no favors with how she has treated people thus far.

The Geer hire is bizarre on so many levels. Not only are her credentials as a coach unknown/nothing, but also she wasn’t exactly an insanely successful swimmer herself to justify her for the position. Sure, she… Read more »

dresselisGOATduh
Reply to  HJones
1 month ago

I am curious to know how “Geer has done herself no favors with how she has treated people thus far”? What have you heard? Thanks homie

Jacoby Fan
Reply to  dresselisGOATduh
1 month ago

Geer has been a class act to the entire team. The ones leaving are leaving simply due to not having the coach they signed up for. Can’t necessarily blame them for not wanting to take a chance with her (it’s their swimming at the end of the day), but to say that it’s the way she’s treating them that’s driving them away is pretty false.

dresselisGOATduh
Reply to  Jacoby Fan
1 month ago

Thanks for letting me know. The story of Alabama’s tumultuous past few years fascinates me and I am eager to learn as much as possible about what’s been going on. Such a shame for the program, hopefully they bounce back soon.

Jacoby Fan
Reply to  dresselisGOATduh
1 month ago

A summary of the events from what I’ve been told from people very close to the program:

Alabama carried a lot of walkons when Pursley was the HC. Stickels came in and went on a cutting spree trying to bring numbers down, and he did it in a way that was pretty harsh and didn’t make friends in the process (see the articles from the fall 2019). He transformed the women’s team seemingly overnight with transfers into the program, but when he was out of the position this past winter, this mess started happening because those swimmers loved his training methods so much.

There was tension on the roster between people who supported Coley and those who were happy… Read more »

Swimily
Reply to  Jacoby Fan
1 month ago

Perfectly said. I do believe that the AD should have hired a head coach with an exemplary track record. But the returning swimmers have a lot of respect for Margo. Bama definitely has to do a better job retaining swimmers (who chose to put themselves in the transfer portal). I’m confident that the returning swimmers and recruits will have a successful and fun season. The facilities at Bama are one of the best in the country.

Coach Cwik
Reply to  Name J
1 month ago

Ozzie didn’t get the job. They just upped his salary by $xx,xxx.xx. He couldn’t afford to tell them where to go. The swimmers have all trained along side the new head coach. So if they are all leaving, it has to say something.

Coach
Reply to  Coach Cwik
1 month ago

It doesn’t help Ozzie’s situation that he has a child who will be a freshman at Bama this year. That doesn’t mean he has to stay at Bama for the next four year, but financially, obviously it helps his personal situation.

Last edited 1 month ago by Coach
SadRollTide
Reply to  Ole Miss
1 month ago

I’ve heard from some folks in Tuscaloosa that Greg Byrne is “sick of dealing with” swimming and that the Geer hire was made because he knows her and she’ll work for (comparatively) cheap. Seems from his attitude that if as a result the program spirals into irrelevancy, or even non-existence, that’d be a considered by him to be a feature rather than a bug. Sad story for the swimmers and the program. I have no idea why one would become an athletic director if they don’t want to treat their school’s athletics program holistically.

Swimpop
1 month ago

Congratulations Christopher.

Last one in Tuscaloosa please turn off the lights on your way out. Thank you.

James Beam
Reply to  Swimpop
1 month ago

that was funny. and don’t let the door hit you in the *** on the way out.

lightning
1 month ago

I wonder if Rhyan White will transfer too at this point.

Coach
Reply to  lightning
1 month ago

I would be surprised if she transfers. She swims for Ozzie, and they’re clearly doing something right.

Jethro
Reply to  lightning
1 month ago

She’s not going anywhere

Blairt
1 month ago

How does Margo keep her newly appointed job given all of these transfers?

lightning
Reply to  Blairt
1 month ago

Not uncommon for transfers to happen, even lots of them, in all college sports when there is a coaching change.

Bold but True
Reply to  Blairt
1 month ago

The AD adores her from what the athletes there say. He probably does not care if she has only coached summer league for three months.

BearlyBreathing
1 month ago

I am legitimately curious who will be left on the roster come the start of the fall quarter/semester. 12 – 16 walk ons?

Bh Nelson
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
1 month ago

Man this sounds like Arkansas’ 14 transfers..supposedly an internal investigation into the coach’s treatment of the swimmers but it has been quiet there..only 11 left before the new freshmen..

Coach Cwik
Reply to  Bh Nelson
1 month ago

Same thing at Pittsburgh. Was told the HC was put on probation.

MickeyMouse
Reply to  Bh Nelson
1 month ago

It really is crazy how close to the chest Arkansas is keeping everything…normally there’s at least a whisper of what’s happening in the swimswam comments, especially with how many articles have been put out in the last few months.

Mom
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
1 month ago

Swim season starts in 3 weeks

Hugo
Reply to  Mom
1 month ago

I think Bama might be more interested in the college club season. That starts Spring semester.

swimmer guy
1 month ago

time to plato

Turkey123
1 month ago

Good luck making the travel roster ever again! 🙄

NM Coach
Reply to  Turkey123
1 month ago

If he turns that 1:42 into a 1:39…he’ll be on that travel/NCAA squad no problem!

PsychoDad
Reply to  NM Coach
1 month ago

Welcome to Austin, Christopher.

Last edited 1 month ago by PsychoDad
50free
1 month ago

Almost like hiring someone with no coaching experience is a bad idea.