The Texas Longhorn men have updated their roster for the 2022-2023 season, and there’s some big news for the Longhorns’ fans, as it shows that NCAA scorers Daniel Krueger, Braden Vines, and Alex Zettle are all returning for a fifth year.
The NCAA granted all athletes who competed during the 2020-2021 a fifth year of eligibility due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. We expected we’d see a lot less athletes taking advantage of that fifth year, since this year they being to count against the scholarship cap. But plenty of swimmers at some of the top programs in the country who were senior years are returning for a fifth year.
Krueger, Vines, and Zettle are each multi-time NCAA qualifiers and were a big part of Texas’ most recent NCAA title in 2021. Their collective return is a huge boost for the Longhorns’ quest to reclaim the NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving title after finishing 2nd behind Cal last season.
Last year, Krueger scored 11 points with an 8th-place finisher in the 100 free, but he’s finished as high as 2nd in that event, and he’s also scored in the 50 free before. More importantly, Krueger’s return is a huge help to the Longhorns’ relays, which otherwise would’ve had to replace 11 out of 20 legs between Krueger, Drew Kibler and Cam Auchinachie, and Alvin Jiang.
Vines scored two points last year, while Zettle didn’t score any. However, all three men were much more productive at the 2021 NCAAs. Krueger netted 29.5 points, Vines scored 23, and Zettle grabbed 11 helping the Longhorns to a NCAA title after Cal snapped the Texas four-peat at the 2019 meet.
Krueger competed at the US International Team Trials in April, hitting a lifetime best in the 50m freestyle, and ended up just shy of his lifetime best in the 100m freestyle. According to the USA Swimming database, Vines hasn’t competed in any meets since the NCAA Championships in March, while Zettle swam at a couple long course meets in Texas in the spring. By taking advantage of the fifth year of eligibility, Zettle will get to be on the team alongside his brother Andrew, who’s a freshman this season.
Diver Andrew Gawin-Parigini also appears on the roster as a fifth-year graduate student. He’s qualified for NCAAs once, in 2020, but was unable to compete since the championships were canceled that year due to the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic in the weeks leading up to the meet.
The roster update also confirmed that breaststroker Will Chan is transferring from Michigan, and that 2022 College Club Swimming National Champion Peter Paulus is transferring from the University of Colorado. Paulus, who’s from Texas originally, and has multiple family connections to University of Texas sports, will be a junior this season.
Additionally, the roster also lists 11 freshman who will be competing for the Longhorns this upcoming season:
- Spencer Aurnou-Rhees
- Ryan Brandon
- Charlie Crosby
- Ethan Doehler
- Alec Enyeart
- Aleksec Filipovic
- Nick Harris
- Manning Haskal
- Alexander Lyubavskiy
- Alex Turney
- Andrew Zettle
We’ve already reported on the commitments for most of those names, with two exceptions. Nick Harris is a diver from Chester Spring, PA, who finished 3rd on the 3m at the 2022 USA Diving Junior National Championships, and also won a silver medal on the 1m at the 2017 Junior Pan American Championships. We don’t usually see many international swimmers make the trek to Texas, but Alexander Lyubavskiy is a native of Russia who focuses on distance freestyle events.
This article leaves out redshirt freshman Holden Smith and Kobe Nbdele from South Africa. Both have been on campus training since Jan.
Neither one appears on the current roster: https://texassports.com/sports/mens-swimming-and-diving/roster. We’ll try to reach out and see if they just got left off in the updates.
Looks like they have now both been added
Used to be no internationals swam for Eddie Reese by design. His philosophy was every spot + every grant-in-aid dollar that went to an international was one denied to a US swimmer to attend UT.
Things have changed.
The country was built off of immigration and by bringing in internationals Americans get better.
I didn’t weigh in on merits of Eddie’s past policy, just noting it.
You don’t know Eddie’s policy at all. Or the fact that Eddie may not have even had one to begin with!
Pretty sure Eddie himself has said that while he’d be willing to take on an international recruit if the circumstances are right (like Schooling, one of the top recruits in his class and apparently wasn’t on any scholarship), he strongly prefers to take on domestic guys. The reasons being it gives him a lot more money to work with (international recruits often are looking for something close to a full ride, and there is little-to-no need-based FA available for international students), and he feels an obligation to contribute directly to the success of American swimming.
I was so proud of this attitude, from the past! American kids get American $$$ to develop their swimming skills. There would be plenty of international competition — we didn’t need ‘internationals’ at every duel meet, for Pete’s sake. Now, that’s pretty much gone –
To my memory Schooling was the first international at UT, but that may be wrong.
There was a breastroker from Israel before him. Maybe others. Schooling went to HS in Florida so there’s that
Circumstances need to be right for Eddie to take on an international recruit. Sure, it helped that he was one of the top guys in his class, but he apparently didn’t take up any athletic scholarship.
Surprising they’ve got a Russian coming in. Is he on campus yet?
He is, nice kid.
I am ambivalent about the 5th-year eligibility deal. On the one hand, I am glad that those who lost a year (or more) of competition to the pandemic get to recoup at least some of that time. On the other hand, I feel bad for the younger swimmers who have lost, or will lose, spots on college swim teams (and in many cases scholarships) to the 5th-years. On balance, I think the 5th-year eligibility is a bad idea. The older students ought to be more mature than high schoolers and deal with the loss as any other adversity in life. The younger kids, those who don’t get to compete in NCAA, conference, or even dual meets, or even to be… Read more »
I wonder if coaches “promise” incoming athletes scholarship for their sophomore through senior years if it is tied up with 5th years during their freshman season.
Whether this is a right or wrong opinion, plenty of swimmers peak or lose interest before or upon reaching college. This might ensure scholarship goes to the “right” athletes – athletes who improve, lead, or perform at the expectation of the coach – after their freshman season…and not “wasted” on anyone.
This is certainly a hot take. Just a thought
Any word on the South African sprinter Kobe Ndebele? It looked like he trained with Texas this summer.
ya he also swam at UT Sectionals
I was curious as well
I think the return of such ‘experience’ swimmers will provide a needed edge + the diving overall will be a significant help to UT — now, they’re ready to take the crown back. . . .
Probably secures Texas as a firm #2 behind Cal
Did we ever hear what Karol Ostrowski will do this year? What about the possible Cal 5th years?
SwimSwam posted Reece’s return for 5th year. I think Cal had a small class That year?
Only other seniors in the class were Chris Jhong, Kyle Millis, and Hugo Gonzalez. So Hugo would be the one who we’re waiting on a final answer from, and my read is that he’s not returning.
You mean Cal is a firm #2 behind Texas
Haha I am a noted Texas homer but if Hugo returns Cal is the clear favorite
No Hugo makes it a pretty wide open meet, maybe the most competitive (not just 1-2) for the title in a decade. I ran numbers that would show it to be a good four team race pending other outcomes
Texas needs to solve the sprint free relay puzzle to really push Cal
Cal 5th years:
-Chris Jhong (2x NCAA qualifier – 2020 & 21 in the 400 IM, Pac-12 scorer)
-Bora Unalmis (grad transfer from Michigan, mid-distance/200 stroke multi time scorer at B1Gs)
-Luke Rodarte (grad transfer from Cal Lutheran, OT qualifier in the 100 Breast, NCAA D3 100 breast champ and 200 breast consol heat winner)
Yeah really just mean Hugo, he’s the real delta for the meet at this point