Jacob McDonald, who is a junior at Lakota East High School in suburban Cincinnati, has verbally committed to the University of Tennessee. McDonald trains with the Mason Manta Rays in the same group as top-20 recruits Jake and Carson Foster, among others.
McDonald wasn’t as much of an early-bloomer as were the Foster brothers, but he came on strong in 2018, dropping big time and really expanding his versatility.
The biggest breakthrough came in the 500 free, where at the Winter Junior East Championships in December, he swam a 4:23.21, which was more than a 5-second improvement over his previous lifetime best.
His success in the water has already carried forward to the new year: at the pro swim series stop in Knoxville that weekend, he took 1.2 seconds from his best time in the 100 back in long course to land at 58.26; and also swam a lifetime best in the 200 free (1:54.30), 400 free (4:03.26), and 50 fly (25.92). He’s the 3rd-fastest 16 & under 200m freestyler in the country so far this season (albeit very early into the long course year).
McDonald’s Best Times in Yards:
- 50 free – 21.96
- 100 free – 46.25
- 200 free – 1:40.98
- 500 free – 4:23.21
- 1000 free – 9:26.64
- 1650 free – 15:57.30
- 100 back – 49.22
- 200 back – 1:47.66
- 100 fly – 49.08
- 200 fly – 1:50.37
The Tennessee men will be hit by big graduations this year and next in many of the areas where McDonald excels. Their top 5 swimmers in the 500 free so far this season, for example, will all be graduated, as will their top 4 in the 100 fly, as will their top 2 backstrokers Matthew Garcia and Joey Reilman.
They have some youth in the backstroke group (Ben Blevins-Boor) along with Sean Hogan coming in this fall (McDonald won’t arrive until 2020), but in addition to just his quality and improvement curves, he’ll bring a much-needed reinforcement to several groups for the Volunteers.
Congrats, Jacob McDonald! #classof2024 “I’m excited to announce my verbal commitment to swim for the University of Tennessee. I’m thankful for my family, coaches, & teammates who have helped me along the way. I’m looking forward to being apart of an amazing team! Go Vols 🍊🔶” pic.twitter.com/8Wes67jsVn
— Mason Manta Rays (@RAYSswimming) January 19, 2019
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