Not long after decommitting from the University of Florida, Lithuanian National Teamer Tomas Navikonis has signed to swim at Ohio State University. Navikonis is scheduled to join the Buckeyes mid-season.
The 19-year old has represented Lithuania at a number of major international meets, including the World Championships and European Championships this summer. He swam best times in all four of his best long course events in 2022, though he was a ways-away from finaling in anything at either of the summer’s major championships. His best finish at the World Championships was 39th place in the 100 free (49.93) and his best place at Euros individually was 32nd place in the 200 free (1:51.02).
His original commitment to Florida was announced in March 2022.
LCM Progression from March 2022 until August 2022, Best Times:
|When Committing to Florida (announced)||
When Committing to Ohio St (announced)
The pickup is a big one for the Buckeyes who lost two of their top sprinters after last season. Sem Andreis was a senior last year and won’t return for his 5th season of eligibility, and Hunter Armstrong was a junior and chose to forego his remaining two seasons of eligibility to turn pro (and train at Cal).
While Armstrong is best known as a backstroker, making the Tokyo 2020 US Olympic Team in the 100-meter back and breaking the World Record in April in the 50 meter back, he was also the Buckeyes’ top sprinter last season (18.93/41.54). Ohio State ended the year with the 7th-best times in the NCAA in both the 200 free relay and 400 free relay en route to a 9th-place team finish.
Navikonis joining the Buckeyes midseason will help fill those gaps in the relays. He’s scheduled to join Alex Quach and Ruslan Gaziev in the rebuilt Buckeye relays. The team doesn’t have any top tier American freshmen sprinters expected to join the roster this season, leaving incumbents James Ward (19.82/42.88) and Mario McDonald (19.90/43.69) as the likely fourth legs in those groupings.