Florida Secures Verbal Commitment From Millfield’s Matthew Cairns (2024)

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England’s Matthew Cairns has announced his verbal commitment to the University of Florida, beginning in the fall of 2024. Cairns swims for the Millfield School in England, which consistently sends athletes to the U.S. for collegiate swimming. His teammate, Elliot Woodburn, recently announced that he too will be headed to the SEC to swim for Georgia

His commitment was shared by College Sports America on Instagram:

Cairns is a versatile swimmer, but has an emphasis on the backstroke events. For short course meters, he is the fastest all-time among 16-year-old boys in Great Britain in the 50m back (24.70), and is 3rd-fastest for both the 100m back (53.98) and 200m back (1:57.12). 

Top LCM Times (converted to SCY):

  • 50m back – 26.50 (23.33)
  • 100m back – 57.59 (50.80)
  • 200m back – 2:06.11 (1:51.45)
  • 100m fly – 55.38 (48.63)
  • 200m fly – 2:04.33 (1:49.48)
  • 50m free – 23.60 (20.54)
  • 100m free – 52.76 (46.09)

The Florida Gators are the defending SEC Champions, as they out-scored 2nd place Tennessee and Alabama by 476 points last year. Cairns’ current LCM times converted put him outside of scoring range in the backstroke events, as it took a 48.53 and 1:45.26 to advance to finals in the 100 and 200 back. 

Last year, Florida swept the backstroke events at SECs, with Kieran Smith winning the 200 backstroke 1:39.51, and Adam Chaney taking the 100 (44.51). Chaney leads the 100 back so far this year with a 45.75, while Cam Abaqueta is the next best performer at 47.11. Abequeta leads the 200 back, having swum a 1:44.98 at the Auburn Invitational. Chaney will be gone by the time Cairns arrives in Gainesville, but he should overlap with Abaqueta for a few years. 

Cairns is joined by Luke Corey, Michael Mullen, Devin Dilger, and Aiden Norman in the Gators’ class of 2028. Norman, who is also international, swims backstroke. Corey and Dilger both swim freestyle, while Mullen focuses on IM. 

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1 year ago

Those backstroke conversions are clapped

1 year ago

Great potential and happy for him, but hard to see him contributing in the long line of Florida sprint free/sprint backstrokers arriving in the upcoming years