Jacob McDonald (2020) Verbally Commits to Tennessee

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.

If you have a commitment to report, please send an email with a photo (landscape, or horizontal, looks best) and a quote to [email protected].

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4 years ago

How are the Mason Manta Rays so stacked?

Brock the Breaststroker
Reply to  Peter
4 years ago

Cincinnati is a massive metro area and Southwest Ohio consistently is an incredibly talented area when it comes to high school swimmers. Right now, the top swimmers in the area are switching to The Manta Rays to train because they have an incredible coach and team culture. Jacob started at the Cincinnati Marlins along with the Foster brothers and several other swimmers who have since switched to Mason.

Reply to  Brock the Breaststroker
4 years ago

Seems like everyone was with the Cincinnati Marlins at some point (even Bob Bowman).

I Swim
Reply to  Joe
3 years ago

The Cincinnati Marlins got a new Head Coach and many left. My current coach came from them. She says that their new head coach never swam competitively. Mason also has a much better program. That’s why so many are leaving for Mason.

Scott Goodpaster
Reply to  I Swim
3 years ago

Current Marlins coach is Brad Isham; he swam competitively through high school. People left because the Marlins practices now focus more on distance/endurance and are “harder.”

4 years ago

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner 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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