Holden Smith Decommits from Alabama, Recommits to Texas for Fall 2022

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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.

Best Times:

Best Time when Committing to Alabama Current Best Time
50 free 21.08 21.05
100 free 46.51 45.27
200 free 1:41.96 1:41.90
100 back 50.31 48.91
100 fly 49.11 47.84
200 fly 1:50.40 1:48.81
200 IM 1:50.35 1:47.62

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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GA Boy
13 days ago

Hmmmm, weird. A little fishy with the reclassification and then changes his commitment. Especially when another kid from Louisville just committed to Bama…

Ghost
Reply to  GA Boy
13 days ago

Will he really be a factor at Texas? I guess with everyone being able to swim Big 12, it gives them a shot?

GA Boy
Reply to  Ghost
13 days ago

He’s definitely a quality swimmer who has potential to improve and be a factor anywhere. Just a strange recruiting process I’d like to know more about.

SWIMGUY12345
Reply to  GA Boy
12 days ago

Ask him then GA Boy. Don’t be shy.

Austinpoolboy
Reply to  Braden Keith
12 days ago

Yes. And 1:47 is a legit 200 IM time

Horninco
Reply to  Braden Keith
12 days ago

No man, if these kids aren’t in the top 10 in the rankings they will never develop into anything *sarcasm

Taa
Reply to  GA Boy
12 days ago

Maybe they pulled his funding and gave it to the other guy. What is the cost comparison between TX and Bama. Maybe difference in perception on how these two schools handle covid

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Taa
12 days ago

Probably had some quality time on his Texas visit with Rooney, who is also not shy about his religion.

Guy
Reply to  Taa
12 days ago

Or maybe he just wanted to get a better education at UT Austin

Horninco
Reply to  Guy
12 days ago

Daggers

coach
Reply to  Guy
12 days ago

That is a silly response. The University of Alabama ranks second nationally among public universities and fifth among all universities nationwide in enrollment of National Merit Scholars for the 2018 entering class. Football money hasn’t just been kind to the athletic department.

Chlorine
Reply to  coach
12 days ago

I feel like the Alabama men’s team doesn’t have as many people as it used to?

Swimfan
Reply to  coach
12 days ago

This is true. The Saban era has completely changed the university in the last decade. Doesn’t their team also generally have one of the highest team GPAs in the NCAA each year?

Bama Truther
Reply to  coach
12 days ago

It’s absolutely laughable to pretend that there is literally anyone on the planet that would argue that Alabama is a better academic experience than UT Austin. That merit scholar piece of trivia is solely due to the fact that Alabama gives full rides to all of them. It does not reflect an actual raising of academic standards across the university.

Bama Truther
Reply to  Braden Keith
12 days ago

You listed accounting as Bamas strength when UT is widely regarded as the best accounting school in the world

Last edited 12 days ago by Bama Truther
Academics over Athletics
Reply to  coach
12 days ago

Ask anyone to compare a degree from Alabama and Texas Austin. You can buy National Merit Scholars to attend, but that doesn’t make an education. Texas Austin has years of investing in curriculum, faculty, and resources that allow it to be a top global academic institution. Alabama is not even close.

Icanfreezetime
Reply to  Academics over Athletics
12 days ago

Adding to your point since I am currently helping my kid create her college selection master list:

Total Academic Spending / Graduation Rate (2017 reports for Bachelor’s Degree Completed within 4-years of enrollment)

Alabama ($873,981,752 in 2018* / 66% graduation rate)

Texas ($2,380,623,939 in 2018* / 50% graduation rate)

UCLA ($4,830,714,037 in 2018* / 80% graduation rate)

USC ($5,355,504,652 in 2017*/ 78% graduation rate)

Stanford ($6,121,518,157 in 2017* / 73% graduation rate)

FYI, universities report on-campus crime rate too but that’s a different topic.

HeadTimer
Reply to  coach
12 days ago

Not sure where you got that from. US News and World Report puts UT (Austin) at #14 and Alabama at #72. That’s not even close.

TBC
Reply to  HeadTimer
12 days ago

Read the stat. Second in enrollment of national merit scholars.

HeadTimer
Reply to  TBC
12 days ago

Sorry, I missed that detail. Just saw #2 and was a bit surprised, if not shocked.

Guy
Reply to  coach
12 days ago

I hope you’re joking when you say they rank 2nd nationally among public universities. Are you leaving out UCLA, UC Berkeley, University Of Michigan, UVA, and Georgia tech? I could go on and on

Academics over Athletics
Reply to  Guy
12 days ago

Why would a swimmer go to say Louisville, NC State, Alabama, Auburn, etc? You use swimming to get a great education. There is no money in life after swimming. Go for the degree. This kid absolutely made the right decision to go to Texas Austin over Alabama. Alabama is a jock school where academics mean nothing.

Cheswimmer
Reply to  Academics over Athletics
12 days ago

Hey, come on now. At least NCSU can still boast its top-30 engineering programs in the nation. Still long way to go to play catch with the likes of Cal/Stanford/MIT, but it’s not too far off from Texas/Purdue/UIUC. And we all know what STEM degrees can provide in life after swimming.

Academics over Athletics
Reply to  Cheswimmer
12 days ago

If you are doing business, top three places to go are Texas, Michigan and Indiana.

Academics over Athletics
Reply to  Cheswimmer
12 days ago

Highly recommend swimmers do STEM if they can pull it off. Sets them up for an excellent post-swimming career.

Go Illini
Reply to  Cheswimmer
12 days ago

NCSU is strong but far from a powerhouse like Illinois and Purdue in terms of engineering and computer science – grad and undergrad – research profile matters

Cheswimmer
Reply to  Go Illini
12 days ago

Yes, NCSU is not yet on the level of Purdue/UIUC overall (except for some majors like statistics, nuclear/bio engineering, etc). But to say it’s far from those 2 unis in terms of research profile is also wrong. Here are the numbers for federally funded research (in thousands), which is the most competitive funding source in academia, in 2017 (the latest from NSF): 1. Texas: $396,447 1. UIUC: $358,905 2. Purdue: $245,110 3. NCSU: $218,274 Again, not yet on the same level, but “far from” is a stretch. And for undergraduate level, here are the latest freshman profile for those 3 universities+Texas (middle 50%), taken from each university’s page: 1. UIUC: 3.47-3.94 (GPA), 1290-1490 (SAT) 2. Purdue: 3.5-3.9, 1210-1420 3. NCSU:… Read more »

Cheswimmer
Reply to  Cheswimmer
12 days ago

Anw, I’m sorry I went off the rails with all these NCSU arguments. Sometimes I can be pretty defensive with how my school is generally perceived vs. what’s actually true.

Congrats, Holden!

Alice
Reply to  Cheswimmer
11 days ago

Just a note. No employer really cares about your GPA. Employees look for someone with great work ethics, can handle taking No’’s, and committed to winning no matter what it takes… This is why college scholarship athletes are an employers best hire!

NC Fan
Reply to  Academics over Athletics
12 days ago

By your logic, the top 10 should just go to Stanford every year and a bunch of other top swimming and academically ranked schools including Berkeley, Michigan, USC, UVA and others before Austin. I’ve always been an academic snob, but the reality of the undergrad experience is really defined by who you are around on a daily basis on campus and what you can do with your degree when you graduate. Do the types of firms you want to work for recruit on your campus or can you get into the grad schools you want to by going to school X? Can you be around the types of people you want to be around on a daily basis going to… Read more »

Alice
Reply to  Academics over Athletics
11 days ago

Unfortunately is not what you know it’s who you know when you graduate. My daughter graduated from Troy University. She was a scholar athlete and had incredible work ethics… She’s in medical sales and rank 2nd I the country after just one year…

Sanholo
Reply to  Guy
12 days ago

You clearly aren’t reading his point. 2nd in NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARS!!

Academics over Athletics
Reply to  Sanholo
12 days ago

They paid for those students and they went there for a full ride. Doesn’t mean the education is better. Chlorine on the brain.

coach
Reply to  Academics over Athletics
8 days ago

Is there something wrong with a university trying to improve its students’ academic make up?

meeeee
Reply to  Guy
12 days ago

Def wasn’t for better football

PsychoDad
12 days ago

Congratulations, Holden. You made the right choice! Use that gap year to put some muscles on. With another 20-25 pounds of muscles, this kid will be very fast between the ropes at the Texas Swim Center.

SwimFan
12 days ago

Two great schools and teams. Congratulations to Holden!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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