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Holden Smith has de-committed from the University of Alabama and chosen the University of Texas for his college swimming career. Smith, originally a member of the class of 2021, previously announced that he would be taking a gap year and beginning his college career in the fall of 2022.
“I feel blessed and honored to announce my verbal commitment to further my academic and swimming goals at the University of Texas. I want to first thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Also, I want to thank (Texas head coach Eddie) Reese and (Texas Collins for this amazing opportunity, and I can’t wait to become a member of the legendary Texas swim team brotherhood! HOOK EM!!!
Smith, who attends St. Xavier High School in Louisville, announced that he would take a gap year in April. At the time, his father Kenneth Smith said that the plan to take a gap year has been in place since before the global coronavirus pandemic halted swimming for most of the world, but that current conditions and uncertainty has made the decision feel more validated.
He originally committed to Alabama during his junior season of high school.
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Smith also split 21.59 in the 50 fly on St. Xavier’s winning 200 medley relay at the 2020 Kentucky High School State Championship meet. He won 4 state titles in 4 swims at that meet, including individual wins in the 200 IM and 100 fly, and as the leadoff leg of the winning 400 free relay (where his best time from above was swum). St. Xavier were the runaway state champions, scoring 592 points: more than double the runners-up from Highlands High School (193 points).
Smith does not yet have any Olympic Trials cuts, but his 55.29 in the long course 100 fly is only a second away from the 202o (2021) standard.
This makes Smith Texas’ first commitment for the fall of 2022.
The Longhorn men were seeded to score the most swimming points at the 2020 NCAA Championship meet before that event was canceled. With their diving crew being one of the best in the country, they were the favorites at that meet before it was canceled because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
While the Texas men struggled in the butterfly events at the most recent NCAA Championship meet in 2019, scoring 0 points in the 100 fly and 2 in the 200 fly, the Longhorns have plenty of history in producing in that stroke: at the 2015 Men’s NCAA Championships, the Longhorns had an unheard-of 6 out of 8 A finalists in the 100 fly. The defending Olympic Champion in the 100 fly, Joseph Schooling, was also a Texas Longhorn.
While Smith is a loss for Alabama, the blow was softened this week by a new 2022 commitment: #16 recruit John Hayes.
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