UPDATE: SwimSwam had not heard back from Andrew Couchon upon the publication of this article, but we’ve added in his comments below as he reached out with a quote on June 14.
More Indiana University swimmers are on their way out as rising junior Andrew Couchon and rising sophomore Kai Bathurst have both entered the NCAA transfer portal. Bathurst tells SwimSwam that he’s narrowed down to a couple of schools to transfer to, while Couchon says he hasn’t narrowed down his list quite yet.
“Honestly, I’m really eager to talk to anyone that reaches out in order to find the best place for me,” said Couchon. “As far as for why I left, I’m seeking a program where I feel a greater sense of value from the coaching staff and have a better relationship with the coaches themselves. The kids on IU’s team are incredible and truly deserve the best- you’ll never hear me say a bad word about them. Towards the end of this year I just felt as if the relationship between the coaches and myself was fractured, and that for my own wellbeing and happiness it would be best for me to go somewhere else.”
ANDREW COUCHON – TOP TIMES (SCY)
- 50 free – 20.33
- 100 free – 45.09
- 200 free – 1:40.23 (from high school)
- 100 breast – 52.78
- 200 breast – 1:59.76
- 100 fly – 50.67 (from high school)
- 200 IM – 1:51.20 (from high school)
Couchon came to IU with high school bests of 54.43 in the 100 breast and 2:04.13 in the 200 breast, improving significantly in both in his two seasons with the Hoosiers. IU has had a very strong breaststroke group the last few years, and Couchon did not make the B1G roster in 2019 or in 2020. That said, at the 2020 Boiler-Make-It Qualification meet (a last chance meet at Purdue for 2020 NCAAs), Couchon clocked a lifetime best 52.78 and ended the season as IU’s #2 100 breaststroker.
The Hoosiers still return their top breaststroker for next season, rising junior Zane Backes, who has been 51.07/1:53.49 while at IU.
Couchon would be a strong pickup for most any NCAA team in the country; his 52.78 last season ranked him 41nd in the country. As long as he ends up out of the conference without any other transfer hitches, he should have two seasons left at his next program effective this coming season.
KAI BATHURST – TOP TIMES (SCY)
- 50 free – 20.72 (from high school)
- 100 free – 44.53
- 200 free – 1:35.85
- 500 free – 4:21.50
- 100 fly – 49.72 (from high school)
- 200 fly – 1:44.45
- 200 IM – 1:49.55 (from high school)
Bathurst dropped over four seconds in the 200 fly and over three in the 500 free in his one season with the Hoosiers. He also made small improvements in the 100 and 200 free. At the 2020 Big Ten Championships, Bathurst made the 200 fly A-final and placed eighth overall, while adding B-final appearances in the 200 and 500 free.
Bathurst ended the 2019-20 season ranked third on IU’s roster in all three events that he swam at the Big Ten Championships, although he didn’t swim on any relays at that meet. The Hoosiers will still return their top men in the 500 free (Mikey Calvillo) and 200 fly (Brendan Burns), but they just graduated Mohamed Samy, who led the team in the 200 free last season (1:32.63). Bathurst is expected to have three seasons of eligibility left as long as he transfers out of the conference.
IU has had several swimmers on the men’s and women’s sides leave the program this last year or so.
A week ago, rising sophomore Jake Marcum announced his transfer to Alabama for the 2020-21 season, where many former Hoosiers have flocked since former IU sprint coach Coley Stickels took over as head coach in Tuscaloosa. A few days later, rising sophomore Cora Dupre announced her move to Alabama, too. Dupre led the IU women in several events in her freshman season and set program records in the 50 and 100 free. After their freshman seasons, sprinters Julia Wolf and Morgan Scott followed Stickels from IU to ‘Bama for the 2019-20 season and beyond, as did several members of IU’s pro group, while sprinter Ileah Doctor transferred out to Nevada for 2019-20, too.
Matt King, a top-ranked 2020 sprint recruit, initially committed to Indiana for fall 2020 but ended up switching his commitment to Alabama. Another top sprint recruit, #10 Lindsay Flynn, announced last month her commitment switch from Indiana to Michigan for fall 2021.